Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

the grace of ice cream

Things are somewhat indescribable of late.  Aside from the fact that it is mind numbingly hot, not even really cooling off at night.  (The tomatoes Do Not Like It at all but oddly the Butternut squash are going crazy, we have four Charentais melons on the vine, and the Chair Vert melon plant in the back has quadrupled in size to an almost sci-fi extent.)

The Dog has some allergic food reaction and is covered in spots.  There was, for the first time since we’ve been here, a fire that would have roared over the hill and destroyed our yurt (and maybe lives since it was blocking the only way out from here as well) if Cal Fire hadn’t gotten on it immediately.  It made me slightly sick to see the burnt place on the way into town,  but at least I got to thank the firefighters, barely able to not blurt out a question about how come they’re always so darn HANDSOME.  People I care about are having health issues and there’s a lot going on that seems very out of any kind of measure or control.   Also I found that as hard as I try, the poisonous atmosphere on Planet LPV and all that comes from same has crept into my little brain (aside, I mean, from wondering what I’ll do with no health insurance and an internet controlled by Comcast and Verizon, voter suppression and Environmental Protection c/o Exxon Mobil and how long til this guy gets COMMITTED???…oh well.  You probably know).  This was forcibly borne in upon me when in a couple of days, I got two follows on this blog, for which I am grateful!, in Arabic.  I watched my stomach clench as my brain said, Oh boy, this is IT.  “They” will ….they, who?, will do what, exactly? I mean, really? I get hits from all over the world, amazingly, and sometimes from places we’re “supposed” to fear.  (The many Russian hits are generally hacks and ripoffs from my website to porn sites, big surprise. Flower pictures, right?)  Don’t ask me what allure this bear’s life holds but there it is.  It’s kind of like when the sheriff drove up that day and clearly realized we’re just a couple of old hardheads and no arrest could, in any universe, be forthcoming for any reason.  ANYWAY the whole thing made me a bit more tense when I found that Google Translate would not let me cut and paste any language to be translated, as it usually does when such things come up.  Maybe it’s my antediluvean laptop. Finally I figured out that I could drag the text over and? Guess what? All of it was WONDERFUL poetry.  Beauty and expression thereof, carrying on a long tradition.  One person I couldn’t get enough blog translated to be able to leave a comment since, not reading Arabic, I couldn’t figure out where that might be.  So I very much hope they don’t think I am being rude.  I often wonder what would have happened to both Christianity and Islam had Capitalism not inserted its noxious snout- perhaps the inherent love at the base of both might have gotten the upper hand.  However, alas, it did and has and now? What the heck has happened to us that the simple act of reaching out and sharing one’s thoughts about reality becomes questionable and prone to causing wonder about who else might be “looking”.  At the same time I was filled with a kind of huge radiant joy at knowing there are people, everywhere, who do create beauty and strive for truth.  And  some of that was shared with me.

So.  Swinging between the twin poles of CHUFFED (followers! who write wonderful things!) and OH DEAR (fire, dog spots, dastardly politics) I turned to my latest obsession: Dulce de Leche.  Traditionally it is made of goat’s milk which is caramelized into total fabulousness.  It is also made quite simply by putting a can of Eagle Brand in a water bath for 40 minutes or so until it becomes thick and caramelized.  It being so hot and all ice cream seemed like the obvious solution for such a preoccupation.  Also I did not want to find that I’d eaten a whole can of Eagle Brand by itself.

The first batch was good, even if the experiment of caramelizing the Eagle Brand in the microwave went just. a. tiny. bit. awry.  The valiant and elderly microwave needed to be cleaned anyway and of course I expect this sort of things-reaching-past- their-assigned boundaries as routine.  The next time I started early in the morning on one day, using the stove, and putting the resulting cooked can into the refrigerator.  When it was cool enough a day or so later to even think about again turning on the stove, this is what I did:

1 cup of milk with the thickened Eagle Brand mixed in, heated slowly.  Three egg yolks beaten, tempered, and stirred in until spoon was properly coated.  Into the refrigerator with that.  About three hours later I mashed up a cup and a half of strawberries from the garden, put a tiny bit of sugar in them, and let them rest for a couple of hours.  A few drops of vanilla into the custard, berries mixed in, and into the ice cream freezer.  The Partner says it’s the best strawberry ice cream he’s ever had, and I think he may be right.  Now, if I can just convince the Dog that he’s not being punished by the now total absence of cheese treats, potato treats, and Daddy’s leftover milk from cereal, and get him to come out from under the table, all may yet be well.  May the Poetry be with you! and as always, blessings and thanks!

Almost cut my hair……

Time flies, Gentle Reader.  We’ve been…well, heck.  A pop up window just covered the earth here on laptop screen world, telling me that the Adobe something or other whatever it is that I downloaded so that I could use the label design program offered by the company I now buy my labels from has been Determined By Firefox To Cause Instability.  SO THAT’S WHAT IT WAS.  I should have  known.  And I’m not talking about the labels, either.  They have been, let’s just say, a powerful teacher and I’m still stacking and unstacking mounds of rocks, metaphorically speaking.

Anyway, before I was so rudely interrupted by the Modern World, I was About To Say.  We found baby scorpions again.  The cool thing is they were in pretty much the same area as they were the first time.  Which means at least that they haven’t decided to colonize the entire yurt interior. That first time I was attempting to unpack dishes (boxes still adjacent to doorway at that point which for the most part has been blocked from memory due to excessive hideousness) for a birthday party and oh boy.  There was a tiny sucker of a scorpion, flailing its tail around.  I apologized, told it things were over, and flushed it down the toilet.  I wondered if we’d brought it from Oakland, but of course.  It came from HERE.  The new one was found during an intense bout of spring cleaning, and was right by where we keep our shoes.  So that’s really special when you think about it.  On so many levels. ( We’re a scorpion nursery!  There was just a full moon in Scorpio, too, adding to our joy….) They say that whatever is outside in the country comes in your house.   I’m trying to remain calm knowing that the ticks, SCORPIONS, recluse spiders, rattle and other assorted snakes, ungodly grasshoppers and renegade mantids are, indeed outside.  Which means…well, it means you really have to check your shoes, is what it means.

It is also summer here now for reals.  Which means we had to bite the bullet and get something that may work and keep us from dying of heatstroke this year, for sure. The fact that you can boil eggs outside the front door isn’t amusing enough any more to keep us going.   A large swamp cooler is waiting to be installed this afternoon, outside the yurt.  It wasn’t fun going to Home Depot and spending all that virtual money, but we did it.   Then of course The Partner has to figure out how to do the undoable, since yurts have neither windows nor roofs such as those described in the instruction manuals for swamp coolers.  So there’s been that.  (A research exploration on the web revealed that many people in yurts actually just install things, like 18,000 btu air conditioners, in their yurts.  To me that kind of defeats the purpose of living in a more simple and earth friendly way.  You’re just recreating the same problem all over again.  Then you can pretend you’re a “Pioneer”, apparently, however.) There was also the final, at long last, Ultimate Cleanup and x number of bags of  final moving and construction detritus and recycling and everything got Taken Away.  Plus uncovering of garden and massive trimming and weeding.  So there has been a great deal of manual labor, with more to come.  The garden still needs to be planted and this year’s adventure will be watermelons.  So that’s exciting.

Anyway, all that work and other matters requiring Urgent Attention kept me away from the blog for a few days.  Plus I was thinking- a challenging if not downright dangerous activity.  It’s very easy to get so wrapped up in blogging, writing, stats, success, all that stuff.  It becomes anxiety provoking and, frankly, we don’t need more of that particular commodity around here.  What IS success? Does it matter if anyone reads what you (I, sigh) write? Out of the vast numbers of readers in the world, the almost uncountable numbers of words, the whizzing connections and ostensible paths to becoming Known?  I am a firm believer in fate, except I also know that so much is unknown, unwritten, emerging based on moment to moment developments in one’s mind and soul.  If what you do is meant to be Found, it will be.  I reckon.  But as someone who is attempting to stay afloat and viable in this particular country at this particular time by, essentially, Wit Alone, it can be something to ponder.  I always come back to more or less the same point, mercifully, after going up hill and down dale mood-wise, which is basically, do the work, and let it go.  I’m happier that way, and things are in better resonance with each other.  It doesn’t make it easier, or more comprehensible, or make American Express nicer, or anything like that.  But somehow getting back to the discipline of pay full attention, do the task, bless it and send it on its way at least gets me through a day and Things Get Done.

Because:  I’m still mulling over how diagnosis and assessment work in a universe where time and space are moving in and out of each other constantly, there’s a stream of beings and information flowing around us, there are so many levels of things and yet life indeed does go on all around us, every death is a rebirth, every difficulty is in its way a meditation and a teacher.   The question seems to be what one uses as one’s motive power.  Operating out of love, which is to say, operating out of one’s humanity, operating out of the ground of oneness of being- even when you want to strangle someone- seems to always bring the best results.  But it seems to be the hardest thing to do, also.  Things that need to be healed develop over time, too, and it can take a good deal of time to even figure out what it is that needs to be helped along.  The conversation has to be taken up, in a way, by the concerned individual’s inner self.  The outer treatment, the healer or doctor or whatever you want to call the person, connects with that other inner self and movement can begin.  So then, what do you do about all the ills of the flesh that get brought to you?  Sometimes I get a glimmer of understanding.  Sometimes, not.

We watched two movies yesterday, TAKE SHELTER and CARNAGE.  Both of them were actually pretty interesting commentaries on how we are as people, now.  Roman Polanski directed CARNAGE, and it’s worth noting what a checkered, brilliant, and devastating past he’s had.  No way of knowing at the time Charles Manson showed up that years later, Polanski would still be making good movies and have an acute eye for how people are, and interesting perspective on it all as well-as in, things always do work out.  TAKE SHELTER is thought provoking although it might be easily dismissed by some.  It presents a harrowing and accurate picture of what it is like to be, and live with, a person who is experiencing a dissolution of personality.  In this case, the action of love comes forth very powerfully.  In Polanski’s film, it seems to be more the movement of the universe that keeps things moving forward.  In any event, both films spoke to me, anyway, about how it is that things actually work for us here on earth, how hard it is for us to see and act on that, and how oddly protected we can be at times.   And again, how does all this intersect with the work of helping people feel better?

In between pondering my Economic and Creative Fate, working like a dog, and having some of the above treatment issues rattling around my brain, I heard the ever wonderful Harry Shearer yesterday, and his excerpt from a speech by Andrew Haldane (I think..) of the Bank of England put things in perspective, if not a happy one.  We’d been talking about Exxon Mobil, and how their 40 year out oil supply plan seems to be insanely short given…well, given the nature of time and resources.  A friend said, well in terms of the markets, that’s an eternity.  And I thought, well, I guess that works if you think the markets are a good way to have everything run.   Which does not seem to be borne out by the facts.  Mr. Haldane’s speech limned this nicely.  He said that a “mirage of liquidity” was created at the time of the economic blow ups of 2007- on.  What a great phrase!  And this mirage was created by the fact that, with the internet and stuff, trades can be done in milliseconds instead of in hours as they were Back In The Day.  And out of every one trade that is completed, there might be at least 60 more, in any given femtosecond, that got cancelled.  So the bandwidth was completely taken up by those who were creating and benefiting from the Mirage of Liquidity.  Which “mirage evaporated at speed”, Mr. H. said, as the externality set in.  Externality being someone else bearing the consequences of, say, your actions.  Or Exxon Mobil’s.  Or mortgage brokers or drug lords or gun runners.  I think you can get his drift, can’t you?  I tried on this concept in terms of blogging and page views and stuff like that and…well, it made me a bit downcast.  But since I’m already the recipient of a barrage of externality, I decided that really? WHO CARES?  It’s all going to work out one way or the other, and knowing the larger system is corrupt, and also knowing in the smaller system I don’t put pictures in my blog and do things the way you’re supposed to if you want to Get Known, I went back to my original philosophy of life, from Winnie the Pooh.  If I don’t get any fatter, it doesn’t really matter, what I do.  The way things are going, we’re definitely not going to get any fatter.