Posts Tagged ‘religion’

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!

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what’s in a title

It has been hotter than Hell here, and nobody is even thinking about disputing that, unlike when we first came and when it was 118 F every day you’d actually hear people saying, oh, this isn’t hot, I LIKE THIS.  So. Now? You see strong men in tears. People are more torched off than usual, they’re driving as though lobotomized, and all in all, it’s rough.  The vet is no longer going to carry the kind of dog treats the Dog Prefers. A problem indeed. The poor man who owns the laundromat recently lost his wife, totally unexpectedly, and another friend’s husband got thrown from a horse and it seems pretty serious.  And, it’s hot.  Thank God I saw that article about how hydrating beer really is if you’ve actually had enough water to drink.

The garden is doing OK, though, which is nothing short of amazing, and something else quite interesting happened.

I still, (in Spite of It All, the LPV,  “Congress”, Bill Cosby, the “health care” crapfest, Putin, Korea, the complete idiocy one hears no matter how hard one tries not to about everything in the world….) Participate.  I write letters to my “representatives”, make fun filled phone calls to Sheriff’s Departments, Governor’s offices, saying politely, please don’t do that ghastly thing with the firehoses you’re doing, so to speak.  I’m polite to the Sheriff when he shows up in bug eye sunglasses and remind him that there’s still no drug lab here. I remain calm while my time is constantly being wasted by How Things “Get Done”.  I also know that in some big ways none of this current malarkey is going to last, even in a tiny human conception of time,  so there’s not much point in blowing one of my precious remaining gaskets.   (I need those to figure out whether the shade cloth is keeping the tomatoes from getting pollinated, honestly.) Non-violence, like truth, takes a long time, but it really is easier in the long run and ultimately less embarrassing.  Unconditional Love doesn’t mean you always LIKE what someone’s doing but it does mean you recognize the common (one hopes) thread between you, and go from there.

So anyway, it’s been clear my Representative in the House has had me on the Ignore setting for some time.  I wrote to him once again recently about something, either climate change or the Russia Investigation, and for once there was a drop down menu for “title”.  WELL.  Gentle Reader, I went to town.  One of the selections was REVEREND.  And actually I AM a reverend, although I have misplaced my little certificate of reverendification, and I’m pretty sure no regular Church would want me preaching.  (The Temple of the Divine Dog and Flower? Maybe). So.  I selected Reverend.

For the first time ever, I got a response from this individual.  An actual e-mail letter.  And actually it freaked me out some because I realized that the only reason this happened was my use of the title.  Which in these parts people take to mean you are as Christian as the day is long and in these parts THAT means pretty much that witches are being burned, most likely behind the Pastor’s marijuana grow.  The sort of person this Representative counts on to vote for them in this very conservative area.  So it’s hard to know what to think except that I suppose this represents some positive step in the ongoing process of compromise and reaching agreement on challenging topics.  It amuses me to think that someone will connect the dots and realize I’m that same person they’ve been ignoring for so many years.  Then they’ll get the hiccups, most likely.   Still.  The information being discussed is pretty black and white, actually, and it may just be that a letter from such a person as myself has some tiny impact on the side of what actually IS.  We live in hope.

Meanwhile, on more important issues: still no pictures.  I’m working on it, let’s just say.  Blessings and thanks.

for God’s sake (possible diatribe alert)

While it is quite true, Gentle Reader, that my own little life has completely blown apart lately, it is also true that it is coming back together again, however Walter Mitty-like the repairs may be at the moment.  Fountain pens only go so far…….

But.

I just have to say: the Loser of the Popular Vote is indeed a total loser.  He is a reprehensible example of human form and in one short week? He’s managed to spew evil sauce over the world- oh, except the parts where he has investments.  This bullshit about refugees and immigrants and Muslims, taxes, health care, abortion, and that infernal wall!  Has to stop now.  If you call yourself a Christian? ASK YOURSELF WHAT JESUS WOULD DO.  Oh, and btw? You might remember who Jesus was, ethnically and geographically speaking.  And what it was HE actually  espoused.  Not a bunch of men who wrote a book hundreds of years later to reinforce their supposed right to authority over that most of evanescent of things, a human soul. You might stop and think about just exactly where your own family came from.  Because in checking the historical record?  This hemisphere was not inhabited by White people and Europeans to begin with. ( Or even Black people- they got to get here the really fun way, after all.) So, for your perusal, today’s word is immigration.  And today is when we should all step up and disentangle the concept of immigration from the concept of genocide- which has been used as an enforcement mechanism on both sides of the issue.  You may think that is an overstatement but I suggest a little cogitation on the subject. Unless you want to adopt immigration as a thing for Whites and dominant paradigm upholders only and continue to pretend that nobody is ever there before YOU arrive.  I suspect this would exclude women altogether, just as an aside.  Unless they’re approved emigre attachments.  Like the wife of the loser of the popular vote.

Every policy ” ” (and I use that word VERY loosely) he espouses is built on hate, exclusion, selfishness and fear mongering.   Stupidity sandwich.   If we do not all stand up now, right now, and make this stop? If only some of us stand and make the attempt in good faith and love? Those who do not stand up will have an awful lot of shit on their hands.  And they will deserve it.

I know violence does not work.  Anger is a dangerous knife.  But so is inattention and inaction.  This may well be the natural way of things in the unfolding of cosmic history.  But.  Given that we do not, and most likely cannot?, know that? We have an obligation as human beings to do unto others- and that means all others- as we would have them do unto us.  And yes, I know that means, literally, love thine enemy.  I can’t quite get to love at this point but I can get to deeply breathed tolerance of those who trample the light and the good under their feet.  Tolerance may build bridges, and bridges link things and progress can be made.  I’m struggling with Martin Luther King Jr’s essay, from the ’50’s, on the experiment of love in effecting change.  But I attempt to draw on the wisdom there in my daily life.  And tolerance does not mean not resisting.

Luddite that I am, I haven’t been able to do a reblog, but terriermandotcom.blogspot.com was right on today- I’m With Her.  A brilliant friend also suggested that we all observe the Islamic five daily times of prayer, wherever we are out in the world, by stopping for a moment, stepping aside if we’re in a line or something somewhere? and gently, concisely, explaining what we’re doing and why.  I’m in.  How about you?

Blessings and thanks.

Source

In a break from soccer we watched the news.  ALWAYS A MISTAKE if you want to keep your halfway decent mood intact.  And, even though things have been a bit tense at the round blue house, the Partner did offer up an interesting question, as is his custom.

We both pretty much feel that organized religion….well, is not a Helpful Force in the world.  (HE was actually disinvited from Catholic school at the critical high school juncture.  I find that surprising in a way because he can be more than a bit of a Jesuit.   Anyway, they lost their grasp on him.) (All to the good.)  Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote about “religion” being a force of authority, and not of spirit, and for the most part I think this is the case.  People use religion as a set of rules and paradigms for opinions, exertion of control- not awareness.  So when the Partner, after having expressed this opinion once again while looking at a film of the Hagia Sophia (a picture of which hangs on our refrigerator as it happens), said, Heck.  If there’s only one God, what difference does the Prophet make?  Incendiary to some no doubt, but I thought about it.  My thought is that when the Prophet assumes such importance, the focus is on authority held by the religion, not the possibility of ascension to a higher spiritual level through an actual personal practice.  Up to now this has not appeared to get us all very far, if I may say so.

There was another thing he’d seen too.  I have no idea where *I* was, but anyway there was a program about a Buddhist meditation center in Tennessee.  They are building a huge, huge space so that some incredibly large number of people can all meditate at the same time.    A monk was interviewed and said he thought this went counter to the concept of Buddhism, which of course in a way it does.  ON the other hand?  If many people were to meditate in concert, all present in the same space, some pretty astonishing things might happen.   And certainly we need some things that are astonishing in a good way to happen.  There are plenty of stories about what it’s like being in a room where one person consciously focuses on meditation and everyone else finds themselves much calmer- I’ve experienced this phenomenon myself more than once.

Then I woke up today with a rather odd thought.  Which was this:  Actually, truly, at any point in our lives, our days, whatever unit you choose, the options for actions are many.  We may feel constrained but in actual fact, if you change your thinking about things you do sooner or later change the results of your actions.  You can be at cause, as they say, and not always at effect.   This means that as long as one holds to some portion of clarity and big picture, things can be brought to safe harbor one by one.  All the potential roads before us, while they may not lead to a specific sameness of place or stereotypical “happy ending”, do all lead us where we need to go.  Perhaps this means that struggles with decision making and choices should be viewed a bit differently.  We’re not in charge but we have a level of ability to act in concert with what is, and we must do this or, essentially, perish.  Far from being a limiting pattern, such as what is installed in our heads by, say, Catholic school or a Madrassa or what somebody said when you were ten, this ability to connect with a larger flow is actually what sets us free to do what we need to be doing.   I guess this means something like aligning oneself with what moves forward, what breathes, rather than with what confines you in one place no matter where you are.  This means that no matter what your circumstance, you can in fact progress.  It’s hard, to be sure.  But progress really is not defined by what you own or how much money you have or how shiny the office building is.  It is defined by how functional you can be in your own life as it happens in all its messy grandeur.

Also? COLOMBIA WON THEIR MATCH TODAY!!!!!!!!!! Yeehaw, for sure.