Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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!

some days are harder than others

Fortunately we can begin with a gratuitous dog picture:

iAMthecutest

because otherwise, traction is not available at this location.  Sorry for any inconvenience.

Things are, it turns out, REALLY dependent upon one’s state of mind.  Ascension, for example, is real, even if the “definition” of it can be so airy fairy you think it’s got to be almost a scam of some sort.  The part that gets funky is realizing you get to implement a whole new mindset in the same place you were before.  One works toward inner peace and balance, and to do no harm and perhaps be of service.  That seems like a reasonable goal.  New mindset doesn’t sound like it should be a problem, right?  But.  I realized I was kind of thinking that new mindset might also involve a different actual place.  Silly bear.  What would the point be of achieving developmental progress in some easy, relatively problem free place?  After all, it’s EASY to maintain equanimity for the most part when your World isn’t acting like it wants to kill you.  The trick is realizing it’s all an illusion and there to be observed and experienced, no tampering required.

The no tampering part seems to be a bit of a sticking point.  Gardening gives you plenty of opportunity to see the problems with tampering- Nature doesn’t do the dumb stuff, and I have always wondered why humans felt they needed to “improve” it or change it.  Hybridize, clone, and fake it to literal death is more like what happens.  There’s really no good reason why anyone should be going hungry on this planet.  Except of course that the thrust of food production is toward mono-culture, chemicals up the yang, and killing the soil and all the pollinators in the process.  So there is desertification and food that actually now, for extra fun, makes you sick via endocrine disruption, heavy metal poisoning, not to mention nutrient deficiencies. All of which are presented to the public as no problem! and starving people….well, change the channel.  No problem!  I like to, and do, believe that people will turn the tide on this process, invest in community and personal gardens, and quit acting as though profits for the petrochemical industry are more important than anything else.

Of course, profits are kind of the bottom line of ick in all this.  It’s all about making money for a limited number of people, whatever it takes.  Poison the water, poison the air, who cares?  As long as we have control over it, a patent here and there on something that Nature made? it’s all good.

Which in a meandering sort of way leads me to the next light bulb that went off in between things falling over, the Dog eating a centipede or something and barfing all over the carpet, and my seeming inability to plan my activities in such a way as to allow their completion (this latter is of course a combination of procrastination and the bloody weather, for the most part, since I now allow a good several minutes or so at some point in the day for blubbing and decompression so as to get that Out of the Way in Order to Get Things Done.)  And this is? that in this country now, we no longer have the “rule of law”.  I personally find this rather scary, having long thought that reasonable rules, enforced by concensus and in practice, with processes and safeguards and attention, creates a more livable situation than not for everyone. Aside from the militarization of police, this is best exemplified in action by all the recent legislation around marijuana.

A lot of people probably think this has nothing to do with them.  And maybe it doesn’t except for the fact that there are  outright lies being stated as truth (such as there’s no research on the plant, it’s a “gateway drug”- which can be said of anything if you’ve got the brain chemistry for addictive processes) and thus as justification for certain actions, and this is a trend, across the board, about everything. Lies do not make good legislation or rules for living. The other thing is.  The overarching Federal law says this plant is illegal.  Some states have voted to make it legal in various situations.  Not dicey enough? local jurisdictions also have the ability to determine “legality”.  So.  We have something that’s illegally legal, and while there may in fact be a “law” that says everything is copacetic, there are generally at least two governmental entities in any given spot able to say the exact opposite.  Which means people can really get hurt.  For no reason I can see except the money to be made- the profits, if you will.  I always kind of thought that as soon as big tobacco and big pharma could get together on the profit margins, the stuff would be legal.  Now, here in California, it’s “legal”, with the federal and local caveats, and? to be taxed at a rate that makes credit card interest look like a bargain.  Philip Morris does not appear to be driving this particular bus- but investment bankers do.  So.  Aside from my general preoccupation with nature and healing and saving seeds and not poisoning things and all that, what makes me crazy about this is that “laws” are made, having huge impact on people’s lives, based on nothing except somebody’s desire to make money.  Just like the housing market bubble is being blown back up again, the thought form that creates this stuff is going full tilt.  And that is something that will lead to no good.

So net net the thing of it is….having a whole new mindset in the same place can actually move you forward.  It lets you see things more as they actually are, and you more as you are.  Then you can formulate ideas and actions.  While none of us can really tackle the beast whole, we can behave properly in our own lives, whether or not there is an external rule of law.  Another thing that means is we can no longer assume someone else will take care of things.  It means we have to stand up for each other, be conservative in the true sense of not wasting or abusing ANY resource, and establish the real rule of law, which of course, is love. ( See picture above for clarification if needed.)  It isn’t selfishness or profits or any of the things people turn to when their hearts are moribund and you need an electron microscope to detect them.  The real question now is what about all those hearts, after all? Blessings and thanks!

palimpsest

I’ve always liked that word, Gentle Reader, and since it means a surface containing layered images from various different periods of time which have been covered up by succeeding users of the surface with their own images which, in turn, get covered up by future users…..it just kind of makes sense in general to me.  It’s kind of what we are, really.

I guess it’s a good thing I like weathered surfaces, in short, given that I’m kind of turning into one.  And in that process, various things surface and submerge, day after day.

In the ongoing “What Would Pooh Do?” effort, we’ve had a couple of successes.  I found myself doing math in my head.  Multiplication and long division even.  Algebra!  And arriving at a correct answer, which was needed to figure out proportions in a tincture presently being made, and also one coming up as soon as I get more vodka.  This is quite something given that I always thought I “couldn’t do math”.  So.  Lesson learned was: don’t let other people tell you what you can and cannot do- try it out for yourself.  Gently, humming a bit.  It actually works.

In that vein as well I decided to play with the Dog when he wants to, even if I don’t since I often feel like I’m “too busy”.  A question of what’s important in a way, and the lesson here? is Joy is Always Important.  It helps with all the other spots of eye watering horror that pop up around here with Monotonous Frequency.  It’s harder to see that happy, bouncy, smiling yippee-ness of the Dog (with his various toys being tossed hither and yon requiring important sorties for retrieval along with extravagant praise for same) in humans but just knowing it is there makes it easier to just Do It all the time.  It really takes no effort to just smile or give a compliment or kind word- far less than coping with a slobbery, squishy dog toy actually.  And speaking of slobbery dog toys, we had another Step Forward today.  The Dog dashed out the door giving chase to a miscreant cat.  He’s done this a few times and it has always been dicey because he tends to run, and then just keep going…you know, for the Joy of it.  But today he actually came back when called.  We were both speechless.  Extravagant praise ensued, plus toast crumbs which he especially fancies.

jack 2:17

The third thing is realizing that we really do for the most part have just what we need.  The challenges and privations of our life now are real, and  it is way too easy to get sunk in anxiety and gloom about everything, and get on the What If Train to The Future (which as we do know is almost always a trainwreck).  The mood swoops all over the place at such times.  But! As usual cooking revealed the lovely picture underneath the more current spray painted scrawls.

It revolved around peanut sauce.  Kind of a necessity for certain noodle and vegetable dishes, as well as making a terrific glaze for broils and braises of whatever you might have.  It calls for fresh ginger which  I’d used up the day before so there I was at a pivotal last minute, chewing my lip.  We HAD to have peanut sauce of course, no question, and the clock was ticking.  And as I stood there the lightbulb went off.  I’d received, in a bit of a fiasco’d situation (since improved) a box of Fortnum and Mason stem ginger in chocolate.  The box is exquisite and ginger candy is a favorite.  FORTNUM AND MASON, after all. But? This stuff was ghastly.  A real British dessert, deafeningly sweet and a travesty of chocolate, if I may say so.  The ginger, however, was good and actually tasted like fresh.  So, I thought: hah! cut off the chocolate and use this ginger for the peanut sauce.  It worked like a charm.

Aside from enjoying the improvisational success, it really made me think about the fact that we do, in fact, have what we need.  If we’re calm enough to settle down and let it manifest- let, in short, the muddy water settle and clear.  As usual, the Dalai Lama is right: No reason for too much worry.  Just continue to saunter through the multi-acre wood, remembering that no matter how it looks, there’s something underneath and something to come and it will all work out.

Blessings and thanks!!

 

wereyotes

Among the many Special Things that occurred over the past month, the Return of the Turbo Coyote was quite striking.

We have coyotes around here, of course.  And roadrunners.  I myself seem to permanently inhabit Acme but after all this time, I’m used to explosions.  HOWEVER. This time has been different.  Usually it’s kind of a long, operatic YIPYIPYIPYIIIIIIPPPPPPyipyipyip…and so on.  Starts in early morning and continues sometimes until sunrise.  It’s really beautiful, actually and there are times we hear the patter of paws dashing down the road.   There’s even a sort of coyote restaurant at the creek where if you’re not careful where you step, there’s not only poop but dismembered tiny bodies, largely chewed but not completely. This year though?

This year is holding steady in the it’s all weird category.  The coyote we’ve had around lately sounds like nothing so much as as a half human creature, toothed and furred and standing up on muscular legs emitting a sound straight out of an old horror movie.  It finally came very close one morning, and the quick, strangled stop of the moan was almost funny when the Dog decided to Rise Up, Jump Onto the Floor with a Ponderous Yurt Shaking Thud, and BARK. It’s an interesting way to wake up and I found myself actually wondering if what was outside was…..in fact, a wereyote.  I’d believe it, at this point.  Some bizarre meeting up of zombie, dog, coyote, and probably one of our neighbors?  All theorizing aside, I’ve never heard a coyote like this one.  It really did sound almost human.

Then again, that’s how *I* feel for the most part of late- ALMOST human.  The effort it is taking to Remain Calm And Carry On In the Face of Everything provides constant food for thought and evaluation of both concept and execution.  This year has been a jam packed Expedition to Parts Unknown, let’s just say.  I have a SLIGHTLY better response time between losing my cool and pulling it together again and moving forward, so that’s something.  I’m much more clear about what I can, and cannot hope to, accomplish in any given area.  Whittling down the to do list to something smaller than Mt. Rushmore and maintaining both composure and humor is an ongoing process.  Things just take a long time, especially here, and when basic things like keeping your chainsaw running wind up taking weeks to accomplish at the same time as all the outdoor plumbing pipes give up the frosty ghost it’s hard to tell if one is laughing at the things life throws at you.  Or just hysterically.

Still.  All is possible, with love, for sure.  Even if it takes a minute to dredge it up.  Blessings and thanks! And all the very best wishes for the coming year.

flashes of light, bits of beauty

Yes, Gentle Reader, some wonderful things have been seen and heard.

I don’t have the pictures yet, but the Dog took his First Public Walk last week and it was splendid.  We got him a brilliant green harness, to which he took like a fish to water.  We then went to the Sundial Bridge- an odd piece of farsighted beauty the City of Redding commissioned Santiago Calatrava to create.  It is a bridge with a glass and granite walk way, lit at night from underneath, and in the shape of a, yes, huge sundial.  It works.  It goes over the Sacramento River and while we walked we looked over into the river.  There are all kinds of water fowl, and of course at times fish.  This particular day there were a pair of fantastic ducks, with dark brown heads and brilliant orange feet.  We watched as they dove completely underwater and paddled around extended to their full lengths.  The water was so clear we could see every detail, and it was really just….transfixing.  Joyous, in fact.

And, of course, EVERYONE we encountered was all over the Dog- so handsome! so pretty! so cute! a PUPPY! (yes, still, at 18 months), so charming! and he just smiled and posed and licked the daylights out of anyone who’d allow it.  He walked nicely, didn’t bark or growl at other dogs or chase anything or anyone. He even pooped in a proper place and I got my first Dog Mom poop pickup in public job.  His rather piteous quietly strangled sob, emitted when a pretty girl walked by without attending to him, made them all come back and smile at him. He’s way beyond ham stage, evidently.

Another thing was this.  I learned that two people in rather far flung places on earth, who I am lucky enough to call my friends, are doing wonderful things.  One is providing meat, which she raises in a conscious, caring, ethical way, to a food bank serving quite a large population in the Rocky Mountains.  Another is making remedies for the refugees on the Greek Islands, working with a naturopath who goes there and volunteers her skills.  For some reason this made me feel so hopeful, in a way I hadn’t for the Past Longish Time, that it seemed like the most wonderful gift ever.  We can, really,  be and do good..

So.  I’ve typed a paragraph here four times, and four times this ancient laptop (kept alive by prayer and hope the ship comes in soon) and ##@#@!! internet setting have deleted everything.  Best, then, to say,  Peace, Love and Happiness to all!  We can be what we want to see in the world, starting…..NOW.   Blessings and thanks!

moving curses, falling axes

Well.

First.  Of course the basic nature of reality hasn’t changed, and love is still the way.

But.

I had no idea the curse on the Cubs would move directly to the White House.  As we watched snatches of the election coverage I found myself nauseous, unable to breathe, and? terrified.  It’s taken me until today to remember the one other time I was possessed by such an overwhelming feeling.  Losing my job and realizing I’d not be able to get another one came close, yes.  Being stalked and attacked by a (real) rapist on my doorstep was another time.  So it’s a festive panoply of experience, yes?  But this is what I finally remembered.

When I was in college, there were demonstrations and “riots”. ( Of course we know now that a riot is often simply a bunch of people who start out with a different opinion than yours, and don’t respond well to being shoved.)  This was during the Viet Nam war, and Reagan was Governor of California. (And no, dinosaurs were not roaming the earth.)  We heard him say that he didn’t care if it took a bloodbath to take care of “the students”.  We then saw the National Guard in battle dress and armored trucks driving through our University area with very large guns pointed at us.  There were curfews and things were pretty rough, so I invited some friends over to have dinner and study and just try and keep our spirits up.  I made dinner (including broccoli.  Got to keep your strength up after all.) and as night fell, we heard gunfire and yelling.  People were running toward the building we were in, being followed by National Guard on foot and in trucks.  There was the sound of gunfire and also, extra fun, gas.  They used the same stuff on us as they used on the Viet Cong at the time- CS/CN gas, which made you vomit and have diarrhea simultaneously, among other things.  So.  We were all down on the floor, with wet rags over our faces for the gas, when?  Someone running by the building called out my name.  A split second later the entire front of the apartment, which was glass, shattered as bullets came through.  Doors on the first floor were kicked in and let’s just say hilarity did not ensue.  But that feeling of inexorable, unavoidable terror was there.  And I felt the same thing Tuesday night.

The situation we find ourselves in now is not a joke, it’s not nothing.  It’s NOT OK. It matters.  No miracle is going to swoop down on us and make the ice caps stop melting and the air breatheable and the oceans not acid and full of plastic garbage, and restore at least a modicum of common, basic respect from person to person along with the option to actually live a life, however simple.  Deregulation, lack of social services and rights have been literally promised and guaranteed.  We now have a President elect who had people at his “rallies” carrying signs saying things like: “Rope.  Journalist.  Tree.  Some assembly required.”  We have a President elect who actually mocked a disabled person during a speech.  We know how he feels about Mexicans and Muslims.  And women.  We know he evaded serving his country in Viet Nam even though he attended West Point.  We know he hasn’t paid taxes- and can’t you just imagine what a powerful incentive that will be to the corporate world to pay even the pittances they have been up to now?  We know he’s been prosecuted for civil rights violations.  So, really?  This is the person who’s going to be the President?   A liar and a cheat, who’s filed SIX count’em business bankruptcies, is going to be on some level in charge of how the country spends its money?

The metaphysical approach, the long view, all are necessary  to our thinking now.  Of course we must work together and extend our hands, more than ever- and not as fists.  But it is simply not OK to say, oh, it’s happened before, it’ll happen again, we need change and this might do it.  White Supremacists have carried this day.  This is a great leap backward, and I wonder if the ISIS guys are laughing their heads off, seeing as how we’re about to get Sharia type law before they do.  After all, more than once the PE stated that women should be punished for having abortions. Not to mention the ridiculous calls for his opponent in the race to be put in prison or in a more roundabout way, shot.  Mass expulsions and jailings of “immigrants”.  I do think he’s right about the wall on the Mexican border though: THEY are going to put it up, and pronto.  They need to protect themselves from US.

As always, blessings and thanks, and sorry about the diatribe.

following the nose

In keeping with the spirit of the times we’ve been shifting and changing and tilting and whirling.  The Partner’s birthday came and went and on the whole? it was a success.  Roast chicken with herb butter, Popovers,  Mexican chocolate cake with coconut cream caramel frosting.  Yes.  If I say so myself.  The Dog got his current favorite treat, a Whimzees Vegetable Ear, and he also got some chicken breast wrapped in a bit of popover.

There was more to it, of course.  While The Dog zonked out in a blissful full stomach stupor, an injury the Partner had inflicted on himself a day or so before (to wit, whacking his knee with the wood maul) worked its way through his system and resulted in a seemingly strange symptom- lung congestion and the cough from infernal regions.  So we were up all night long and I wrestled, for the most part, with Dread and Powerlessness about once again entering the fray and trying to secure a doctor appointment while wondering what in the world to do NOW. ( This appointment business means dedicating a day to calling various and sundry official places and going through various and sundry assumptions of the position.) (A few days later I DID actually get this wrestled to the ground.)  I managed to get myself to a neutral position about it all, remembered to say the Cosmic Please and Thank you, and asked for some insight about this new and unwanted development.

In about an hour I opened my eyes but before that happened I saw a picture of what had possibly happened to the Partner’s lungs.  Reviewing my text book (because my brain is a literal sieve) I saw what had happened.  And, it had to do with the flow of energy through the body, as it goes through various meridians and organs.  The whack on the knee initially involved the movement of liver energy, which passes through the knee and ends where the lung energies begin to flow.  So we had an impingement on one flow that wasn’t usually problematic, but which went directly into one that has been a lifelong project, thereby creating a temporary blockage.  Adding to that the fact that the injury itself occurred at a time where another bodily energy was moving  which is not the strongest element in the P’s constitution, and? You have a disruption of the lung energy as it begins its circuit through the body.  And the infernal coughing began at the time the lung energies begin to move, and ended at the time they move into the next thing.  I was even able to explain this understandably.

The big thing about it though, over and above the fact that I finally, reflexively understood something I’ve been doing for a long time, was that the fear and anxiety level for both us was immediately gone.  We both understood what was going on, and what would be of assistance, and sure enough in another day or so, everything was fine.  And really there wasn’t anything “to do” except be kind to the affected areas, lessen inflammation and keep a good fluid intake going.

So of course I thought about it all.  Things that seem so intimidating, so complex at the outset really do open up with simple Attention.  When I initially began studying all these things, the plants and botany and anatomy and sidereal time and all the rest of it, I thought I must’ve been nuts to think I’d ever “get” it.  But something prevailed against that residual lack of confidence and now? Cake and understanding a cough in the same day? There’s hope, and it can be brought to life by just Letting It Be each time you think something is impossible or whatever word you use for OMGletmeoutofhere sorts of things.

Not to mention the other big thing which is the very imperative current necessity to disregard what seems like “truth” coming from what seems like “authority”.  The sense that you cannot handle whatever it is that is in front of you, and some larger “thing” is going to have to “do it” for you.  Or to you, or over you, or whatever.  As in, oh dear, we have to see a doctor and there are no doctors and this is going to be AWFUL. Or whatever the case may be.  “Things” seem so overwhelming it’s easy to let everything you see in a day bleed into everything else.  You know- terrorterrorterror, or whatever other fear inducing message is being murmured about.  In fact? Not so much.

SO.  It may have been the Partner’s birthday, but I feel like I’m the one who got the present.  Love and Understanding.  Not to mention dog kisses.