Archive for the ‘You're Kidding Me’ Category

level of difficulty

Life is kind of like knitting.  Knitting patterns are marked in terms of “level of difficulty” and can be absolutely fiendish and at times soul shattering.  What this  meant in practice, for me anyway, was being able to estimate exactly how soon I’d burst into tears at the realization that it wasn’t a yarnover THERE or the always sobering realization that I could not, unlike everyone else at the stitch and bitch, do ANYTHING ELSE while knitting.   Be that as it may, I did progress and got to the point where I could manage something that was at a 3 needle out of five level of difficulty.  No intarsia need apply.  In my copious spare time I still imagine knitting a lace pattern shawl- probably while performing some other Herculean feat such as vacuuming.

Anyway, this morning’s guidance was: See the other person’s point of view.  Oddly, I had woken up being in full awareness of another person’s point of view.  It was an instance where a long standing condition makes an individual behave in a certain way, a way that one might find Massively Irritating if one were not paying attention.  What I realized in today’s waking moment, however, was that I felt what that other person felt at those times.  I felt in myself that irritating behavior coming up, saw what the origin of it was, and thought:  Good Heavens.  If this were a knitting pattern  I’d be getting to a virtual Alice Starmore level of difficulty.  If you knit you will know what I mean.  If you don’t, just picture it as an Olympic level of accomplishment.

Just like knitting, daily life presents all these opportunities to learn and hone one’s skills.    It does, eventually, simplify things in actual life, this learning.  I’m still not sure about knitting ever getting any easier.  Perhaps though, in knitting it is easier to see where you simply must start over or make an adjustment.  (Notwithstanding the possibility of the unintended dog sized sweater vest result….)  In this particular case today, what I saw quite clearly was that this other individual’s irritating behavior was, guess what, precisely like MY irritating behavior given the same stimulus.  We feel the same; we just don’t respond the same way.  Maybe this is the rudimentary skeleton of compassion- if we both feel the same way, how is that- what’s it really like?  What makes me feel calmer in the face of all this?  How can I keep my energy and focus on forward movement rather than reactivity and tail chasing?   Perhaps what it also is to a great extent is changing our perception of time.

When we’re irritated or in a hurry or in whatever distraction has us sucked up, when something appears to impede us, we get irritated.  I don’t have time for this, sort of thing.  We push the irritating thing aside without acknowledging it truly, and this is where the trouble starts to look like one of those tiny little pellets you put in a glass of water and it becomes an expanding dinosaur whose snout quickly rises up and out above the lip of the glass.  Our sense of time gets distorted, things become abrupt and abrasive.

But what is it we really don’t have time for?  In truth it is all the to-ing and fro-ing that we probably REALLY don’t have time for.  Vanity, pride, acquisitiveness, mean spiritedness, probably all are things we don’t really have time for.  What we do, and must, have time for is paying attention to each other- in fact, it is often the case for me that if I just stop and pay attention the whole megilla gets taken care of much more easily and swiftly that it ever does when “I don’t have time for this”.

As it happens, I am the sort of person who then thinks, well, what about axe murderers, rapists, and vicious capitalists? I spent a long time pursuing that line of thought and found that in the end,  I was still stuck in a reactive position because I was expecting a particular sort of result.  Like expecting a tomato to sprout from a patch of poison oak, I was just SURE that I could “help”.  One of the important reasons we must pay attention to each other, though, is to ascertain who we should NOT be paying attention to.  Kindness and humility are essential, always, but also essential is the learning of where to put the focus.  Where the focus is placed can be what keeps a person from going off the deep end- the simple act of blinking and looking somewhere else. Not in an attempt to ignore what is happening or “make it” some way it isn’t, but just breaking up the thought train a bit.    We are, as my teacher said, human BEings, not human DOings.  And we can be aware, and kind, and better to each other.

It’s odd, to swing between feelings of competence and blithering idiocy, watching the world go by like some completely insane combo shooting gallery/ merry go round.  What is the point?  The point is to give up the grandiose, I think.  As in, I know I will never manage a Starmore pattern.  BUT.  I can knit a darn good, serviceable little thingy to keep you warm, and that is progress.  Even if it is to a higher and thus dauntingly unknown level of difficulty, however discouraging it seems at times and especially how little it seems an individual can do….these are all the illusions we have to pass through and conquer.  What matters is what each of us does, how we live our lives.   The things that happen that cause difficulties are always to show us a better way, a more inclusive way.  I’m hoping that the places I fail in this endeavor at least bear the stamp of having tried to work it through to the end of the pattern.

Moving through the years

We’ve been going at our usual breakneck pace.  Serious injury has been avoided so far which really is something given the fact that all the knives have been deciding to leap off counters and out of drawers and dance around, landing between toes.

It’s winter here now.  We actually had a Fall this year, our very first one here.  It was LOVELY.  Several days of 70 degree weather, which usually one only sees at midnight in July.  Liveable nights in the low 50’s.  Golden and flame colored leaves against lion colored grasses- oddly, a new batch of tiny cows and goats as well.  We saw some tee-tiny newby lambs yesterday and wondered- it was very windy and very cold and they were just sitting on the ground like a series of tiny balls.   The two brown sheep who live by us on the road into town, however, are now looking like enormous fuzzy blocks.  Last year they simply looked to be a couple of hassocks set under a tree, but this year somehow their unshorn wool has grown into square shapes on each of them and it is pretty amazing.  Would I love to get my hands on that wool? What a color; intoxicating.  Maybe that’s why they don’t get sheared; it’s just too nice looking into that mass of chocolate.

In the meantime, I have arrived at a tiny bit of hope.  The world is travelling through perilous times and energies at present and everyone feels it, whether they know what it is or not.  But.  I realized that the things that seem the most threatening- the politics, the intense polarized stupidity, the nonsensical “statements” made by “officials”, and let us not leave out the religious fanatics and continuing loyal members of the flat earth society- all those things actually mean, I think, that the individuals holding these views and manifesting these actions?  Are doing so out of fear of the changes that cannot be avoided.  Since Nature moves forward, inevitably, this drag back group is not going to prevail in the end.  This gave me a very tiny measure of calm.  Which is much needed at this point, let’s just say.

In other exciting news, the frogs/toads are singing their heads off preparatory to going into their little holes and sleeping through the cold.  We have a mountain lion that rests for a time each night right outside our front door (by the woodstove, as it happens).  And!  The bear is back, judging from the frequent scat sightings.  It’s a full life, just right there.

May be….

Or it may be not.  It’s stormy today and the internet is…let’s say, unstable.

SO.  In this window of opportunity, a quick dash…..about writing.  Writing’s a funny thing.  I’ve always written and not thought anything about it.  I got a degree in painting, then probably the equivalent of a doctorate in plant and energy medicine studies.  Meanwhile the writing continues to push at the edges of what seems to keep me together.  I read another favorite person today who said  blogging may be keeping them from writing something bigger, like a book.  (HONEY ROCK DAWN is the site, my internet….need we say more? than that the link enabling feature has decided it is no longer co-dependent..) What I decided when I saw the post a day thing was that this was a way to forge ahead with my actual writing and move toward whatever bigger project there may be out there in the mists of time.  Instead of dithering around with what I *thought* I was writing, or had written, or people said should be a book..or, or, or.   Plus, there’s a piquant quality to this blog given that days can pass and it remains, perhaps, unseen.  I get to the point where I feel quite untethered and free, then I realize someone’s ACTUALLY READING THIS.  Which, of course, is quite wonderful in and of itself.  So, we’ll see.

Meanwhile the quotidian bugaboo looms, which is: What shall I make for dinner?  Anyway we’re losing internet integrity here I see, so toodleoo for now.

Deja Vu, ALL OVER AGAIN

Yes, I know it’s been a long, long time.

I don’t know if I’ve recounted the Rattlesnake Shooting, or the Scorpion Siting in Unpacked Box of Dishes.  The flat tire?  The ruined paint job on the car from the water here? The fact that it is still almost 100 degrees in mid-October?  Plus we had an entire day of 40 mph winds last week?  The issue of pending bills in “Congress” that would cause an end to my business altogether, albeit creating new, large bureaucracies? and when I wrote to my Representative urging a NO vote, I got an email back thanking me for telling them I support that legislation?

Perhaps it was the wrong time to read my New Yorker, especially the article about failed climate change (” “) legislation.  Perhaps it is because I have no TV now but I find myself increasingly shocked and enraged by what I read about this country,  the politics- which is to say, capitalism as usual.  It just doesn’t seem like it could possibly be real.  Not being consumed in the hectic pace of urban life, there is indeed more time to think even though one’s efforts are continually aimed at basic survival out here in the Country and that does, believe me, take one heck of a lot of energy.  But this self serving, greedy, money-grubbing mongering and- dare I say it?- idollartry?  I am stupefied, Gentle Reader.  We are not just going to Hell in a handbasket, we are half way there and it’s down hill the rest of the way.  When a political candidate can threaten to beat a reporter up for their remarks, and voters view that as “showing backbone”, as happened in New York’s gubernatorial free for all…I confess to being deeply disturbed.  When legislation about climate change (the slogan should be: BELIEVE IT) circles entirely around how much money is going to be made by the petroleum industry?  When it should be circling around how to get them out of the loop? I feel like I just fell asleep for a long time and have woken up without a clue as to where I am.  This is beyond freaky.

Still, hot or not it is beautiful here.  We have a trio of talking frogs, one of whom crawls up on our window screen for stomach rubs every day.  Absolutely splendid lizards, honey bees and butterflies, and a gaggle of hummingbirds who run the place like a bunch of Mafia Capos.  We are awakened early every morning by the sound of their wings as they zoom around and around the yurt, chasing each other and getting the kinks out.  They fly through the deer wire fence we had to put up (hissy fit hoof print seen the next morning after fence was up, a rare moment of triumph) as though it isn’t even there.  The small plant saucer bath we have is host to a dizzying array of bird bathers who very neatly and calmly share, along with the wasps.  We saw a green hornet! and dragonfly swarms.  Full moons and starry skies.  I guess it’s like that story about St. Francis.  One day he is out harvesting a crop and an angel appears, saying that the world is going to end in one hour.  St. Francis thanks the angel, then goes back to his work.  I aspire to that, perhaps, and today found me falling far short.  Oh, well.  Tomorrow’s another day!

That Sinking Feeling

Came on strong when I saw that  Rupert Murdoch is a large part of the economics behind AVATAR.  Sigh.

Then we went to our local Military Surplus store to get some pants for the Partner, which interestingly is run by a pair of  Hajis.   The place itself gave me a terrible stomach ache even though it is clean, neat, organized, the guys are perfectly friendly and nice.  There’s of course all kinds of great stuff: A sterno vaporizer, for example.  Fantastic!  It’s just…..what it’s about, I guess.   There’s a whole counter full of knives and triple point throwing items, all with points out.  Used military clothing and medic bags.  Who used them last?    The human condition is continually perplexing, at least to this bear.   

Meanwhile, satori or not, on to the laundry.

Some Days….

One just cannot get oriented, right side up, calibrated, none of it.  Today is shaping up to be one of those days.  The laundry, for example, has morphed into something monstrous.  I’m staring at it but the synapse that fires and says, pick this up and go do it is AWOL.  I’m trying to write a business plan, too. Ha, ha.  This is quite the endeavor, gentle readers.  Quite the endeavor.  I look at sample plans and they’re all, we expect to make X jillion $s by year two, and the demand for this service is yadda yadda.   While I think it is a worthwhile thing to write this Ostensible Plan, at the same time I see how far out of the mainstream we are here at the Rancho de Boo.  I happen to think the mainstream at this point is corrupt, to put it mildly, and I don’t WANT to be part of it.  However, back to the infrastructure issues which the Business Plan might address….oh, dear.  So, I’m waiting for inspiration.   Again.

We went to the movies yesterday, which was really quite exciting.  A matinee! during the week! Like a day game in baseball season or a trip to the track on Thursday, a lovely thing.  We saw AVATAR.  Which, moving beyond the quibble of how depictions of indigenous populations are often “idealized” (after their extermination, of course), and beyond the fact that the entities that bring us movies and films are often the self same groups that are exterminating the indigenes, as it were…it was really a great movie. IMHO.  Visually stunning, of course.  Sweeping movement and conscious content.  And, of course! Food for thought.  What does non-violent resistance really mean?  I suppose there is a point where one must physically defend one’s principles.  But fighting never accomplishes anything much except temporary population reduction.   Armed conflict is a tragedy for all involved.  But when an outside force is trying to crush you, literally, what do you do?  The eternal standoff between good and evil.  We all want to be on the side of the “good”, and so often are not, due to circumstances of birth, residence, space and time.  Good is, I think, a neutral concept in a way.  Good supports harmony and balance, but that support can involve things we don’t like, like death and disruption.  Evil, on the other hand, can appear to be good.  Over expansion, moving too fast, thinking only of one small thing instead of the balance of all.  Pretending that things don’t constantly change.  OH, DEAR.  The lengths I will go to to avoid laundry! Who’d’a thunk…….

As The Head Spins

AS promised.  I  can’t tell you how much fun we’ve been having lately.   I really can’t.

The Partner has a painful, chronic, and apparently undiagnosable “project”, as we say in Jin Shin Jyutsu, instead of saying problem, or disease.   Since we have no health insurance, this most recent episode forced us to go to the County Hospital Emergency Room.  With modest hopes of pain, nausea and vomiting, sleeplessness and other issue relief.    I used to work in an Emergency Room, and I am not naive about what they are like, and what their purpose is.   However, Gentle Readers, I confess I was beyond flabbergasted, beyond stunned, beyond offended and outraged, just….BEYOND THE BEYOND at what I beheld and endured there.

Firstly…well, what is the firstly?  I found it quite fascinating that they were quite willing, nay even eager, to give out as much morphine as anyone wanted.  Seriously.  The Partner is allergic to opiates, however, so for him, out of the question.  It’s always fun to tell a doctor you are seriously allergic to something, and have them say, what happens? Well, an allergic reaction, Doctor. Or Nurse. Or Whoever.  You know, LIFE THREATENING ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK?  ‘MEMBA THAT FROM MED SCHOOL? Ahem.  Excuse me.  So then they are not terribly interested in you.  Granted they can cross “Just for the drugs”  off their list of reasons why you’re there.  But then it’s a problem for them.  What to give you.  So, just as an aside here, I sat there thinking, hmmmm.  Morphine.  Opiates.  Afghanistan is the largest producer of opium in the world right now.  Pharmaceutical companies benefiting from the War on Terror? Maybe?   Because I was truly astounded at how loaded they got every single person around us.  But, onward.

So, there we are, Day One.  At the so-called “Triage”, where first you meet a Latino Guy who barks at you to stay behind the line while he asks you questions.  But of course he can’t HEAR you from behind the line so you have to step forward and he barks at you and…you get the picture.  Then, on to either the guy with two hearing aids or the woman who is cruising the music downloads on the hospital computer to get your temperature and blood pressure taken.  Then, after a wait whose length there is no way of knowing, on to the person next to Mr. Hearing Aid or Ms. Music, who is supposed to figure out where you should go.  The “Triage Nurse”.  After that, again time being the unknowable quantity, you get to go the the REALLY charming administrative people who set you up for the major screwjob  billing portion. It’s really fun, because they call your name, see you react and walk toward them, then they say: What’s your name?  The first day we were there for over four hours.  After which time, because the Partner looked as though he were about to die, I went up and asked where he was on the “list” to get into the actual treatment area.  He was number seven.  Out of a roomful of people, none of whom were in any acute distress to judge by the potato chip munching, walking around, laughing and general drollery going on.  This meant, functionally, that it would be at least another four hours before he even got SEEN.  Then another five to seven after that.   I took him home where a long, long horrible night passed and then, hooo boy, there we were back at  Fun Central at 6:20 a.m., vomiting in front of the Cambodian dentist’s office on the way for extra fun.

Well.  Shift change at 7 am so they just couldn’t do anything.  Go through the whole “Triage Nurse” thing again although it was all theoretically in the computer.  Although perhaps it got mixed up with the downloaded music?  I handed the “Triage Nurse” the paperwork from the day before, there was some conversation of the general eff you eff off  if you’re in here you’re dog doo variety that transpires in that room from the “Triage” staff, and Then She Said, huffily, Well, I’m sorry you had a bad experience yesterday.  You should have stayed.  We were busy.   The whole tone, the whole everything, the lack of sleep and worry and all of it..well, Gentle Readers, I was polite but I was not Nice.  I said, Please.  You don’t give a S— about what happened to us.  Can you just do your job today?  I realize there are ambulances coming in the back but at least put him ahead of the people with the hurt finger today, OK?  Perhaps vomiting all over your floor isn’t as important as the undocumented individual’s arm in a sling from the weekend’s revelry but nonethless.  So, we sit down.  Then, on to administration, where this time? The young woman would only allow the Partner in.  Well, he was too sick to talk and could barely articulate his name, which I told her, but she stuck firmly to Trollop Mode.  OK.  So, I find a seat and within moments she’s calling me in, because, Jeez, he can’t answer the questions. Fine. She asks me some things, I answer, and then she says, in this astonishingly snotty way- I thought for a moment I was back in Junior High- I don’t need you here now.  Strangely enough, I said, I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU NEED. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH I DON’T CARE. So, that went well.

Moving along some interminable time later, they actually call The Partner’s name to go into the bowels of the treatment area.  Which turns out to be something like Hitler’s Bunker, but who knew?  So, fine.  He can’t stand by himself, we totter over, and they say to me, Oh, No, YOU can’t come back here.  This is the first, and only, emergency room I’ve ever been in where that happens.  So they took him.  Not surprisingly, some time later an actual ER Nurse comes striding out looking for me.  You have some medical documents? he said in a cross between a bark and a psychotic croon.  Patient can’t remember blah, and blah, and blah.  So, I explained it all to him in proper English for the umptieth time, and asked when I could see The Partner.  This is where it went completely sideways.  When it’s appropriate! he barked.  Achtung baby!  I said.  I don’t appreciate your tone, especially seeing as how I am an Actual Taxpayer.  I need to see him.  I need to know what you’re doing to him.  This is unacceptable.  Go get some coffee, he said, backing off and narrowing his eyes at me.  We’ll call you.  But of course if I’m where the coffee is, I can’t hear them if they call me.   So, after sitting in the room with a locked bathroom,one drunk in a coonskin hat, another- female- with acites wheeling around a stroller in for a “pregnancy checkup”, a woman wearing a tshirt saying “YOU KNOW I’M NO GOOD” who gets wheeled in by paramedics, then moments later jumps up, hitches her britches up (thank GOD) and dances right on outta there, and various and sundry other members of a seething and roiling sea of irretrievable damage, and after practicing letting go and sending a prayer for all to enjoy the root of happiness, even those I currently wish to KILL,  I go outside to call my client and explain why I won’t be there today, and my elderly mother who is all alone all week which is not the ideal scenario.  Then, I do the mature thing.  I burst into tears.

At that point, as fate would have it, the Hospital Chaplain was outside, heard me, and got it handled.  She is a wonderful person and they are lucky to have her. She also, apparently, straightened the nurse out because he was eventually very nice.   It turned out, of course, to be a good thing, because as I arrived the Doctors didn’t know what meds to give him and were about to do the anaphylactic shock rag again.  Also, when someone on the next gurney got up and walked out, I was able to tell them what happened and get them to stop looking in cupboards.  Meanwhile, ten hours, multiple gunshot wounds and an expensive scan later, guess what?  In essence, they said: Your tests are all normal so there’s something Wrong With You.  And sent us home with a prescription for motrin.  I am not even kidding.  I asked for some Ativan, which helps, and they said, oh, gee, no, that concerns us.  It’s addictive you know.  Unlike, say, Vicodin.   Or Morphine.  So we are just where we were, and maybe even worse.

For all of you who question the necessity for health care reform?  WAKE UP RIGHT NOW.  The cost of the way things are being done now, both in money and in human woe, is insupportable.  Nobody is getting what they need unless they have an awful lot of money or an extremely good job.  But heck, the morphine is flowing at the bottom.

Not Dead Yet

However, a bit zombified.  This will be short as we, Gentle Readers, are still digesting the delights of the past 72 hours, many (WAY TOO MANY) spent in the Emergency Room (which, ha ha, if you can walk in, it isn’t an emergency) of our fine inner city County Hospital.  Experiencing some true compassion as well as…well.  You’ll see.  Don’t miss the next installment of You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, OR, As The Head Spins.