Posts Tagged ‘driving’

higher and deeper

Just saying, Gentle Reader.  JUST SAYING.  The weirdness  continues piling up, and it’s got to the point now where I’m eerily calm.  That’s never really a good thing with me.

So, when the repair shop called early this morning and told me my car would probably be classified as a total loss and how did I feel about that?  I cleared my throat, calmly, after tripping over The Dog, and said, Not Acceptable.  Especially not when said shop would get paid for the “tear down” of my car and parting it out.  And I would probably get enough to buy a little red hand pulled wagon.  AND since the error was on the part of the shop by not including an obviously needed part in the estimate (a strut, which even *I* could see was needed, given the wheel was bent in a slightly sickening way).  Well, it just goes on from there.  It appears at the time of this writing that all will be well at some point in the unknown future and we’ll be reunited with our trusty Subaru, BUT.   I’m pretty sure that if insurance had existed when Shakespeare was writing, that line would’ve read:  First thing we do, we kill all the lawyers AND THE INSURANCE COMPANIES.

In the meantime, when everything is just in chaos despite one’s best efforts, what is to be done?  Go outside and look at something like this:


Perspective.  I am reminded that it is probably a better use of my time to focus attention on all the people who desperately need help in this world, rather than fret about the slings and arrows of my personal, outrageous fortune.  I am really hoping that directed thought and energy can turn the tide.

no picture monday

You are spared a gratuitous dog picture today, Gentle Reader, because my attempt at emailing an action shot of The Dog to myself failed.  Technology and I are not on good terms of late it seems.  While I am somewhat proud of myself for (at last) figuring out the reason my camera and laptop no longer speak to each other? (Which is that because I FINALLY upgraded my antediluvian OS , now the photo application is Lost In Space….) at the same time the complexity of constantly having to “upgrade” something that’s working fine as it is reminds me of just how close to going over the edge we are as a species, in general.

Writing yet another letter about not drilling in the Arctic.  Yet another letter about immigration reform.  YET ANOTHER LETTER ABOUT SAVING BEES.  This all takes time, and when you add to that the irresistible impulse I have every time I even see the word Trump to obliterate my consciousness, it adds up to quite the endeavor to maintain equanimity.  And?  All these things are generated by this same impulse to “upgrade”, make more and ever more stuff for God knows Who to consume.  All the while repulsing individuals, generically labelled “refugees”, who are simply trying to stay alive and escape from the miasma created to some large extent by this very Upgrade Machine called world politics and economy.  We all want, at bottom, the same things.  To be happy, as Buddha said, but also to simply be acknowledged and treated like human beings.  Not consumers and receptacles.

Which equanimity endeavor failed rather miserably yesterday.  The Arrival of The Dog has made me think about things differently, as such things tend to do.  As in.  When I “think” about The Dog, I think, oh jesus god it is too much work, too much expense, too much blahblahblah.  When I “experience” The Dog, it’s more along the lines of YIPPEE! Life is good, all kinds of things happen and we really don’t have to take any of it personally.  Just simply do the best we can at each step.  Remembering that love is the glue of the universe.  We are here to BE, not to DO or let our egoic thinking run the show.  HOWEVER.  As I was driving home yesterday a truck which did not have the right of way unexpectedly attempted to take it while I was, innocently minding my own business, getting on the freeway.  No collision, thank heavens, but massive horn honking and then?  The people in the truck flipped me off, big time.  Before I knew it, I’d returned the gesture.

I really was not happy with myself about that and was surprised to find a bit of nervousness as to whether or not the individuals in the truck were a) drugged, b) heavily armed white supremacists,  c) neighbors I haven’t met yet, or worst of all d) all of the above.  As it happened they whizzed on past me, probably not thinking much about any of it.  But I thought about it, because I do try to…well, BEHAVE.  And if someone like me goes tilt at the drop of a hat, what can we expect from anyone else?  Like, say, Trump.  Or FIFA officials.  Or any member of Congress or government in general.

I found it oddly upsetting, the whole incident, and couldn’t really put my finger on why.  Was it because someone, essentially, harshed my buzz? (ahem) Was it just the intrusion of three dimensional PTSD in the form of a bit of pickup driven thoughtless nastiness? One might also ask why I thought it was “bad” to be irritated with those fine folks who narrowly missed splattering me all over I-5.  So, net net?  I still haven’t figured a damn thing out.  Oh, well.

On the other hand, the Dog got his first bath yesterday, went for his first shots this week, and continues taking walks on a leash.  All of which are going swimmingly.  He is also, at least, peeing AT the door now when he doesn’t get through to us in time to go outside.  I’ve never seen anything grow as fast as this dog, who the Vet said will probably end up weighing EIGHTY TO NINETY POUNDS.  Talk about something landing in your lap.

The other sign of potential progress is tortillas.  Finally, I got back on the bike and made both corn and flour tortillas.  The problem with flour tortillas, of course, is that you have to use lard and also a bit of vegetable shortening.  Both of which are now close to weapons grade substances, being multiply-hydrogenated and chemicalized.   The quest for organic lard starts now.  But the tortillas were great and, as the Partner noted when he drifted by my pressing and rolling efforts, I had in fact “done this before”.  I was also seized by an unfightable urge to make prickly pear creme brulee.  Since we had some melons from the garden that were over ripe, I pureed them as well and plan a rainbow assortment of chair vert, cantaloupe, and aforementioned prickly pear custards set atop caramel.  (No propane in blow torch for top caramel at present, is why.) There is a cactus across the road from the yurt from whence came the pricklies.  At this point, between The Dog and The Cactus, I look as though I’ve gone several, losing, rounds with the inhabitants of a pincushion.  I plan to have pictures of BOTH The Dog and the panoply of cremes in the not too distant future.  Barring, of course, any more exploded equanimity or contretemps to the contrary.

no name for it today

I did realize this morning, when I got up and actually felt perfectly fine, that it was a mistake to think anything about it, such as that it might last the entire day.  Things have been more than dicey for us at Yurt Central of late; it’s been exhausting.  However.  We made decisions, acted on them, resolved differences and conflicts, and found out that contrary to what the dealership in this benighted place said about The Car? there was nothing at all wrong with it.  Mid-Other-Crises our CHECK ENGINE light went on, and I don’t know about you, Gentle Reader, but I no longer ignore that.  Especially given that we live in a place there’s  no walking out from in less than four hours.  So we really need our car.  Going to the local dealership aka only game in town seemed reasonable, at least to the Partner.  We went, they were the usual non-mechanically oriented service department with a focus on Getting You In A New Car.  They estimated that whatever was wrong with the car merited a new $520 part, plus labor.  Also, the clutch seemed to be going.  Able once again after family conferencing to go back to my beloved, life long mechanic, it was revealed that a) the check engine light was indeed related to a gas cap incident and meant nothing, and b) since the car has a hydraulic clutch, which cannot be adjusted, they were talking through their little pointed hats about that too.  Whole cloth, practically.   In the process of visiting my mechanic in the bay area, I also saw many people on my early morning way there who appeared to have been treated more roughly by life than usual:  8 am and a woman of some size walking down an Oakland street in a bathing suit.  People shambling barefoot, clutching the blankets and sleeping bags they’d used overnight, wherever they found a place.

It’s hard to make sense of a world where there is so much constant cognitive dissonance.  Then again, apparently a Republican congressman believes the temperatures on Earth and Mars are the same and testified thusly- this was in favor of coal mines.  This, I believe, is due to there being NO cognition whatsoever.  Which leads us to today’s news which we foolishly turned on, and which left me with the firm conviction that there is a widespread epidemic of no cognition.  Either Malaysian Airlines is cursed somehow, or the Russian Separatists are excellent shots with absolutely…right, no cognition.  Then we see that Israel is actually invading Gaza .  This is totally beyond my truthful comprehension.  I mean, I realize Israel feels Gaza is a swarming nest of terrorists.  But honestly? It is as though everyone has completely lost their minds.  There is no excuse for any of this.

Still, there is a wider gyre than we know- all you have to do is look at the fossil record!  Or read Sandor Katz’s excellent discussion of bacterial activity in THE ART OF FERMENTATION.  In spite of all the atrocities and stupidities and hastenings toward disaster, I believe that if we can be honest with ourselves, things could be worked out.  I’m less sure than I used to be that everyone can be communicated with, but if the teeter totter could just….inch its way toward balance, the non-cognitional would have to shift somehow.   Perhaps they’d fall on their rumps and reconsider.  It just doesn’t seem to me that, however appealing it might be, blowing people up and away is any kind of solution or appropriate action in any situation.  Just my opinion.

in the beginning

We’re always at the beginning, of course, just as we’re always at the end.  The trick is to keep making that perfect cup of tea nonetheless.

This morning (after an action packed long yesterday that included yet another rock hitting our windshield and making an extraordinary impact- which will lead toot sweet to windshield number three for our brave Subaru, and to which I am not ascribing Any Meaning such as don’tevergooutsideagain), we watched Tyrant brave rain and wind to do his amazing courtship dance with…girlfriend number !!?.  He has quite a harem as it happens; after all he is quite a spectacular specimen so even though the ladies feign a ho hum attitude they all seem to stick around.  We have yet to find their nests but it is getting to the point that walking through the garden can mean a brush with puncture wounds and at a minimum a thrumming blow from someone’s spinning wings.  Anyway they spun around each other with tails fanned and fluttering and it was pretty amazing.  We’re starting to see the geese flying north as well.  They, and the salmon we saw raising up out of the river to look around and get their bearings, are our reminders that the Original World, the natural world, under assault as it is, is not just where we are now but where we belong.   And, of course, where we procrastinate.  But really, it is too muddy to work outside.  It is.

One thing we may have begun to understand is this odd matter of what some refer to as the Ascension.  Part and parcel of the 2012 thing, the Mayan Calendar baktun end, and all that, the Ascension has been discussed in certain circles for a long time.   I had a friend, for example, who was quite sure we’d all shift into a dimensionless reality and fly away.  Not completely buying that, I also saw how things were and are literally reshaping right before all of our eyes.  Essentially this…thing… is a coming huge shift in energies on the planet and it gets interpreted in as many ways as there are stars in the sky.

It seems pretty clear that change is coming everywhere and soon.  What isn’t clear is whether it will be a complete destruction of the planet and everything on it, or not.  The powers that be, in short, have been revealed to be perhaps not all that smart.  Making the world safe for petroleum products has been their game, and a wide swath has been cut in every area of life on the planet as a result.  We eat tomatoes from Chile and Mexico (some of us do, I mean.  We are total in season eaters which means right now? We are seriously jonesing for tomatoes.) and people in New Zealand eat ours. When you look at that you  must see there are some paradigm issues, all of which lead to better living for multinational corporations.  Unilever?  Texaco? They’re happy, and apparently the average person has forgotten that tomatoes really do not taste like scrubber sponges.  So, when the Partner read an article in this week’s New Yorker about the development of ITER, a hydrogen based comprehensive alternative energy source, it knocked his socks off just about completely.  It turns out that people have been working feverishly on this project for quite some time, and it is astonishing.  Essentially, a star in a vacuum chamber, providing a non-carbon based energy source that eliminates pollution and has little to no waste product.

Now.  That, there? Is the real Ascension to my way of thinking.  No blood for oil, Gentle Reader. No dictatorial economies.  No airy fairy or insulting non-explanations.  No pollution of the atmosphere continuing until doomsday.  We’d get to keep the Arctic! The middle east would become an energy non-issue and perhaps we could focus on liveability for the entire region, not to say world.  Granted, Exxon probably won’t like this, nor will the rest of the top billed actors in this crappy play, but we got very excited and realized that perhaps this is, indeed, the energetic shift we’ve been expecting.  And it makes sense!  A change to an energy base that is ubiquitously available, non-polluting, and essentially free….now.  THAT would really be something.  Maybe we’ll finally get somewhere, or at least to the point where “religion” and “science” can be the joined elements in one whole they truly are- not just instruments inflicting blunt force trauma on us all.   All these things may be complex and require knowledge, maybe seem totally unfamiliar- but they are intelligible, metaphysics  is also an appropriate language to integrate fully into use now, and it is my deep hope that all of us on this planet will quit relinquishing our personal authority to “religion”, “church”, “government”, or whatever external source coerces us into believing we have no ability to work on our own behalf.  Further, that work on one’s own behalf does not have to be of the selfish, grasping, all for and about me sort, but more along the lines of healing and rebuilding for all beings  So.  We’re kind of excited!

On another note, we had an opportunity to eat dinner out which is so rare an event as to seem on the brink of extinction.  Anyway, we went to a Thai restaurant and had corn cakes.  I realized I make these at home, and mine compare Quite Favorably, which was a sweet revelation indeed.  It IS a wonderful life. (The recipe is in Mark Bittman’s fantastic Vegetarian tome, should you wish to investigate for yourselves.)

Needles and Haystacks

I woke up thinking about driving this morning.  As it relates to mood.  AS in, we’re all on this journey and quite often we’re out there seeking our objectives which are, as the Partner remarked, like needles in haystacks.  So I thought about the drive we took on my birthday, during which we both realized we were in fact on a Quest for something that we’ll only know when we find it.  Namely, a place to Be.  Which, in this particular event, we didn’t find although we did see a fantastic pair of cranes rising up from a pond, which was quite wonderful enough.

Then I thought about how one’s moods and feelings, or more specifically mine, go up and down and all over the place.  At another challenging juncture in my life, I often found myself driving in a particular place by Santa Cruz with Henry the canary.  I was in my recently dead husband’s car and had my recently dead best friend’s canary in the passenger seat.  We were in a place we both liked, a long road that went way up and way down but gently, with long swooping passages of both and lots of green on one side, the ocean on the other.  Henry would be swinging back and forth on his swing, singing along to his favorite part of DON GIOVANNI (where the Commendatore bursts through the wall on that gigantic horse) and we’d just….drive.  Somehow that made me feel able to carry on.  This morning as I thought about how excited I get about plans and potentials now, then shortly thereafter hopes appear dashed, it occurred to me that really it is all very much like those drives with Henry.  Long stretches where it seems as though nothing happens but it really does.  Often our own efforts at “making” something transpire do nothing more than keep us in a holding position.   It’s a delicate balance between intention and right action and there is actually more time spent quietly observing than you might ever expect.

As I watch the people around me go through all the things they go through, I’m struck over and over by a couple of things.  One, we all do a LOT to avoid feeling our feelings.  Two, reality and time really are fluid and there is a lot of both in ways we are not trained to see.  When the phrase “you create your own reality” comes up, it really is true.   You can, indeed, choose your focus and proceed accordingly.  Then it becomes a matter of acting from the impulses of your heart and not from those of your fear.  This procedure seems to be one of ongoing and at times apparently insurmountable difficulty.   It is so easy for us to lose touch with the basic reality of our interconnectedness.   When we are able to operate from that basis it really is easier even if as we are practicing it, so to speak, it seems harder.   All those opinions and sheltering protective Attitudes! When the reality of it in a huge way is that we are all one, beating, universal heart.  I wonder why we are often so far from that.  Then I remember how often I stifle myself from giving someone the finger on the freeway or visualizing something even more intense for them.  This from someone who, in a way, falls in love with every client every time because when I work with them, I “see” them and that, in the end, turns out to be the biggest reward I could ever have received.  So we’ll see what happens on these swooping ups and downs, Gentle Reader, shall we?

Growth Opportunities

Life is full of those, isn’t it, Gentle Reader?  I get what seem to be perhaps More Than My Share .  The most recent thing of relative import? I’m allergic to goats.  This I learned when two baby ones leapt off my landlady’s porch (during another landmine evading trip to pay the rent),  on to me, wrapping their front and hind legs around, respectively, my neck and waist and my waist and ankles, and gave me goat kisses.  Which are interesting.  And produce sneezing.  And their hair is VERY scratchy. I did not fall down, to my credit, and all three of us eventually recovered our composure.   It also seems we have another Pope, the ice caps are indeed still melting apace, and Chico State University which is somewhat near us (and had given me a (faint) (unrealized) hope of perhaps a decent bookstore) has not yet made a decision on whether or not to hold required classes on Fridays.  This would be in an effort to stop the binge drinking that apparently begins Thursday afternoon and goes until Sunday.  A student was quoted as saying it would be “stupid” to have class on Friday.  Because no one would go.  Oh.  Kay.  A rousing afternoon yesterday of pulling weeds and removing hornworm pupae from our garden soil pile preparatory to Another Magnificent Planting Season distracted me from the challenges of going out in the world to some extent, which was a good thing.  There seems to be more cognitive dissonance than one can really handle all the time and pulling weeds is very restorative, after all.  Even the illusion of accomplishment is comforting and at times I think that’s all it is anyway.  I mean: the weeds WILL be back.

I also completed Online Traffic School, which was not without features of interest- the instructions for the course consisted largely of admonitions not to do the class in a bar or with a cocktail.  (I was sitting with two special needs ladies one of whom had an active tambourine- I figured that didn’t quite reach the level of cocktail exposure.)  There was a LOT of stuff about road rage and avoiding eye contact with enraged or seemingly insane fellow drivers (and how you figure THAT out, I do not know- insane or not, I mean).  Still, I did learn a lot about speed limits (!!) and also probably the real reason people still talk on their mobiles while driving here, even though it is in theory against the law.  It’s only a $50 ticket, and $20 for succeeding violations.   Not, as we see every time we’re driving, all that deterring.  Apparently for those who continue to use hand held sets and talk and text and all that while whizzing down the road at a speed that makes any collision more than equivalent to jumping out of a third story window (see? I learned ALOT), the possibility that you could kill or maim someone else, someone you don’t even know,  doesn’t matter at all either.  Certainly not $50 worth.  Ah, human life.  Precious, right?  I especially enjoy a feature of our roadways here, which is regularly being almost smashed to smithereens by a car covered with Jesus bumper stickers and Christian homilies while the person is chatting on the phone obliviously.  (Probably with their Pastor, but still.) This isn’t the do unto others I usually think about, let’s just say.

Meanwhile there are lovely trails leading back into the hills with flowering wild cherry trees lining their sides, and the buttercups are out.  The birds are coming back, hopping around in our garden like they’re all greeting old friends. There are new little lizards, and some of the splendid graphite-looking big ones, too.  One day instead of losing my mind altogether I took my magnifying glass up on the bluff and looked at all the tiny, tiny, new wild flowers and changing mosses, and the spectacular manzanita blossoms this year.  Today the morning sky was the same creamy pink shade as their flowers.  It was pretty amazing, and looked as though it went on forever.  Which, in a way, it does.



It is what it is

Whatever that may be, Gentle Reader.  We’ve moved into rather spring like weather here, albeit with the usual 30-40 degree swing between day and night.  It was 38 degrees in the yurt this morning, for example.  Still and all.  As long as we can keep it all in Perspective, we’re doing just fine for the most part.

Our lives, the Partner’s and mine, now kind of swing between ever continuous Harsh Reality, and the Unseen World.  The Unseen World is that place where ideas and spirits live, and we attempt to do our work, divine plots and dinner menus, and pull weeds.  The Harsh Reality is, like, that speed trap I hit at night on the way home from the bay area and got a ticket in.   I found myself thinking gratefully in the moment that neither of us was a young black male, especially since it was pretty clear to me the Officer had stopped us (in the dark, on Interstate 5) partly because he, as an Older Officer,  felt safe in assuming that there were no automatic weapons, methamphetamines, large amounts of cash or knives, or other contraband, in our dusty Subaru.  I was very glad indeed not to disappoint him in this instance.  Even the Partner, who is generally quite open to seeing when I make an error, remarked that this particular episode was reminiscent of the sort of piles we step over between our house and the landlady’s.  Poop, in short.  Not, in essence, my bad.  Radar gun cheating.   So that was rewarding.  And besides, as often as I have to Go Outside, sheer numbers would suggest an untoward occurrence of this sort to be not totally unlikely.  The amount of the fine will probably make me lay my head down and moan, but there it is.  What it is.  See how that works?

Meanwhile in my continuing struggle to Learn English, I have to ask precisely what the word “entitlement” means.  Especially when it is connected to something like “social security”.  I am confused here, so help me out.  If I’ve PAID INTO SOMETHING FOR A ZILLION YEARS whether I wanted to or not, doesn’t that make the return of that fund which was stipulated to be for a specific purpose such as my retirement, not an entitlement?  But more like honesty?  Really.  These politicians need to be beamed up or something before they kill us all.

Also, I got so depressed about Syria, and the fact that we here in our little community or part of it are now being policed by the same sort of armed individuals (keeping us SAFE don’t you know? since the county sheriffs take too long to get here….but what happens to anyone they arrest?)  who presented themselves in the Trayvon Martin shooting, that I decided to spend a day in the kitchen.  Where, along with scalloped potatoes, I came up with a dessert.  I’d almost thought I couldn’t cook anymore but this little number, with its blood oranges in a honey-cardamom syrup, port and vanilla pastry cream, and toasty brioche underneath it all, was a happy reminder that progress can still be made.  Even though the blood orange tree froze this winter after a big harvest,  and looks very sad indeed, hope springs eternal.  A reminder that beauty and magic exist all around us, even in the murk of our current days.