Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

doing the right thing

It’s surprising how complicated that can be, the right thing stuff.  For example.

If we’d taken in all the dogs people drive up on this hill and callously abandon after removing their collars, we’d have a troupe by now.  Hound was notable last summer.  Eventually the Mexicans across the road took him in, and he found another dog friend to lay in the middle of the road with.  He also maintained order with an iron paw:  No late night barking was tolerated, coyotes be damned.  He’d raise his bellowing bark above all of them, but me no buts and bark me no barks.  It was amazing.  They’ve all disappeared from that house, but maybe he and they will be back.  He really was quite a charmer, even if he looked like a compulsive gambler.

Now there is another dog, a bull terrier mix.  (I am a sucker for bull terriers as it happens- once a devilishly charming girly terrier caught my eye while crossing a street.  Apparently both our heads swivelled and her owner, an intimidatingly gorgeous woman, said, Jeez.  Say Hi, you two. She’s never done anything like this before.  WHO ARE YOU?  It was all over from then on.)  When our newest refugee looked me in the eye, advanced over to the deck, and proceeded to lick my hand while wagging his tail like crazy, I felt myself slipping over the edge.  I love dogs, in fact I love animals, period.  However, among all the zillions of things I’m allergic to, dogs are way up on the top of the list.  We simply cannot, at this point, take on another mouth to feed (chickens and ducks to come, but postponed), and the Affordable Care Act does not cover veterinary costs.  I’ve explained this dismal fact to the parrots and they’re cool with getting essences and tinctures in their water bowls when indicated- they were never crazy about going to the vet, anyway.

But back to the newest lost soul.  It’s complicated in a way.  All the strays wind up at our place because our landlords have no fences and no gates on a 20 acre property.  There’s absolutely nothing there to eat, no grass or lizards since their horses have flattened things pretty much.  So everyone toddles over to our round blue house, which seems to be pretty much a sanctuary for all.  It turns out we’ve had an orphan baby jackrabbit living under the greenhouse arrangement in the garden, and the deer are still camping out off and on below the abandoned swingset on the hill.  The Partner just saved a baby gopher snake.  We saw two bright yellow finches eat seeds for 40 solid minutes yesterday:  a lemon balm plant full of dry seeds waiting to fly out in the air.  Fly they did, into two tennis ball sized little birds who tottered off into adjacent branches to do some burping and preening.  But again, the newest lost soul.  I am amazed at the perfidious awful heartedness, or lack thereof, that makes someone take their PET, for heaven’s sake, and dump them in the wilderness.  Who would do something like that?  At least if taken to a shelter, there’s possibility and it’s got to be better than running from coyotes and mountain lions while freezing.  Some of the dropped off dogs have been shot, according to the message board by the mailboxes.  So, when I looked into the beautifully outlined eyes of this nicely temperamented little dog, I found myself torn.  One piece of me wanted to immediately find whoever did this and inflict soft tissue damage with pliers.  Another piece of me wanted to say, oh the heck with it, time for a dog.  Another piece of me shrivelled up thinking, huh! You can’t even save an animal, much less do anything bigger to shift the balance of things- you don’t have the resources AND BESIDES WHERE’S THE KLEENEX MY EYES ARE SWELLING SHUT.  Then I thought: This is the crux, isn’t it?  The Partner and I find ourselves stuck, often, with unpleasant cleaning up sorts of tasks here because other people refuse to do what I will just refer to as: the right thing.  It sounds weird, yes, but it is true.  Abandoned pet rabbits, lost cows, sick horses, broken machinery all over the place,  trespassers and renegade pit bulls from the other side of the ridge, you name it.  How can that be?  You shouldn’t have things you cannot, or will not, take care of, whatever they are, and what you have should be taken care of.  Getting tired of paying attention to your animal companions is no excuse- what’ll these fine folks do with children? But in a world where on the TV news you get treated to the sight of people being shot dead by snipers and falling into flames on the street in Kiev, I suppose it’s not hard to see that if humans aren’t worth anything in this world, probably animals are not going to fare too well either.   Anyway it remains to be seen if Newby will stay with our landlords or wander off.  Or if we’ll have to bite the bullet and take him to the local shelter.  And who knows if that would be the right thing to do, either.  Plunged into confusion by a stray dog, bottom line.

Thoughts of upcoming exotic squashes and melons, Florence Fennel, Ramsons (beloved by bears- possibly a mistake but we’ll see…), tomatoes and sunflowers and vegetables oh my! make me giddy with happiness.  We watched Tyrant perch on top of our Spruce tree at our front door, squaring his shoulders and looking around swivelling his head and open beak, waiting for interlopers, and saw a magnificent hawk fly across a pasture.  Finally finishing our canning and preserving from the past year (just in time for….well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it), our blood orange/tangerine/meyer lemon marmalade came out really well.  This is the joy of the universe, for sure.  Sometimes it’s hard to square the seemingly eternal standoff between what we may call “good”, and what really does seem to be “evil”.  Whether we understand them or not, those energies are always moving around us.  The question, as always, is what is to be done?

Finding the thread

Ah, momentum, Gentle Reader.  After last weekend’s adventures and, incredibly, even poorer internet than I have here at Chez Rudimentary, it’s time to get back on the Word Horse, which seemed to have meandered off somewhere leaving me with a ball point pen and notebook for company.

It was an amazing two days at the fair, especially given that Friday and Saturday involved about four hours of sleep what with packing and anxiety and dishwashing.  But, we did see the eclipse.  Did we ever.  We drove (for the last time. The tattered nerve endings deserve at least that much of a break.) over Highway 36 which runs between I5 and 101 here in the wilds of Northern California.  This road is sheer hell although it is mind bogglingly beautiful, which I am sure I mentioned last summer when we made this trek.  Your maximum speed is about 35 mph, on the good spots, given that it rises up through two mountain ranges, up up up up, and hairpin turns don’t even begin to cover it.  Plus there are a few spots where it just DROPS with no real warning and your stomach is on the ceiling.  Did I mention there is a paucity of guard railing?  Well, there is.  I had been hoping we’d miss seeing the sheer cliff drops in the dark but no such luck.  In any event.   We left in the magnificent profound blackness of dawn, with the eclipse starting.  The few lights and Christmas decorations visible were like strange beacons. There was ice on the road and snow sparkling in the headlights on the sides.  The moon became a moving and undulating gray cloud, and would intermittently disappear as we wound through the mountains, reappearing in its mysterious not-thereness.  You could see batches of stars far, far out, and mist-like swathes of constellations as well.  The sunrise began as an intense tomato red line across the horizon behind us and gradually filled the sky with golden clouds and ethereal blueness.  The snow now sparkled in the sun and we were suddenly driving through a field of diamonds.  There was also fog (THE JOY OF IT ALL) and in some meadows we passed it wreathed the ground and the trees, everything sparkling in the rising sun light, like some ancient story.  Which I suppose it was, really.  It felt like being in something that had happened forever and would continue to happen forever, whether or not it was seen through any eyes.

So, net net, four and a half hours later we’d gone slightly under 200 miles and arrived at our destination with a fabulous four minutes to spare before the starting gate opened.  Where we unloaded in a mad dash, I set up the booth, and the festivities began.  Concerning which, more to come.

Je Ne Sais Quoi

Julia Child used to say that about ingredients in recipes, so dashingly, that they’d give a particular dish a je ne sais quois.  It might have been tarragon in something but of course I don’t remember exactly.  I did think yesterday though that bliss might be having all Julia’s tv shows on DVD and us having a..modern tv? Perhaps mounted on the bookcase that constitutes our bedroom wall (Partner’s idea of course) and then when I have those moments when I want to End It All, I could retreat to a parliamentary splendor amidst pillows and watch Julia, who has always had a wonderfully bucking up effect on me.

Meanwhile although the large picture appears ongoingly with startling non-clarity the actual daily stuff seems to contain ever more nuggets of wonder.  I got hugged and bowed to in the post office! Holy smokes.  Anyway what with The Partner still being down with the virus, plants needing to be protected from frost, big upcoming work thing next weekend and all sorts of other stuff (such as actually learning how to keep a wood stove going overnight, for example) I find myself a bit wordless this evening, while making chicken soup, expect to say that, actually? I think magic IS afoot.

If Proust Had Blogged

I wonder if he would have gotten all the pitches for keyword placement to improve his blog’s Google ratings?  Would people actually try to sell him something and open with, “Your content is decent but you need a keyword in every sentence” ?  Would he, the writer who would often amuse himself by having one shimmeringly complex sentence spanning almost two dense pages about, for example, how an espalliered rose bush looked as the sun went down, or how his heart broke because of Albertine, have looked at the webpage about said keyword program which was advertised as free but in fact could only be tried for a dollar a day prior to paying the reduced $XXX,XXXXYOUNAMEIT know-me fee, have decided instead, in the name of seeking fame and fortune,  to do something like:

“The rosebush glimmered in the fading light;  the rosebush, which was a rosebush, stood against a wall-the wall was there for the rosebush to climb on (a rosebush being a plant that likes to climb up trellises against walls, which are made just for a rosebush, against walls for rosebush(es))  because a rosebush looks good against a wall.”  And so on.

Then, tagging it something clever like ROSEBUSH, be thrilled out of his mind by seeing his Google ranking go up to between 2 and 5 for a week?  Not to mention experiencing the sheer Joy of Good Investment at paying for some “SEO Program”, which feeling  he would relish in bed in his cork lined room? Thinking, perhaps, BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! I, PROUST! HAVE MADE ANOTHER PERSON RICHER FOR NO ACTUAL REASON AND MY GOOGLE RANKING, WHICH HASN’T  ACTUALLY DONE A THING FOR ME, IS STILL AT FOUR AFTER THREE WEEKS!  MAGNIFIQUE!  LET ME PAY MORE! TRES SIMPLE! THE HELL WITH ACTUAL CONTENT, GIVE ME KEYWORDS OR GIVE ME…er…STRAWBERRIES! DON’T HOLD THE CREAM CHEESE, EITHER!

I am just wondering, is all.  I mean, would Proust have decided that people were so absolutely brain dead that they couldn’t figure out what anything was about without being bludgeoned by some single word repeated ad paragrapham?  Would he have just chucked it all, Remembrance Be Damned, because it was too hard not to use all the many other words that crowded out through his pen and refused to be corralled by mere grammar or the hope that someone would know their meaning? So that he would get views of his blog, which would lead either to blank stares or the much to be hoped-for advertising revenue?  Which he would need because his writing would have gone to the dogs because he didn’t have enough time left over after dragging for keywords to actually compose anything else. And he’d have to pay for all that Optimization somehow.  To keep things going like usual, so he could keep paying ever higher prices for everything and keep his anxiety at bay by comforting himself with the brilliance of his SEO program?

Ah, well.  I believe it was Horace who said you should always keep your hook baited because you never know in which pool the fish will turn up, or words more elegantly to that effect.  It just seems to me that lately we have a whole lot more hooks than we have fish.  Fish are being downright concussed by the sheer volume of hooks being tossed their way- a lot of them without bait, either.   It’s all very interesting, really. Now, if you’ll excuse me, back to Proust.

Whirled Peas & Armed Bears, Pt. 1

Let’s just say, Gentle Reader, that I now have a repetitive stress injury in my elbow from holding the phone for so long, lo these many days, to get my SEO/BS/whatever it is, up and running.  Silly me, thinking that since I am paying these people for a service, I would actually receive same.  Looking at one of their carefully crafted info things about my business, they used the phrase, “triple threat”.  Somehow it doesn’t ring true for me, seriously.  We deal with flowers and healing and harmony, really we do.  Threat is just….not.  So it took two days and close to two hours to get that fixed.  Then, supposedly my testimonials were to be included on this same page.  Fine.  Yesterday’s blockbuster conversation ended with a “message being sent” to “that group” to add those testimonials.  Today’s armed struggle ended with me talking to someone in “that group” and her having the usual aggrieved attitude about correcting their grammatical and content errors, and her also telling me that they’d have to get some sort of special authorization to get those testimonials off my website even though it’s hosted by them…..and this would take two weeks and I started to hear opera in my head, which meant it was time to hang up.  We’d reached the death scene, apparently.  I’m giving them one more chance Monday.  Seriously.  ONE MORE AND THAT’S IT.

In other local news, someone up here apparently got some bad news late last night.  We were out moon gazing, which was spectacular, when suddenly the night was pierced with the sounds of a human roaring.  This went on for several minutes (the dogs in the neighborhood? thought it was a sing along) and then the person started rhythmically bellowing GOD…..DAMN….IT.  Over and over.  Very loudly and sonorously.  Since I can really at this point relate to this on a few different levels and foci, and since there was no gunfire, we thought, Oh, WTF, right?  Just another night in paradise.

Of course there’s lots more, but it is all so disheartening (the Christian Evangelical group Rick Perry is “one of”, for example, believes that the Statue of Liberty is…being influenced I guess they’d say, by devil spirits.  The Statue of Liberty.  Devil.  EVIL SPIRITS THEREIN.  This is important stuff.  I guess they also believe the Devil- who is apparently busier than we ever imagined, here I thought he was just inhabiting corporate heads and maybe people like Pol Pot’s bodies- went around planting fossils and dinosaur bones to fool people into thinking evolution was real.  Again, important stuff.) it’s hard to know how to approach it.  One of the best bumper stickers I ever saw was “visualize whirled peas” so today I stuck with that, which was plenty hard enough.  (The other best is Protect your right to arm bears.  Which we completely support here, of course.)  I’m also totally blown away by all the reversals the Obama Administration has pulled and how much it looks like Bush-era policy, environmentally, socially, and regarding the “War On Drugs”.  Too bad they aren’t aiming at Pfizer and Merck in this war.  Oh, and also, in other super important things that we need to be attending to right now, the House passed a bill that basically makes abortion illegal.  For crying out loud.  Is there a brain in the House?  Anybody there able to read their watch?  PULSE? And of course, there’s MONSANTO.  But more on them another time.  I bet you can’t wait, either.

But it is a beautiful evening and all our ornamental sages are, at last, blooming.  The hummingbirds zoom around and play all day and, since you can’t step in the same river twice, no reason for too much worry.   So, on to a better world with whirled peas and armed bears!

My Friend’s Books

A dearly beloved friend sent me her book list on something called Goodreads today.  I think it’s one of those things where you buy Some Kind Of Electronic Device (nook? kindle? ipad?) and can then download books to read.  This, of course, is not going to work for ME because? even today with the sun out the internet is still it’s spotty little self.   A spectacular list it is, too.  Hundreds of books! many of which I haven’t read which means I am raring to go.  So, it motivated me to decide to go to the closest two big libraries, one of which I actually live in the same county as, and get something I’ve had almost my whole life: A library card.  When I can do this is the big unknown quantity, but perhaps the same-county-as-library will work, as soon we must venture down there to get kibble for the birds.  The local library in my little town, after a visit and perusal, is not going to quite cut the mustard but I still donate books to them.

Meanwhile, since I am really trying to block out the fact that Clarence Thomas has been a (HOW CAN THIS BE?) Supreme Court Justice (” “) for TWENTY FREAKING YEARS, I am going to,  for a bit of however long my connection to the Outside World lasts this evening, discuss those two kibble eating sparkling lights of my life, Boo and Poppy, the Sun Conures.  Boo, of course, is Boozilla.  Poppy is her older (three days) sister, who maintains the household sobriety.  They are becoming adults now (we think they’re seven- how we could forget given that we hand fed them, I don’t know.  Chalk it up to the stress.) and their behavior is shifting.   They can tolerate more light every day (before, they insisted on being covered up between sorties), and their training of US proceeds apace.    Boo, who likes cheerios, now gets hand fed every morning.  Or else.  They fly around the yurt as though it is St. Mark’s Square, and sit on our shoulders eating their grapes.  They peel the grapes of course, like everything else including cheerios, and the skins of the grapes get dropped on our shoulders like falling stars.  It is really quite amazing to look into their eyes, and realize they’ve learned our language and can speak it quite articulately.   Being as they’re girls, they lay eggs.  We admonish them to keep it to a minimum but it is what it is.  Boo produced a splendid one this morning, rolled it around with her beak to show me when I lifted their covers for breakfast , then promptly pooped on it and told me in no uncertain terms to get that thing out of there.  I often think of their mother, Ed (the father was named Trixie.  Obviously we didn’t know, um, who was who.) who sang the most amazing song while they were hatching.  It was as though she was telling them the story of creation, of all birds and all life, for the very first time, and her voice became sweet as well as raucous for a song that lasted, at the same time, forever and for a moment.  I hear that song often.

Meanwhile, the question of how one maintains progress, shift, stays on track and out of the gutter, looms large.  But it, like the internet signal, fades in and out, and once again it is time to make dinner before we lose everything in the ethers.  It’s been a long day, once again, and thus we bid you a good evening!

Not Anybody’s Gravy Train

We are REALLY having fun now, Gentle Reader.  I had sort of, I suppose, let sleeping dogs lie over the summer which is to say I didn’t extend my torment of the season by including “marketing” expansion for my business in my to do list.  Things were working fine anyway, and with my luck I like to adhere to the If It Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It  School of Management.

So, we found ourselves on the receiving end of a, yes, marketing call from my webhost (with whom I am, usually, satisfied), proposing an upgrade in my current SEO package.  Including a facebook page.  Well, I thought.  I can do this for a quarter, see what happens, and……OH SILLY, SILLY BEAR.  It’s amazing how quickly we forget the absolute hell we descend to when first we start to muck with our website.

Granted, our internet connection here is barely rudimentary.  For example, for this blog?  The satellite dropped a keystroke in my password entry twice which meant I got shut out and had to reset the password.  So, fine.  Reset the effing password and proceed.  EXCEPT that now, every time I log on, the password section of the opening screen buzzes back and forth in a nauseating fashion and I get to re-enter the new password at least twice.    Meanwhile, today, a customer contacted me saying she’d placed an order on the website.  So I checked and there was no order.  I spent another 45 minutes on the phone with the webhost attempting to ascertain whether there was (yet another) problem with the shopping cart.  Seemingly there wasn’t, and I had to do what everyone who sells things just loves to do, ask the customer to resubmit the order.  ALWAYS A WINNER.

You’ll notice I said “another” 45 minutes on the phone.  Because I’d already spent an hour on the phone with the new SEO people because they’d sent me the Facebook page connect, but with no password.   Also, for the Google portion of the thing, apparently there’s yet another number you have to have to use it.  Fine.  And that, they mail to you.  Except Google in its’ omniscience feels that a P.O. Box isn’t a proper address and probably means you’re some sort of Ukrainian/Nigerian/Other terrorist spam meister.  I, naturally, can only get mail at my P.O. box.  So what happened was? They combined the street address at which I physically…exist…and tacked my P.O. box number onto THAT.  Assuming that the Post Office would just figure that out and…uh….well, do something.  You would have thought I was asking them to have the earth rotate counterclockwise by indicating to them that this was never, never, ever never going to work.  Anyway, no number, no service and of course I’m paying for this delightful experience, right? So I said, well, ahem, how about extending the billing date since I’m not getting any service.  NEVER MIND.

Meanwhile, I was additionally informed that my welcome email as they call it had been sent to me.  Funny, since I didn’t get it.  I DID get several offers to enlarge my (non-existent) penis and claim my sweepstakes/inheritance/UPS tag, as well as many heartening offers to expand my financial well being by various byzantine mechanisms.   So, there was that.  There was also the fact that when I finally logged into the Exciting New Facebook Page for which I had submitted photographs and had been assured that “they” would put together (“oh, don’t worry we do all the work..”) I saw…..nothing.  So net net what this means is more phone time tomorrow which of course one looks forward to, avidly.  Also, do I need to pay someone to do nothing?  So, so confusing.

I like to think it is a positive sign that I haven’t snapped yet.  Because really.  I MEAN REALLY.  The computer world and the banking world and all the rest of it are so totally screwed up, FUBAR as they used to say when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and apparently run by people who operate on fumes instead of brain power, that every effort one makes to navigate and perhaps make money feels like a round with a heavyweight champion, with you being hogtied and gagged.  Or something like that.  How does anything get done? or does it?  I’m not paranoid enough (yet) to think this stuff only happens to me.  But I’m starting to retain the impression that I really don’t give a flying F^@! about Google placement.  I have the growing sensation that, no matter what they say about how everybody and his dog does x,y and z and has stellar results and blahblahblah, this may be where the actual “job creation” has been.  This phone roundelay we’re all on, where people have jobs selling things to other people that aren’t really any good or ever going to be, or maybe just be, period, either.   But by cracky you gotta be on Facebook and those Google Ratings! TO DIE FOR.  Perhaps I just had a bad day.  I haven’t even told you about the spam loop I’m on with a Turkish Google Ad Word site, either.

Oh well. Next time, Nature.  But, right now? I’m sorry, I have to go scream.

The Buddha Palm of Anxiety

If you’ve ever watched Kung Fu movies (or even Kill Bill), you know about the Buddha’s Palm move.  One  arcane motion at the sternum area by your opponent,  and you’re toast, basically.   So I decided to call the feeling I have every morning upon opening my eyes the Buddha Palm of Anxiety.  It feels as though the end must be near, but one breathes carefully through it, tentatively approaching coffee and the light of day.  So far, it hasn’t killed me.  A wonderful thing about living in a round space, it turns out, is the way you can turn pacing into a meditative, calming act.

So, another day.  Another list.  Sometimes there is so much to do, or it seems so,  that it is tempting to think the Palm has had its way and one is indeed about to breathe one’s last.  Still, one paw after another and before you know it, things have gotten crossed off the list.  Big things like TAXES and INVENTORY and ORDER LABELS.  Other things, like THERE WAS HOW MUCH PLUTONIUM IN THE WATER OFF JAPAN ?? and THE BOEHNER OF OUR EXISTENCE and CLEAN OUT THE STORAGE SHED AGAIN and WHAT IF THE POST OFFICE SHUTS DOWN and MONEY???!!!!???? and what, exactly to do about troubled gastrointestinal systems and the lack of adequate numbers of hours in the day and, naturally, amidoingtherightthinghere? among many others, get moved up accordingly.  Although it can seem like a snail’s pace things do get handled and deadlines get met and copy gets written and cookies get baked.  Birds get played with, clothes get washed, I discipline myself NOT to look at ANY stats for a few days (and thus not wonder what the heck kind of site castration.com might be), along with Just Saying No to all the solicitations I get to be Somebody’s Expert for only a twenty percent commission, or do radio programs for a mere $7k investment.  It’s dizzying, really.  Meanwhile we’re waiting for the ($79) delivery of the insulation materials we got at Home Depot.  It will no doubt come as absolutely no surprise, Gentle Reader, that it is supposed to rain for the next several days, starting on delivery day.  After having been almost 90 for a few days.  Oh, well.  One ballbuster project at a time, right?  One or two really good days, ten indeterminate, two or three really awful days, and so it goes.

Meanwhile there is a spot in the road on the way into town that probably needs some kind of exorcism.  We’ve now seen two really awful, awful things there.  One was the hacked up bodies of a few pheasants.  Then yesterday someone had put a dead coyote on a post.  The pheasants had probably fallen out of a truck- they were farm raised, and some terrific person was probably going to stock their land with them for noble hunting purposes.  It was horrible and I couldn’t get over it for some time.  I mean: If you hunt in order to feed yourself and your family without wasting resources, that’s one thing.  To shoot defenseless animals for, basically, an ego boost, is quite another.  Yesterday’s coyote was even beyond that.  I happen to like coyotes, having been saved by one of the four footed variety.  I think this:  If you kill all the wolves, there are no predators for the coyote.  If you have small livestock out unfenced in an area where there are coyotes something will happen. And if you don’t have such a situation, WHAT THE FREAKING DAYLIGHTS IS YOUR PROBLEM????  I think, basically, it is idiotic to curse, as it were, the kettle for being black.  The other thing I thought was THIS.  People do the same things to each other as this undeveloped human did to the coyote.   On the way back home, someone had put up a sign next to the coyote and I think a flower.  I was glad to see someone registering strong disapproval of this debased behavior, although it was not altogether clear if this was the opening salvo of a vendetta or what.  The sign, lettered in large purple block letters on a corrugated surface, read as follows:

FUCKING JERK

OFF HANG UR

LOVED ONES!!

It’s hard out there.

 

A Year Later

In retrospect, I was too wackadoo in the moment to realize that the first day of the rest of my life was: APRIL FOOL’S DAY.  Of course, now I see it and, wow.  What a sense of humor the universe has!

You may remember, Gentle Reader, the circumstances  last year that led to our departure from the Bay Area and the hejira that followed.  But seriously? April Fool’s Day? When suddenly we were thrust into a completely different world and life and experience.  Unprepared to a certain extent given the precipitous nature of the decision making process.  Stressed out of our tiny little minds, we were like refugees trying to maintain a semblance of normal life. Trader Joe’s was a beacon of regularity.  And wine.

Now, things are swirling through the world like cyclones, and every day brings a new set of things to shake one’s balance.  Nuclear meltdown, global tides of unrest, bankrupt institutions.  We’re still trying to keep body and soul together here on a basic level and having a perhaps remarkable degree of success.   It’s hard to really  measure what you do because of course you’re IN it, there’s no distance between You and Pressing Events.   Like bugs, heat, whatnot.  Rampaging pigs and the onset of snake time.

But what I thought about today is how you FEEL going through something like this.  Like any difficult situation, it doesn’t help to lock horns with it.  You have to somehow walk with it, sit with it, be with it.  And that? is hard to do.  Some days you can be lost in the blackness, bitter and angry.  Other days the light shines and you can move forward.  In any event, things are going to come up and they have to be dealt with.  In the normal course of daily life, what used to seem normal in any event, there’s a schedule and a hectic pace and lots of Things to distract you from the rumblings that may be occurring in the inner world.  Not to mention the quantum field.  But when you get torn from everything you formerly knew from landscape to people to daily routine, you’re kind of on your own.  It can be rough.  People don’t always play nicely at these times.  Plus, there is still the quotidian demand to provide for food, shelter, clothes, medicine.   Taking the deep breath turns into something that gets done a zillion times a day.  Sometimes even that doesn’t help.

Ultimately  however, you have to know -because you do come to sense- that there is Something a whole lot bigger than you, of which you are a part.  That Something is moving and shifting and your job is to move with it, not against it.   It’s kind of the old teaching, Not My Will but Thy Will.  But. In our culture, the something bigger is largely related to the capitalistic model.  Religion is about authority, as Emerson wrote, and not about a spirit based reality.  We’re prodded to look outside ourselves for everything, to fill ourselves up like an empty cup, over and over.  I recently heard a meditation teacher talk about how the practice involves, quite often, Starting Again.  Like when your mind wanders to some wildly inappropriate topic when you’re trying to be in the OM? You calmly start again.  Another deep breath, another peek at spaciousness.  And you never really finish.  We have to, it seems to me, learn to accept the fact that things will be unfinished, left undone, the projects stretch endlessly and without proper preparation can even have to be completely redone.  Sort of like the feelings of anger that can come up when your metaphorical toe gets stepped on, chopped off, besmirched, or whatever.  Time to start again, look at the situation in its’ entirety.  Start again.  It can be hard to maintain compassion for self and others when one is so mightily pissed off at times.  It is probably helpful to remember that we weren’t constructed to never, ever get mightily pissed off.  Or scared, or tired.  It is really a question of what we do when those things happen.

So, at the beginning day of another rest of my life, another April Fool’s Day, I can see YET AGAIN that I must start again, not just in my garden but in my self.  But I can see how far we’ve come and what has grown from this adventure.   There’s growth and progress as well as death and winnowing.  This life requires a great deal of patience, but in the end? That is much easier than continually sinking into the pool of unprocessed emotional murk in the same spot time after time.  So, a year later? I think progress has been made.  And it’s time to start again.

And away we go…..

Having decided to try and write every day, I found myself with additional grist for the mill this morning.  The minute I opened my eyes I had a good sized panic attack.  I learned today that it is actually easier to have one when you’re lying down, because then on top of all the other miserable things that occur, you don’t also get the feeling of being in an elevator that’s dropping thirty stories.  In my practice I actually work with many people who have panic attacks, generally quite successfully.  Somehow I never seem to give myself the same attention but, heck.  The cobbler’s children have no shoes, etc.   Anyway, it does tie in to my general theme here, which is, How Did This All Happen?  Not just to me, but to all of us.  How do we continue to live so blindly and so mindlessly in the grip of…well, a friend in Spain told me this and it fits here.  Capitalism says, if you want something enough you can get it through hard work.  New Age spiritualism says, if you don’t get what you want, there’s something wrong with you.  Chekhov said: You do what you can do.

I don’t know how relevant my own history is, but let’s just say it has been one mind bendingly difficult thing after another, starting at Day One.  Things that sound hackneyed in a way: Abandonments, Suicides, Meager Resources, Being on One’s Own…etc.  It took me a long, long time to find my vocation and truly practice it.  I am grateful for that, although at times like these I think: $#!^.  Did I really have to go through all that?  The panic attacks started at the end of a long, long term of employment with an attorney.  Those of you who have done that? Probably need to hear no more.  When I started, the attorneys “my” attorney worked with were all looking for new assistants because their old ones had stress disorders and could not do the job any more.  Did this ring a bell for me? Not yet.  No, not until I got my very OWN stress disorder and ultimately no longer had the job.  I did, of course, have the panic attacks and nightmares and all the rest of it.   My doctor reckoned I had post traumatic stress disorder.  Gradually I pulled self together, continued my studies and launched my practice.  It was, actually, a success.  I found this surprising of course, but also it was profoundly wonderful.  I love what I do.  It does not, however, allow me to rake in the large sized dough.  I’m a pretty good healer and a terrible capitalist, as it happens.  So when, on that crummy January evening when my landlords zoomed up in their black SUV and told me I was homeless in six weeks, it was not a pretty picture.

The Partner and I had been looking for new digs for some time.  Preferably out of the city.  Turned out to be too right:  No one would rent to us there because we are both self employed.  So much for the work ethic, I guess.  As previously detailed here, we looked up hill and down dale fruitlessly and it was …unbelievable.   Then we found this spot, got the yurt, and embarked on what a friend calls, “a whole ‘nother Geraldo show”.

Fortunately I had read lots of books about homesteading, perilous journeys, and what not.  I knew, or I THOUGHT I knew, the difficulties we would be facing.  Decided I would be up to it somehow.  HA HA.  The number of things that went completely sideways was dizzying.  It rained constantly while we were trying to build, thus putting us way off schedule, and way off budget.  Longer storage fees, more motel fees for starters.  But, OK.  We forged ahead, built the yurt.  The instructions were insane and all kinds of things happened with that, too.  But we did it.  The first night we spent here there was the most intense thunder and lightning storm I’ve ever seen.  Did that have any meaning? We’re starting to wonder.  Perhaps it was spelling out “DON’T DO IT” in electric wriggles.  In any event, we went on to moving all our things (which as of today have all  been packed for seven months) out of storage.  The guy at the truck rental assured me that the size truck I rented would hold the contents of our size storage unit.  It will no doubt not surprise you, Gentle Reader, to learn that this was not the case.  So, OK.  One week til we have to pay another month of storage, and we think, we’ll rent a bigger truck, get the storage unit empty, and PICK UP ALL THE PLANTS.  Yes, the Plants.  Which were at a nursery. Since we have about 200 different kinds of plants.  I grow the things I use in my practice and products and the garden is crucially important.

Oh, the fun we had.  I arranged a pick up time with the nursery, rented the Big Truck, we drove car down to pick up truck which of course? Had to be picked up 50 miles away from where we were going for some unknown reason and also cost more because the new summer rates just went into effect.  Bells should have been ringing but mostly I was trying not to hyperventilate. So, OK.  We go get some plants that were at a friend’s house, do the final unload of storage unit (another Punch and Judy episode), and go to the nursery.  A bit behind schedule but nonetheless on time, before their closing hour.    Where, we find? They were CLOSED.  Closed, people.  Not open.  Padlocked.  The whole day.  I heard a noise come out of me that sounded like a howling wolf.    So that little episode cost me a few hundred dollars MORE, more over budget, and? The never ending story continued.  Nobody at the nursery would return my phone calls, several days went by and finally I asked a tactful and Very Professional and Impressive Friend to go by and see what the blue blazes was going on.  My best guess is there had been a romantic relationship that went sour but by now I really didn’t care.  So I got to rent another truck! Drive down and back to pick up my plants, spent oodles on gas.   But hey.  We’re done there, right?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.  It had of course been raining when we brought our household goods up here so we had to just stick them in the yurt and two storage sheds, and under a tarp.  No moving in in an orderly way.  So, OK.  BOXES.  Then it stopped raining and we thought, Oh, Goody.  We can set things outside when the mud clears up and organize our living space.  But.  It immediately started being well over 100 degrees every day and we are on a flat, unshaded spot.  We spent every available minute trying to keep ourselves from getting heat stroke and keeping the birds and plants alive.  You could’ve fried eggs on our floor.  OK, we thought.  Hang loose here.  Do the gardening and bide our time.   And that is when the Ant Wars began.  Right about the time it started being an average of 111 degrees every day.

Now, people will say they said it was hot here.  HOT? Hot is 95.  This place is hotter than Phoenix and I kid you not.  But ok.  We’ll deal.  Meanwhile, it’s too hot to do anything at all.  We are on hold on our final plumbing which means? We take baths outdoors in the stock tub we bought to use as a shower base inside.  It’s too hot inside anyway.  It’s also too hot outside, but whatever.  Everything has been more involved, more expensive, more unbelievable than even either one of us Cassandras would have imagined.  It is as though a giant hand is holding itself up and saying: NO.  So, we’re wondering Gentle Readers.  We’re wondering.  The whole world is in upheaval and maybe this is just a part of that.  But what does that mean? Really.  Meanwhile, The Partner just came inside with the jolly news that we are now engaged not only in the Ant Wars, but now? The Hookworm wars.  I ask you.