Posts Tagged ‘Animals’

spring healing

It’s pouring again today, the sky is lowering, and the streams are rising.  But Spring is in the air, nonetheless.  The evening air has a green tinge, and the sky at sunset is teal rather than the usual deep blue- when the morning glory colored blue birds swoop in for their evening bug repast it is enough to make the very cones in your eyes vibrate.  The Dog was out doing his business the other night and the air was so spectacularly fragrant it was like a dream.  Turns out the scent is from the surrounding manzanita blossoms, which makes sense to me actually.  I mean, when you walk by the trees the smell isn’t particularly noticeable.  But at night the leaves almost glow in the dark, and as a remedy the plant brings thing to light and resolution.  It also, as a tea, is a specific for poison oak, applied topically.

So.  In this period of is it recuperation or what? it has been sustaining to realize that some things are still North Stars.  Tomatoes, for example.  The other day when one too many things had gone sideways in less than twenty minutes (short version: haybales, now wet and leaden, topple off side of yurt.  In attending to that, wall gets tapped and the one “cupboard” we have, in the “bathroom”, toppled, broke, and hurtled objects all over the place.  A festive yurt filling sticky collage of antihistamines, hairpins, emu oil, mysterious jars and shampoo bottles, and god knows what else…..) I was grinding my fingers and gnashing my teeth when suddenly the clear image of a tomato floated through my mind.  I felt the heat in the garden, felt the dirt in my hands, and smelled the plants.  Saved, in essence, by a tomato.  And the garden.  Which of course means flowers, which mean remedies and that led me back to the manzanita.  Which made me think…..

About Spring.  And about how life proceeds in the swoops and gyres and cycles, carrying us along even when we aren’t exactly attending to it all (by which I mean we- *I*- may be – have been- hiding in bed or something like that).  There is a bigger pattern to things and perhaps the real deal of it is to simply pay attention to the part of it you can actually see at any given point in time.  The familiarity of how a season smells, how the light is.  How the way you feel interacts with what you see and think about it all.  Then, one has to separate that awareness out from the pressure to do/get/go/get/consume/go/do….blahblah ad infinite nauseam.   This in turn allowed me to reflect when something happened that might, at another time, have thrown me off totally.

All in all, it’s hard to make a living doing what I “do”.  Fortunately on some level I don’t have to make a total living doing this but I do need to make a part.  So that means that I, above and beyond caring about the people I work with and wanting them to be helped and well served by what I do, also need that to happen from a purely practical point of view.  It’s taken me some time to even be really comfortable with charging people for my services because I feel strongly that such work should be given freely, and also so much of it depends upon the recipient’s state of mind.  Thus, it is unquantifiable on some level, this business of assisting people with their physical projects, notwithstanding what the AMA might want you to believe. Recently someone came to me with a fairly serious pain project.  I “looked” at it and felt that while surgery wasn’t indicated, the healing trajectory was going to be long.  There was also a nagging emotion present which I wasn’t able to put my finger on, and it was of a nature that seemed as though it might be a stumbling block of sorts,  but in any event.  I made a remedy and it didn’t have the desired effect.  Further testing and doctor visits actually did confirm my “diagnosis” but since my work didn’t “fix” the situation, it was deemed more or less a failure.  Never a good thing when you’re “in business”. Or, period.

In the past, I would have been upset by this and felt that I was a failure, completely.  Now I realize that in fact, nothing works all the time and the paradigm of “fixing things” is in and of itself a sort of, slightly heroic, fiction.  Nothing works on everyone.  Things can work at different times. Even though there are patterns, you really don’t know what’s going to happen.  We all really heal ourselves in the final analysis- any practitioner is assisting in that, shedding light and providing oomph where needed. Healing can take time, takes patience and energy, and has a somewhat unpredictable quality- except that it DOES happen.  But I knew, for sure, that I had done the very best I could.  Time will tell, as it usually does.  The other thing is that I hadn’t done any HARM.  So it gave me, in the end, a relatively positive feeling after all. I mean, I wasn’t HAPPY about it because I would have preferred this person not suffer. And it was not, of course, like when someone says, OMG you fixed my migraines! But more like: You’re part of this whole process, this whole thing, and the only thing you can really do is be as focused, present, honest and attentive as you possibly can be.  You keep attending to small things, and eventually the miracle is revealed to you- often having been there all along.  This seems to me somehow like gardening (which everything does somehow), and tomatoes, and flowers- like in one of Rilke’s poems, the hands that do more than you imagined they could, with flowers.  It isn’t always perfect or what you may have “imagined”.  But it is what it is.  And there is the beauty of it.  More of IT, less of oneself.

Meanwhile, in this seeming decade of pancake making around here, we recently made Adai, which I can heartily recommend.  Soak lentils and long grain rice for two hours with cumin seeds and red chilis.  Blend with more water, add more spices (turmeric, cumin, I added Amchoor powder too, and some other things…oh! fennel seeds! and pepper probably as well, some salt) stir in chopped onions and cilantro, spread in a heated pan as you would a crepe, fry and eat.  Really sensational.  Excellent with North Indian style cauliflower.  I take heart from this, especially since today’s project of infused honey is going to be a real barnburner due to a massive brain outage at the crucial early stages.  Perhaps this week’s theme is, you can’t win them all but….how much does that really matter?  Also there will be more Gratuitous Dog Photos soon- he’s HUGE now and the Valentine’s Day visit to his girlfriends at the vet’s was quite the occasion.  Other people were in there growling, why does HE get the treats? then saying: Oh.  Because he’s the cutest dog on earth, is why.  You’ll see.

Blessings and thanks, as always!

 

 

where is there?

Given that there are actual geographic locations around here called things like “devil’s portal” and “devil’s parade ground”, and knowing as we do now that the Truth is pretty much always right in front of you? It begins to stand to reason that the place is so often so much like Hell itself.  Fire, flood, huge winds….all manner of obstacles and snares for both the wary and the unconscious.

Anyway.  People up here are sitting with bated breath, wondering about snow melt and more rain and what’s going to happen next. Are we going to drown? Just a few months ago we were sitting with metaphoric wet cloths over our noses wondering just how close the flaming fires were going to get.  Are we going to be burnt at the barn? I take  huge comfort when I drive past pastures dotted with sheep, goats, cows, horses, working dogs….all so calm, so dignified, so eternal and so….emblematic of a Bigger Reality.  When things like this  happen it is terrifying to think of them all, not to mention the wild life- the deer, big cats, foxes, bears, eagles and bluebirds.

I was quite struck this morning when I actually heard a county supervisor say that CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL and should be taken into account in water and other land management.  It didn’t go so far as to give me actual hope, Gentle Reader, but it did make me think that perhaps we are getting close to the end of the beginning.  Maybe? Attention will be paid to what IS instead of what the power hierarchy throws down and says is “real”.

In the midst of all this I finally understood just what has been happening in our own little household.  It struck me that, in fact, both the Partner and I have been struggling through simultaneous PTSD  which has not been a good thing at all, what with everything that’s gone on so far this splendid year.  PTSD is not a fun thing and it doesn’t ever really go away completely.  It is something you have to manage.  You cannot always “see” it coming, and it takes a long time to get to the point where you can at least recognize it before the hole you’re in goes all the way to the end of the earth.  Anyway.  It was some comfort to realize that in fact all the spiky times of late have been because we were both reacting to our individual, lurching forward, mental godzilla heads.  Another review of contributing issues ensued, and progress has been made.  So the good news is, it can be done.  You can survive these things and move forward stronger.  You have to be willing to sit with some pain and sorrow to get to this point but I can say one does come out the better for it, somehow.  Certainly it intensifies compassion.

Which brought me to the next realization.  Kathryn Shulz wrote a wonderful piece in the February 13-20 New Yorker, called “Losing Streak”.  It’s about grief, essentially.  One issue she discusses is the “thing” of forgetting and misplacing things.  So.  When the Partner said, this morning, upon being presented with coffee with whipped cream on top (left over from butterscotch pudding- I’m not completely insane yet and we had a whole bowlful, so….) that he had “already forgotten” about the whipped cream, the article hit me with a bang.   Ever since that damned election, we’ve been immersed in thick, deep grief.  It’s hard to remember things or get up the energy to pursue anything.

So much has been shunted out of view and so much has been trampled already that it is breathtaking.  We have watched, essentially, our country die. Not to say it was in perfect health before, but now? Circling the drain at an ever increasing speed. It is amazing that people think you can go backward in time when it is so clear that you really cannot.  To try and go back to the beginnings of this country, reinforce the land theft and racism that built it, glorify the capitalist impulse above all else, and behave as though everything is working just fine? Not a workable plan.  There is an ever larger group of people who are like the “boil” they found on the “emergency spillway” in Oroville last night.  In essence, a place where water and things sink through and down and then get pushed back against the wall of the dam,  to roar up and move forward again, crushing everything  in their path.  There are too many people pushed to the brink on every level and sooner or later it’s going to blow.  The blindness it takes to condone this is breathtaking.  And frightening.

So.  What this feels like is this.  We’ve been through a long, long period of combat, lost everything just about- at least that’s US.  We come “home” and find no home.  It looks very much like having to go back to war again, but we KNOW that won’t work.  Also, we know we’re not up to it.  Another way must be found and it surely exists.  Pretending LPV doesn’t exist won’t work (believe me, I’ve tried) but perhaps out thinking- and out-FEELING-  all that (which shouldn’t be that difficult) can be done. A different perspective, view, line of sight.  And it must be done.  It feels, then, maybe just maybe, that hope has been restored even though we’re still in tears.  We will carry on removing Godzilla heads, in any case.  The Dog is a marvelous assistant in this endeavor- I’m starting to think that if I’d been accompanied by a Dog earlier in my life? Things might be quite different.  Just another reminder, if one were needed: LOVE, dear friends.  Always the way.  Darkness never lasts, and love never stops.

Blessings and thanks!

running on fumes

And, you know what happens when you do that, Gentle Reader.   Eventually you hit a wall of some sort.

It finally came to my attention that ongoing crying jags mean I Need A Nap.

I mean: after the mammoth power clusterfuck, after the serious Dog injury, after spending literally my last dime on the clusterfuck thus having to Fix Dog Ourselves (and may I say? YAY SUPER GLUE!), and after the Partner got ill again? I found myself at the sink with tears literally squirting out of my eyes.  More than once. The fact that I made absolutely zero money in the last six weeks is not a happifying thing, either.

So.  I said, SELF? ARE YOU IN THERE? to which the response was a muffled whowantstoknow? YOU DO, I said.  Let’s just walk ourselves through this spot we’re in, whaddaya say? Gurgling sounds happened, which I took as an OK to proceed.  As we all know, I said, getting my selves gathered round the inner podium, it’s been way, way above standard high soul destroying impact lately.  We’ve all done really well.  Especially considering we’re doing some fairly heavy lifting on the healing and rebuilding frontier of ourselves while contending with rampaging Godzillas everywhere else.  What have we learned?  Speak UP! and, it turns out that a big thing we learned is not to take things personally.  Please sir, may I NOT have some more? if you will.

Part of not taking things personally is not coming from a place of fear.  It’s realizing that that pounding in your chest is composed of many things, and the only one you can do anything about is your own concept of what that pounding is.  Undifferentiated anger permeating the atmosphere isn’t necessarily directed at you.  Even if it is, you actually don’t have to pick it up.  When people do things that cause you difficulties, you can say what that is, and let them carry their own trash out.  This takes a lot of practice and I am far from mastery of the technique.  But just realizing it as a possibility, dawning into a reality and a Thing, has been huge.  In a situation involving a lot of manipulation? You do what martial artists do.  Use that energy against itself by deflecting it back from you.  Calmly and with intent.  And love of course.  No, you say, thank you but no.  It’s this way.  Of course you have your training to fall back on in case more incoming shows up, bob, weave, shoot arrows.  But it has at least partly to do with not feeding whatever it is that’s eating you. So to speak.  We’ll see how this works in upcoming discussions with….well, the people lobbing the incoming at the moment.

I’ve had several occasions in my life that have shown me that once someone realizes you are not afraid, unless they’re totally crazy or wearing battle dress they back off.  For me of course this is a tricky balance because I have huge fear in me.  But as I go on, the fears rise up and reveal themselves and mostly? They go.  Of course we all must have food and shelter and warmth and the getting of these things seems to get more difficult exponentially.  That’s scary.  But the reality is we don’t always see things the way they actually are, and the good thing about that if indeed there is one is that the very mis-seeing creates what we might think of as wiggle room.  It’s not cast in some indestructible substance, this thing we’re viewing.   Anyway.  Not taking things personally actually frees up space in the cranium, and once you calm down, it’s possible to progress.  Anyway I shall entertain that as a possibility.  Loser of the Popular Vote notwithstanding.

In the meantime, as we proceed further into what really does appear to be the end of time as we have known it….the challenge is to balance the necessity of a future, in the sense of yes I’ll plant this garden and feed myself and others, with the collapse of the present and all of the things of the past that seem no longer to persist- like money, and infrastructure, and common courtesy.  How can I plant my garden when I don’t know where I’ll be?  Or, in ever more evil frequency, if I can’t use seeds that aren’t fake? This leads you into the metaphorical winding paths of,  plant it wherever you are, blahblahblah, which while of course being true is also a bit sophistic leaning as it does on various concepts of what that garden might actually be.  Other than a physical squash or bean plant.   Even the Dalai Lama says it’s tough to have equanimity when your physical survival is challenged.

Still.  What I think now is this.  So much of the fear we all experience is literally fomented by the powers that be. It comes from outside us, actually.  If we are not afraid and off balance, we’re not as gullible and liable to abdicate our own authority.  The “resources” like money, fuel, water, food are controlled by the tip of a hierarchy.  They’re held at the top and in some very important ways none of us lower down have any of them.   This means that we need not fear not having them, actually.  Since we kind of don’t.  We can make our own structure, however humble it may be.  A structure that relies on energies and beliefs from a time way before ours.  This is true of more personal emotional issues too, naturally.  So what if your family didn’t support you in any way? That was THEM, not YOU- it isn’t a measure of your actual worth, altho the lack of support and resources to be magnetized to may mean your social position is more or less non-existent.  Still. That is not YOU.  Admittedly it takes some stern stuff to forge ahead in the midst of such things.

When we get it reasonably and consistently warm in here again, I’ll be baking bread.  Lately, however, it being cold and all,  I found myself immersed in the mysteries of whipped cream.  We had blood oranges that needed to be used, and I found a recipe for a gingerbread upside down cake with caramelized blood oranges.  Spectacular if I say so myself.  The Partner requested whipped cream.  Not something I think of much since I’m lactose intolerant, still I always have at least one of those sterile paper packaged long life whipping creams on hand for emergencies.  Thank you, Trader Joe’s.  So I made the whipped cream, and, as with the fried chicken episode, a whole new world opened.  It is in fact fantastic stuff.  So I am focusing on the amazing properties of cream instead of the still present, looming large challenges strewn hither and yon.  What is important, after all? You gotta keep your strength up to keep going on.  And now is most definitely not the time to give up however much one may wish to.

Blessings and thanks.

anatomy of meltdown averted

Ye GODS and effing little fishes, Gentle Reader.  Once again we see that there are even more previously undiscovered circles of Hell than previously supposed.  However, even in Hell you can keep your cool.  At least a bit.

So.  We had a bangup start to the year.  The person we rent space, water, and power from, Madame Entropy hereinafter referred to as MmE, caused just a bit of a snarlup right from the jump.  Maintenance not being a strong suit, somehow “her” power pole (as designated by the power company who puts poles out here but then makes landowners put their “own” poles up for boxes and whatnot) actually….just….disintegrated.  Yes there was snow.  And then torrential rain.  And high winds.  And 29 degree weather.  But the power pole just collapsed before all that because it was, essentially rotten.  AS it has been since we arrived here.

So, OK.  While it was in fact something of a miracle that it a) got fixed at all and b) within a ten day period? Seven to be precise? We had no power, no water, no phone, no nothing for all that time.  No place to go. No chainsaw for wood, either.  Twenty nine degrees, people.  Forty mile an hour winds.  I won’t bore you with the details of All the Excuses I Heard etc., but net net? I’m down about $700 clackeroos.  Which I didn’t actually have to begin with but bartered a stretch out for a portion thereof thanks to the good will of a friend.  The Subaru is probably going to smell like gasoline for several months from all the trips back and forth to fill the portable gascan to fill the gas guzzling generator we THANK GOD were able to use- for a price, yes, but that does not lessen my total gratitude. Not to mention the gas the CAR used because of course the creek was at flood stage and we had to Go the Long Way.  I found myself slogging through what was eventually about half a mile more than once  what with all the trips to and fro with 10 gallon buckets of horse trough water so we could flush the toilet.  After it essentially overflowed. (Snow melt and rain, ya know.  Filled septic up briefly.) I got a bit of a charley horse from yanking my mud caked boots off ten times a day so as not to have the yurt be an impersonation of a barnyard. We have not yet reached agreement on the central current issue which is that since I had to do amazing things to get through this, and the causal responsibility is squarely on certain shoulders, there will be no money forthcoming in that direction until I’m out from under the $700.  Which, technically, is the law.  However this intelligence has been greeted with dour dismay.   Not a surprise but still.  One more Thing.

A few other gruesome events transpired during this festive period and I admit that I came within millimeters of just….giving up.  Enough already.  I felt like I’d been shot but hadn’t yet fallen down.  Am I dead yet? NO????? WHY THFUCKNOT?????AAAAGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!! sort of thing.  But then.

I thought about the larger reality.  Even when this morning, the Dog tore off down the “driveway” seemingly never to return? I allowed myself a brief strangled cry and then thought, the only way out is through.  And the only way through is Love.  So I beamed LOVE toward his little doggy brain, trudged into the underbrush, and eventually all was restored to its current dull roar.  He’s also managed to nearly cut his paw off which adds a level of zing to things since a visit to the Vet is not a possibility at present.  However, I suspect the Partner was a mummy wrapper in Egypt because he has battlefield level wound management skills with bandages.  So, so far so good.  More or less.

Love doesn’t mean letting people crap all over you, and it doesn’t mean pretending things aren’t happening when they are, but it does mean that you step out of the reactive radius of the ego into the slightly more spacious area of, in progression, WTF? and REALLY? NOW? and, actually beauty still exists after all! on to We can, in fact, do this.  People say, especially now, all sorts of things about the nature of things, and the nature of thinking, and the nature of money and all the rest of it. It does look, to all intents and purposes, as though we are on the express ride to hellish crappola.  Starting Friday.  But bottom line? You can only BE where you ARE, and on some level that is timeless, even though time flies while you’re there.  The thing about time flying is, of course, it’s a bit of a magic carpet if you allow it and before you know it, or at least before too many more moons have risen and set, you are BEing somewhere else than you were, even if in temporal space and time it is the “same” place.   For me this current somewhere else is largely constituted by its being something completely different, in every sense, from anything I ever thought I “knew”.  Nothing, literally, is as it was. I am truly not stepping in the same river.  It has become more imperative to explore and observe than ever.  Given my energy levels as a person, I find it better to devote the energy I do have to this exploration rather than staying in the utter despair and why?why?why?.  The big thing I noticed in all this, too, was: being nice and kind really DOES make a huge difference wherever it occurs.  So. Be nice.  Be kind.  It works.  It helps your fellow creatures.  And really, staying in internal muck just keeps you begrimed.  Breathing is the first step out.  Sometimes staying at least a tiny bit sane is the best you can do.  And even that radiates out for the good no matter how dire things are or seem to be.

We found ourselves in this, actually entire, situation through a confluence of things, which make more sense to me now than they used to.  I no longer blame myself for not fitting in, not subscribing to the prevailing belief systems, for allowing myself to believe all who told me I was basically nuts due to the results of items one and two, even though that has led me to HERE.  In many ways I really like it HERE, and wouldn’t go back even if it were possible which it most def is not. I mean, seriously. NOBODY regular can afford to live where we used to eke out our lives. The burndown of the Ghost Ship is just one example of that. But what I think I learned this trip down the rabbit hole is that you cannot continually accept other people’s ICK.  They aren’t going to be good and nice, and especially honest, just because you are or because you want them to be.  It is important to have clarity at all times and not pretend, and express that with kindness. As in, no thank you, that particular load of crap is not landing on me.  I’m sorry but you get to keep it, dear. That’s the next project anyway, and I hope it doesn’t turn into yet another runway to ?????!!#@@#!.  Still, even if it does? This time I think I can cope, at least for a bit longer.  I hope, eventually, to have snow pictures, too.

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!

quo vadis, with recipe

It’s not getting much better yet, Gentle Reader.  The nausea and pain are prevalent every waking minute. ( Even The Dog barfed and forgot his house training for a minute- it worries him when I cry.)  The good news, besides the fact that People magazine finally picked the right guy as sexiest man on earth (THE ROCK!!!!! YESSSSS!!!) is that our local PBS station has a World channel, which now is exclusively showing First Nations Experience programming.  So it’s all natives, all the time. WONDERFUL.  We switch between that and their cooking show channel:  New Scan Cooking, a favorite, is always calming.  And hilarious as we watch the Chef lug around the exact same cast iron wood stove we have (a Jotul) to do outdoor smoking and whatnot.  In Scandinavian calm and ice.

I’ve been cooking to get my mind off how gobsmacked I am by having to behave as though people who voted for Trump are not bigots, racists, sexists and climate change deniers.  I find my face shaping itself into The Scream every time the tv accidentally rests on the news and I see that Bannon and Sessions are lined up for positions of power, but this is actually totally in line with everything that was said during the campaign. Let’s just say this about voting.   Aside from the fact that the popular vote means nothing in this country, apparently.  If a person voted for Trump, and wants to say they do not support any of the often expressed aforementioned attitudes and beliefs,  it seems to me that either such a person was not paying much attention to what was going on, or, they made a choice for conscious ignorance.   I’m not at all sure that even his supporters will be thrilled with what’s coming down the pike. It makes going outside now pretty scary, although I have to say I have found some comfort in the numbers of people (women, for the most part) I hear in the grocery store saying they are crushed and  can’t even watch the “news” any more.  The mayor and police chief of neighboring Chico felt it necessary to go on  local tv programming and say, strongly and unequivocally, that they would not be rounding anyone up for any reason, like, say, deportation.  There are a lot of kids there going to college who are now at risk, just for starters. ( And doesn’t it seem smart to deport people who are educating themselves at their own expense?)

SO.  Despair doesn’t get us much forwarder, I know.  There are a million shades of green outside right now, and a lot of golden dead leaves flying through the air with the bluebirds.  The cows eat peaceably in their pastures, the deer come out in the evenings, and the turkey are wisely sticking to heavy cover as they always do during this time of year.   In the meantime I have finally perfected cooking fritter/burger/pancake things made out of vegetables.  Here is something that actually turned out very well:

Black bean “burgers”: I cook my own beans but you can, of course, use canned.  The eggs are pretty essential but if you’re really into Vegan cooking you probably know a suitable substitute.  Depending on quantity, obviously the ratios will change but it’s pretty simple…..

2 cups of cooked black beans, drained and rinsed if canned.  1 medium sized yam or sweet potato, grated.  Two cloves garlic, minced, and about a half cup of chopped cilantro.  You could use parsley if you don’t care for cilantro.  You also want 1/8 cup of spice mixture, equal parts cumin, coriander, and black pepper.  Plus a small chopped jalapeno (or other pepper if you don’t want ANY heat).  Mix all these things together, and add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs- I have found that using Panko makes a world of difference as in you can actually flip the things as though you know what you’re doing, mush free.  Mix in the crumbs, then stir in 3 beaten eggs.  Salt to taste.  Use a 1/4 cup measure and place in a heated frying pan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a bit of butter. (Or whatever you prefer.)  Flatten the mixture a bit, fry til browned on both sides, and serve.   We like them with rajas and crema.  Mayo works great too, or yogurt with lime juice.  The usual suspects, in short.  I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving because cranberries! so there is, yes, always something positive if you only look.

I guess I’m hoping that focusing on the good, the simple, the basic, and on kindness will get me through this extended spate of difficult mental states. I’m handing out my You Matter cards like crazy.  Thank you, as always.

 

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.

When Dogs Dream Big

The Dog is a prolific dreamer.  In his sleep, he RUNS, sometimes he SINGS, sometimes he TALKS. At length.  The most amazing, however, is when he wags his tail.  I kid you not, Gentle Reader, he actually wags his tail for extended periods during dreams.  We’re quite cheered by this sign of happiness although it is a bit startling in the middle of the night, especially if the tail turns out to be close to your head.  It’s also pretty amazing that he is so vocal, too, because he didn’t utter peep one for close to five months after he came.  Clearly, he tried not to cry, or cry out, and his little mouth would be set in stern effort, eyes squeezed shut.  We assumed he was working on the memories of how he came to be here in the first place.   (I gave him flower drops for all thatbabyatsunset– 5 Flower Formula, Snapdragon, and Peach, respectively-  and he got through it quite well and quickly, actually .) The only thing he’s done since the very first minute? is snore.  We fed him on the deck that first night, and after eating, he promptly flopped down, went to sleep, and snored.  At our feet.  We were hooked. When he started smiling, we were of course ecstatic although we did at times curse the unfair advantage Total Cuteness has.  And then he realized he could bark.  Fortunately he is not a compulsive barker and the first few times he did bark, he was quite surprised by it.  Now, when there are strange noises, he strides around huffing and puffing, and sounds EXACTLY like the Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune.  I picture him saying things like, “don’t make me kill again!” and the foundational “brace up!”. The high level hound-like piercing barks are of course saved for the times when I drop things, or trip, or have one of my daily multitudinous flambe situations.   Otherwise he is quite sparing with his comments, although he does seem to always have the last word/bark. We finally got him a small blue wading pool.  When his bright green round toy is in it and the water is shimmering above it,  it almost looks like a portal to another world.  He puts his head under the water and blows bubbles, which to me is further sign of wonderfulness.

So, between that and the fact that I saw 25 wild turkeys in a pasture this week, the challenges of the outside world although Big, were not Overwhelming.  Until today when numerous Lingering Fiascoes decided to coalesce into early morning  over thinking. SIGH.  But! I think we’re continuing to move forward.  I finally actually tackled one of my biggest long standing DUMB THINGS I DO.  Which is to water fruitless trees.

When I started training in Jin Shin Jyutsu, the teachers always told us not to water fruitless trees.  Being a past master at that I didn’t understand what they meant.  But I do now.  And what it means? is that giving and taking have to be in balance.  Respect has to be present.  And when something doesn’t come to life? Let it go.  In terms of healing, it means that the person who doesn’t really want to face the changes of getting well should start at another point, get ready, and THEN come to you. Kind of like writer’s block.  You take a walk and clear your head so that what’s in there can come out in some orderly fashion.  In terms of any relationships, it means that accepting the down position all the time, giving all the time and not receiving, is not good for anyone.  Period.  If people don’t appreciate what you offer, or want to take it with scarce acknowledgement, then you should move on.  Not in a negative way, just in the sense that life IS, and stuck ISN’T.  When Lady Bountiful steps toward you, it is often best to plead a prior engagement.  Hoping that something will turn into something totally different from what it really is, is not a good thing.  In fact, it is probably floating on that river in Egypt. Anyway? if it IS going to turn into something else, it’ll do it in its own good time so you need not waste your time trying to pull on the grass in order to make it grow faster.

So I made a decision in this vein.  It was surprisingly hard, and of course I didn’t exactly feel like a Brain Trust for having had it take this long.  But after a while, a big tight weight in my chest went away.  The hole it left was what occupied me this morning, and I realized that the ache from that is something that accompanies all healing, and it’s always scary since we think it means something’s amiss.  Instead it means things are very well, actually.  That, plus turkeys, plus dog bubbles? Is enough.  And also we are beginning embarkation on a long dreamed of project.  More on that to come!  Meanwhile, thank you.

what muscles look like

The heat here has been, frankly, unbearable.  Having to be out in it for about four, scattered, and ever so slightly back breaking hours a day has been something I decided to view as Training, like for a marathon.  Fortunately we have a 50 foot long hose that weighs about ….oh, who knows how much.  But it’s heavy and has a mind of its own, we know that much.  I’m thinking I should do a You Tube video with it, a new exercise program- this could really be something!

Anyway it was fun when I went to the doctor (no more visits now! honestly, but everything takes about ten times longer than it needs to in the brave new medical world) and he said, wow, look at your BMI! You’re overweight!  I started to giggle, at which he actually looked at me.  Do I look overweight or inappropriately or excessively jiggly to you? I said.  He shook his head no.  OK then, feel THIS I said, extending my arm to him.  OH.  He said.  Yes.  I said.  Muscle.

So muscles are another one of those things that can be there but be unseen.  The usual adherence to preoccupations and entrenched ways of thinking can be continued without interruption.  Everyone’s prejudices and biases can remain intact.  I ruined his diagnostic day, sadly, as he was about to launch into the cholesterol and weight loss speech but realized it was totally off base. ( IN fact at this most recent appointment I had lost a fair amount of weight due to the above mentioned training regime.  And sweating, and stuff.) As he gathered himself, the eventual bright spot was the undeniable truth about my lungs to which he now had to attend.  In last year’s medical fun fest it turns out that in the process of collapsing my lungs, then filling them with fluid, then using god knows what crap to empty them?  Permanent damage was done.  I am pretty sure I can heal this up, actually, and more on all that soon because I am working on Something Big!……  But I am also going to file a formal complaint against the surgeon and anesthesiologist, because the past 18 months of not being able to breathe or do much and having my lungs crink up like squashed dixie cups in the middle of the night? has been hell.  And I don’t think they should have carte blanche to do it to someone else to whom, in their paradigm, attention need not be paid.

So.  You know.  This may be what passes for fighting the evil empire at the moment.

Other than that, it’s largely been armed struggle just to keep things alive out here this month.  We did get straw bales placed against the outside of the yurt, and they do provide some much needed insulation from the heat.  It’s still 85 in here all day but that, GR, is a whole lot better than 95.  Given that it’s about 112 outside, lowering on some days to 95 at midnight.  The Dog has reluctantly understood that it IS too hot out there for his paws and limits his excursions accordingly. We’ve had some Bad Dog Mornings, where he does naughty things like run down to the main road and eat dead things, returning up the driveway skulking and later? for extra fun, emitting the fart to end all farts.  Which, of course, hung in the heat for longer than it needed to.  It seems like a miracle that our garden is still alive and to the naked eye, flourishing.  It’s  really  too hot now for the vegetables to do much but we do have a LOT of cucumbers and chard.  We’ll have a few tomatoes but the plants have suffered since I am not nearly as good as the Partner is at picking those noxious hookworms off the plants.  Still, I’m feeling pretty good about it all at the moment.  There look to be enough San Marzano tomatoes to make some sauce, anyway.

Having it be too hot to cook has been a cha cha cramping sort of thing, too.  But!  I butterflied a game hen and marinated it in shallots and turmeric and chilis and stuff….not too bad, really, cooked in a grill pan.  The surprise was the aroncini I made with the end of it and the left over rice which was its accompaniment.  Aroncini are those wonderful croquettes made from risotto, with vegetables and cheese inside and crisp exteriors.  I thought, OK, left over shredded game hen, rice, let’s make those.  Imagine my excitement when I remembered it wasn’t arborio rice I’d cooked, but basmati in coconut milk. Deciding to do it anyway was touch and go, Gentle Reader and I feared ghastly failure.  I couldn’t get them to cohere (a lot of that going around….) because arborio and basmati are two really different creatures, and bit my lip as I plated their reasonably shaped in the end crispy selves.  Also important because the Partner has not been eating through this illness so whatever I do give him needs to be good.  And you know what? they were.   So further encouragement not to give up, dear friends.  Anything is possible and with a bit of effort, can happen.  From rice balls to evil empire, we can do it.

Thank you all, as always.