Posts Tagged ‘politics’

pits, stakes, live tigers

No pictures yet, though, Gentle Reader.  We’re working on it but Technical Stuff appears to be in the same spot behind the barn door as everything else right now.

Not that it hasn’t been exciting.  A dozen fire trucks raced over our dirt road a few days ago after we heard a loud explosion.  The Partner saw smoke, and all of it was less than a mile away from us.  Seeing as how we were already surrounded by fires it was, as I told a friend, just the tiniest bit unnerving.  However, the fire people around here are probably stuffing their wings into their fire suits, is all I can say.  Once again they saved us.  Once again I felt exactly what it’s like to have overwhelming fear just materialize like a giant fug in your face, and also exactly what it’s like to say, not right now, fear.  I’m still rattling around a bit but ….oh well.

Shortly after that I found a frog atop my anti-depressant meds, and I thought, oh, my.  Even the frogs need help around here.  Or perhaps the frog was just saying, I’m coming with you.  FROGS PANIC TOO.

Meanwhile, though, the gardenia has bloomed and we’re already casting around for the hundredth zucchini recipe, which is all wonderful.  Beans are flowering and there’s a chili on the way.  The rhubarb plant appears to be on its last legs, but you can’t win them all- it’s been over 105 here every day and probably that is just more than a rhubarb can take.  The garden continues to be what keeps us all more or less sane, I think.  The Dog loves to eat mint and rose petals, the Partner manages and creates magnificence, and I find myself roaming around in it when my mind is so unsettled I can’t sit still.

Which, let’s face it, has been the norm of late.  I had to make a very difficult personal decision which, while the correct course of action, broke another piece of my heart.  Reality bites, in short.  But, I made ice cream (successfully caramelizing sweetened condensed milk in the microwave, miracle of miracles for me anyway) and salsa and marinades and zucchini 800 ways (new favorite: slice zucchini, place in oiled frying pan and let caramelize, about four minutes a side.  You put inch long pieces of scallion and a bit of salt on top.  When it’s all brown and great, remove from pan, remove oil, and place a tablespoon of red wine vinegar in the still hot pan.  Put squash back in, make sure it is mixed completely with vinegar, and toss with shredded fresh mint.  Let come to room temperature.  Eat.  Heaven.).

It’s not enough to keep the World at bay though and once again I am really, really wondering what to do since periodically it seems to me that all the meditating and right mindedness attempts are not even close to enough.  I don’t know how it is other places in this country but here? It couldn’t be more unfamiliar if one landed on a distant rock in space.  People are behaving beyond badly, and of course are given the example and go ahead by an individual who pretends to be President.  And we all know all the rest of it, of course, and how ANYONE can sleep knowing what is going on at the border (however much the doers of this resort to the Bible), how much money the for profit prisons are making both on incarcerating terrified refugees and the other huge percentage of American citizens they house, and how many people are about two weeks away from being out on the street, how the very air we breathe is being poisoned….   it is like a continuing gash in one’s entire being.  This is not OK, not any of it and I am at a loss to understand just why it continues.  This country is now being “run” by a crew of individuals who would probably be better placed in Pelican Bay.  And, yes.  It’s change, the cosmos is moving and shaking, shi/f/t happens, what you detest in someone is present in you also. Still, one really must not collaborate with what is poison, thinking it will be OK.  Even the Buddha said that.

The comparisons people make to the 60’s and 70’s  make me wacky too.  It is not the same and pretending it is seems to me to be the worst sort of magical thinking .  People had some heart in those days overall and were prepared to take a stand when things were clearly wrong even if those things didn’t seem to immediately affect them personally.  And there were consequences for those stands.  But things did change: civil rights, environmental rights, women’s rights.  Abortion, for example.  If you’re opposed to abortion then one must assume you’re opposed to the death penalty and war as well?  Roe v Wade showed that it was reasonably clear that a woman should not have to die either figuratively or literally (which DID happen) because she becomes pregnant unintentionally or unwillingly.  No other person really should be able to say what remedy is available and what isn’t based on their supposed reverence for life, or assume that all women are fluff brains who don’t know what they’re doing- along with all those miscreants in the hood who clearly need to be put in custody.  And why do we even have to call being treated with a sense of dignified equity a RIGHT?  How has it become a right not to be shot by over militarized police because you don’t straighten your legs out on the curb?  Or a right not to have your boss overcome you physically? And while we’re on it?  What the hell is sexual assault?  I looked up the words rape and assault in the dictionary and roared.  Assault is taking something (note: THING) by force.  Rape is “illicit carnal knowledge of a woman without her consent.” ILLICIT CARNAL KNOWLEDGE? Consent? Consent is not  saying yes so you won’t be killed. And, rape is not about sex aka carnal knowledge, which is a first step in dealing with it in a cultural context. It  is about power, control, and pain. Just like capitalism turns out to be for the most part unless you’re part of the tip of the pyramid.

Oh, dear Gentle Reader.  I do hope the zucchini recipe balances the excess verbiage.  And after all.  Mexico lost out in the World Cup, but the recent elections look most promising- even if you have, up to now, had to listen to Telemundo to find out they even happened.  Meanwhile, we pin our hopes on Uruguay, maintaining some level of balance and common sense, and send you blessings and thanks as always!

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raisins d’etre

blue17Ijuneevening

Time is zooming by and at the same time, it’s like a big piece of amber in which we find ourselves closely held.  The seasons have changed, the one week Fall colors were completely different this year in shades of rust and copper, and there was a last group of lizards and frogs and bluebirds before it began to freeze at night.  The hummingbirds have taken to following us around on walks, bossing (or trying to) the Dog and Partner around in no uncertain terms.

A lot has happened, and nothing has happened.  As usual I suppose, but seriously, Gentle Reader, this has been a time in which the austere face of how things are in fact has shown itself in an irrevocable kind of way.  An adjunct to that is the realization that my lifelong effort to see the good in people may have….er….blinded me to certain prevailing truths.  Which gave a whole new cast to this life thing to be thrashed around (with AND by). So the masks have fallen, the gloves are off, and it’s more than a bit scary.  Then of course, there’s the “news” and the “world” and well.  Some days it is simply too much.  As usual I retreat to my Dharma (the kitchen!), my Sangha (D and P!), and of course the Buddha (to whom I address important questions like how much sugar do I really need to put in this glaze?).  A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words, which I do not have today.  So, above, we’ll say is the oft-consulted Buddha.  Below, and you can decide which is which, are the Dharma and the Sangha.fantinlatour

cuteoverload

BLESSINGS AND THANKS.  May we all weather the changing seasons and greet the flowers in spring with joy and heart!

strange trips

Or, perhaps, Bummer Du Jour.  There was an unscheduled landing on the island State of Disturbed Mind recently and hacking through the underbrush seems to have taken what attention I had left over post various and sundry head explosions.  More on that later.

In any event, before the Unscheduled Landing, I’d been pondering something.  Ever since we came here I’ve had the Rash from Hell.  This summer it perched attractively on my face, and being actually able to GO TO A DERMATOLOGIST, I did. ( More another time on how depressed dermatologists appear to be- then again, looking at rashes all day would be enough to lower one’s spirits.)  They diagnosed me with rosacea, which is in fact a catch all term for: We have no idea, it’s a rash, on your face.  I did as told, and as one might expect, nothing really got healed.  So, one day the lightbulb went off, and I said, dude! why not try your OWN rosacea remedy? I made this up several years ago for a client, and it has been successful more often than not.  Duly making a batch up for myself, I applied it as directed (!!) and…guess what? It worked.  Like a charm.  Let’s just say it was a teachable moment.  This year particularly I’ve been trying the things I make for other people.  The usual way this comes about is someone contacts me, says what their current project is, and I tootle around and make something.  Often of course I hear nothing, but just as often I hear that people are thrilled, their problem has healed (like ganglion, rosacea, migraine, shingles, different pains and sores…well, you get the picture) and all is well.  Generally speaking I make these things, keep the recipes for future use, and think no more of it.  This year, though, things have been so rocky I’ve ACTUALLY TRIED MY OWN STUFF.  The cream for residual pain from injuries and chiro adjustments? Works.  My bone spur cream? Works. The across the board pain cream? WORKS.

I don’t think of these things as something *I* make- I am simply a conduit, a vehicle, for a higher level of awareness to be brought to bear, so it followed that I didn’t give “specialness” to, for, or about any of it- in the same way my several matched sets of emotional baggage used to block my mental entrances and exits so that I didn’t think about going someplace far, far away.

Well, haha Gentle Reader.  It turns out that far far away place is ME.  Who’da thunk? It’s been interesting walking around feeling as though I am coming to some totally different state of animation and understanding- no “self”, but SELF which is of course part of everything. It’s liberating, and challenging since of course at the same time several things have occurred pushing all the remaining recessed buttons on my panic panel.  The recently discovered “me” knows that things work out; the panic panel operant is sure that we really ARE going to die now.  In short, the human condition with some additional overhang, stakes and live tigers.

Meanwhile, in my efforts to escape the Island State of Difficult Mind, it became ever more clear that the old tools were not working.  I can’t, for example just go out and get a job like I did when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Society, we’ll use that word, is in a state of collapse and if you don’t think so, just try getting something accomplished out there.  The recent “mass shooting” in Tehama County, California, took place about 40 minutes south of us.  The media has presented “the shooter” as a mad, bad, demented and deranged man, “not law enforcement friendly”.  The dwellers at that particular threshold say they reported this guy numerous times and law enforcement did nothing.  HE said his neighbors were cooking meth, made his dog sick, and wouldn’t stop.  Admittedly he did go way over the edge but one can, if one lives here, see how it could happen to almost anyone. Net net? The whole thing is this place in a nutshell.  Half the people here are just like that shooter.  There is no law enforcement unless the Sheriff decides to do something- as in you can call them, but good luck with that project. Honestly? I don’t know how it happened that the guy (Mr. 98 years in jail) across the road from us actually got arrested but I suspect after a certain number of bodies, something Has to Be Done. So there you are, bravely going forth in a place where the citizenry is unravelling before your eyes, and there is no redress for any misfeasance.  Every law and regulation that gets passed puts us more at the mercy of whatever moneyed interest pushed it through.  We, for example, get to pay twelve extra cents a gallon tax on gas now for some in fact unclear reason, which no doubt involves money passing from one hand to the other for some “project” far in the future.  The “new” and “emergency” regulations on “legal marijuana” are like something you’d make up as a pastiche.  Municipalities get to decide if you can grow plants, and where and if you can sell them, but nonetheless! If you want to do that, in some sort of cloud of unknowing, you have to have insurance coverage of $2 million, a $5000 bond, an annual license that ranges in cost depending on Idon’tknowwhat from $1250 to $78,000, AND a sort of know-me fee to cover processing your “application”.  The rules for “medicinal” and “adult-use” products are now under the same rubric- which I take to mean that medical users get to pay the same (sorry!) usurious tax rates as profligate hell bent adult users.  This was supposedly cobbled together including “robust” public input.  And of course it doesn’t stop there.  Mr. Unmentionable LPV continues going beyond the beyond, and besides displaying a disturbing grasp of geography,  one really important thing that got his recent attention seems to have been, whoa! too many elephants! lift the ban on bringing elephant trophies back from your brave African hunts! Total tip of the iceberg of course but it is precisely this complete wrecking of any kind of social fabric, conscience, and responsibility that makes life incredibly difficult in these times.  Making a plan for the future is only possible, it seems, if you’re rolling in money.  And maybe not even then, but at least you have some choice, which is not available in the more tenuously funded realms.

All of which is to say this is quite the endeavor.  I ask that I be given the grace and means to do my work, but it is entirely unclear how that may happen.  It’s only clear that it can, and does almost independently of anything else.  And now, I must bid you adieu since the Dog needs something for itchy winter skin.  Watch this space! It will probably work on humans, too.  Blessings and thanks, as always.

dance

where the wild things are

And, that would be HERE, Gentle Reader.

Lately it’s been so wild, in fact, that my sense of humor pretended it had been buried somewhere in the back yard.  GAH, it said.  This is no fun at all.  I shall hide under the bed of mint until things improve.  No amount of cajolery swayed it even one bit.  So I had to consider things without benefit of jokes or drollery of any sort.

Once I decided to stop thinking It Was Gone Forever, and moved on to not panicking about small things like where the hell are the car keys, and could all the metal pieces in everything just stop breaking, clarity returned, if not a steady stream of witticisms.  Turns out it was just another opportunity for growth!  It’s kind of like the time many years ago when I realized that my ability to know what people were thinking was something I used to protect myself, and thus had to drop until I was able to function on my own without that crutch.  The sense of humor, while a good thing overall, became another such tool.  Once a blackbelt co-dependent, I guess.

So here I am, unable to think things are funny for the past few weeks- largely because of course they really aren’t, and it was a weird experience to finally just get close to all those things without any armor (you know, fires, floods, murders, idiocy, that sort of thing?).  The ultimate revelation from this was of course that one doesn’t NEED armor after all.  The whole idea of separation from other things is an illusion and I guess we find that out however we can.  I realized that in fact with a moment’s attention you can really FEEL what someone else is feeling, and instead of shielding from that awareness or using it as some sort of protection,  say to yourself, Self? You know we’re all One.  Let’s open up and send some good vibes out just for ducks.  It’s harder to do this of course when one is righteously indignant (like having new neighbors across the road in the house where the ACTUAL MURDERER used to live, who pull up blaring their car stereos in exactly the same way he did at all kinds of absurd times like, say, 2 am…).  It’s also harder to do when you’re circling the anxiety drain over how is this going to get fixed or whatever.  But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.  The other part of it shows Confucius wasn’t wrong about everything, since he said comparisons are odious.  No more comparing on the rigged scale we’ve all become accustomed to, either.  Things are as they are.  And they reveal their information over time.  Which ultimately provides guidance and a crumb trail to follow.

While I’m waiting for the sense of humor to crawl out from the mint patch, then, the crumb trail has led to some interesting culinary moments.  I made butternut squash enchiladas at long last, even straining the sauce like you’re supposed to and making the tortillas big enough to roll, and they were great.  It also turns out that you can indeed use  yellow lemon squash in place of zucchini in zucchini bread, and it’s almost better.  It’s also led to some amazingly spot on prognostications for people.  When I breathlessly tell the Partner that, guess what? remember when I told so and so such and such? He just shakes his head, like, silly bear.  Only YOU don’t know you’re generally right.   The trick now is believing in our own happy ending in this amazing new paradigm, where things seem to be irreparably blowing apart and mending themselves into something stronger, all at once.  The Dog, as usual, stays focused on the important things and is his usual invaluable counselling self, even when his usual question is: what’s to eat?  His quiet padding up to me in the kitchen area always reminds me that slow and steady, stick to basics, look everyone right in the eye, laugh…is a good way to go about things.  He may even find my sense of humor for me.

Blessings and thanks!

things and how they seem

When the Partner is in his Zone of Pontification, he says things are not as they seem.  However, we are both starting to realize that in fact many things are exactly as they seem, just not as they are described in today’s ever meaning-shifting language.

Two examples are the Electoral College which we mentioned previously- a relic of Civil War politics which pretty much assures gerrymandering will prevail barring some extraordinary turn of events. Turns out the Second Amendment which every Tom, Dick and Harry has posted on his driveway fence here, is also a relic of those politics, an earlier (1780?) institutionalization of slavery in the form of saying “well regulated militias” can bear arms.  I always wondered about the well regulated militia part- I mean, how does that connect with needing to shoot poisonous snakes out in the country at times? AND! IT DOESN’T! It connects, completely, with slaveowners in the South being able to pick up a gun and go after any enslaved individual uppity enough to make a run for it.  So that discord in your head? Is because this particular thing IS what it seems to be- a rule ensuring that somebody will always be able to shoot you if you go against their wishes.  And this, Gentle Reader, is in the Constitution.   While this may be an oversimplification, it is not an untruth.

Juggling that bunch of indigestible information with recent events has been challenging.

Then, as usual, events conspired to show a bigger picture.  The medical care to which we have access is not wonderful.  Don’t misunderstand me, I am grateful to have any access especially given the vigor with which certain “legislators” are going after getting rid of it entirely.  But it means the care we get is spotty and not very personal.  SO ANYWAY.  I have had certain health issues which were largely precipitated by the Hospital Hell of 2015.  I went to get this evaluated recently, and this evaluation, in which I told the person seeing me exactly what I wanted because that’s how they do it…there is no look at my situation and ensuing diagnosis…culminated in an email telling me I had something quite serious wrong with me.  This happens to be the something that killed my father (even though I only learned about it by having his obituary sent to me in a Christmas card).  There I was all of a sudden in a hall of mirrors with a flashing neon light saying IS IT TIME TO FREAK OUT YET.   Which, upon reflection, I realized is pretty much the norm now.  You get told that something is the way it seems…to someone else….and that’s the end of it.  It is then your option as to whether or not to stew about it or enjoin the battle for further information.

I admit I was rather surprised at the unease this whole thing generated.  However, nils desperendum.  Insisting on seeing the actual test results, I was able to see that in fact, this issue is “stable”, doesn’t require MORE medication, and is something that I can do something about with the  tool box I have.  My own diagnosis, in other words, was correct.  I gulped down that food for thought.

This really made me think about everything from economics to the fate of fresh air.  And what I continue to see is that we are all being encouraged to disenfranchise ourselves from everything.  To accept top down word which seems designed to foment separation and fear more than anything.  To not, crucially, think for ourselves.  We’re encouraged to accept “solutions” from a prior paradigm which didn’t really work then and is entirely unsuitable today.  As long as we are fretting about the fact that things aren’t working for us we aren’t taking a breath, asking questions and trying something different.  Not that this is easy but no matter where you find yourself, it can be done.  It’s important to just stop beating your head against that wall for a minute. ( Finances especially seem non-responsive to head banging, for example.)

One thing that absolutely (to my mind anyway) has to happen now? We all must stop accepting and consuming crazyoverthetopcrazypants as sane instruction or information, wherever it may pop up.  The Emperor really IS naked for the entire parade snaking over our planet, and actually this is a great opportunity to design a new suit and parade route.  Of course this means giving up one’s own attachment to a Certain Sort of Button and folding chair (from which to watch the proceedings)  but inspiration does give a person wings.  Those wings usually are much, much better than any Button or seat you were ever given by other routes.  And after all buttons, and chairs, are utilitarian items that can also be beautiful, so there’s another stellar opportunity to CREATE.  Out of what may seem in the moment to be thin air, but…..what the heck.  Why not???  Blessings and thanks as always!

 

spinning

Now that we’re living in incontrovertibly interesting times? There are pluses and minuses.  On the plus side, coming to understand that when my laptop bounces and erases and sends things will nilly and freezes it’s because there isn’t enough bandwidth for everybody to use.  The minus: laptop going bonkers.  However it also means that getting a new one isn’t going to solve this issue, so that’s a plus in its way.

Random political thoughts on that plus/minus continuum, which while disturbing were eventually somewhat equilibrating:

LPV, dotard etc., didn’t send aid to Puerto Rico in a timely way because? a) he doesn’t know where it is and b) doesn’t know it’s effectively part of the U.S. and thus his job to attend to and c) so much more fun to harp on ridiculous and backward thinking about accepting symbol as absolute reality (we speak here of a piece of fabric and a piece of music), in an effort to get it accepted as obligatory routine, or else.  (I’ll just say that when I was in high school? I sat for the pledge of allegiance, a cousin having been blown to smithereens in Viet Nam being the final straw, and as a result spent my senior year alone in the library.   Progress, or what?)

The real reason the Affordable Care Act is in the gunsights of certain “legislators”, even though they know their constituents do not support their positions? They’ve probably been left out of the money loop now that the bill is in effect- given that it was actually written by the insurance companies.  We all know THAT can’t happen.

Otherwise this most recent time period seems to have a lot to do with dealing with fear.  That hot, claustrophobic thing where you’re just sure it’s all over, all is lost, OMG.  Of course we learn as we go along that it’s the fear itself we’re afraid of- the disasters and upheavals on the material plan get dealt with sooner or later but the fear remains, twisting and turning.   So unpleasant, one does not want to experience it ever but of course that line of thought just brings it on, even more.

Going back to reading Pema Chodron has been helpful.  Any time you can do the taking in and sending out breathwork she writes about (tonglen), it really does make a difference.  Whatever you’re feeling or experiencing, someone somewhere else is too.  Breathing into that gives remarkable clarity, which then most often allows a person to get up and go ahead and do what is before them, and also clears the energetic air in a broad way.  In thinking about this I’ve decided that part of what happens is that you do establish a vibrational connection with the object or subject of your thought, and if your intentions are from love, that connection will be positive.  If your intentions are rooted in hot suffocating powerlessness, that’s the connection that occurs.  This is an incredibly powerful piece of information and the only question is why it took so g@@#!!!mn long to understand it.  Especially since that is the basis of  work I do with clients. *sigh*

On a functional level another thing this type of directed awareness does is let you look at things you’re doing in your own situation that are about a paradigm you’ve stayed in that isn’t appropriate.  Scary stuff.  But! I  stopped something  today that I’d done for several years, thinking that it was productive.  Reflecting on it I saw two things: One, this was part of a paradigm that I actually don’t subscribe to when you get right down to it.  Thing the second was that it allowed me to not be entirely truthful about the situation itself, what I was doing and why even after everything,  I and the Desired Result are still very far apart.  Going further I saw that it was rooted in a childhood belief system that was, let’s just say, not in my best interest.

Well then.  While it is perhaps difficult and strange to really observe things and then act based on what you SEE and not what you THINK, it feels pretty good once you do it.   Interesting times and all.  Now to establish a connection that somehow gets Truth in front of Power in a way that sticks.  Blessings and thanks!!!!

well…….

Who knew that screaming would be totally out of the question so soon after I mentioned it here?  We became engulfed, enrobed we can say even, in smoke about three weeks ago.  Thus turning my life into one long Inhaler episode, removing any ability really to speak, or go outside. Or sleep, or breathe, or any number of things.   A bit of a fugue state, it has nonetheless allowed me to catch up on The New Yorker.

During which of course enough disasters have occurred to make a person wonder if it might not really be some kind of…something.  But what? Apocalypse? End of the beginning? Beginning of the end? We can see the fine hand of the forked tongue in the non-pictorial non-coverage of what’s gone on, at least on network TV.  The same pictures were shown over and over both for Harvey and Irma, but none that really showed what was happening and to what extent.  Nothing at all of the first earthquake in Mexico or hurricane information, either. The recent event in Mexico City is so big I guess it cannot be ignored but even so unless one watches Telemundo there isn’t much real information.  Likewise no film has been shown here, really, of all the fires that caused the above enrobement…because? Initially there WAS one news clip but OMG.  What was that in the picture there kids? It was a lot of marijuana plants, in an undoubtedly (due to size) illegal grow.  No aerial footage whatsoever after that, and barely even a mention of what was making the air yellow and solid either.  Ignorance is not necessarily bliss.

However, as usual, the kitchen has offered some solace from all this.  I finally may have gotten sauerkraut to work.cabbage1

And also, the butternut and other squash went insane to our amazement, and we’ve now got close to 30 butternuts stacked up for winter.  So that’s a good thing. Also a very good thing in that butternuts are something the Dog can not only eat, but goes cross eyed with bliss when he sees some in his bowl.  I also made a pickle from some of our never ending lemon squash so we’ll see how that comes out- curry flavor, and some prudently saved brine from prior pickles worked just fine.  It’s the Partner’s un-birthday tomorrow, so chocolate gelato seemed in order.  Fish tacos and homemade tortillas.  No singing but what can you do?  In other exciting news, we were reunited this week with the wonders of having a rear view mirror.  Readers may recall the funfest involved in obtaining Rear View Mirror Adhesive.  However, there was more.  This stuff could only be used between temperatures of 55 and 72 degrees F.  The people around here I told that to got hiccups from laughing.  So, they said, when hell freezes over, or February? Turns out it was 70! the other morning for about two hours so the Partner sprang into fixative action and I must say, it’s quite nice having that thing back.

This not being able to breathe business has, however,  made me feel even more grateful for all the good things in my life, and the ever present Bigger Picture of all of us on this planet.  Assuming, as I do, that improved functioning will resume sooner or later for both my lungs and the world in general, it’s given me an opportunity, lying flat and all,  to think about everything in our days with appreciation, instead of what was starting to loom which was more like $$%%!!!.  Still haven’t vacuumed but one task at a time, right?  I continue with redoubled effort to pray for some kind of sanity to envelop Washington DC at the same time as I think just how wonderful it is to have a garden and Nature to talk to, work with and in.  And a dog.  And a Partner who’s having an un-birthday.  Blessings and thanks!