Posts Tagged ‘Report from the Front’

Carry On

Well.  Lots has happened.  Nothing has happened.  As per usual, really.  It’s been pouring rain and hailing off and on for a few days.  The rabbits and birds and squirrels pop out onto our driveway in between storms to drink water and eat.  I saw another brand new horse: What an amazing thing that is.  There were also lambs and goats and small donkeys.  The dried grasses look almost flourescent under these gray skies.  The rice fields along 5 shimmer right now, with the brilliant green tips of the plants coming up above the deep blue water with the distant mountains and clouds reflected and floating on top.

Meanwhile, the philosophical slalom course continues.  A very dear and long time friend, who does not live “in-country” any more, was visiting in the bay area.  Last year I missed seeing her because of the PLANT FIASCO, and this year I was determined to get down there come hell or high water.  Both of which arrived, but there it is.  It was as though no time or distance had been between us at all, really.  I realized that she’s always looked out for me and this time, in spite of everything, she was approving of the new and improved state of grounded being I was able to pull off.  Nothing caught on fire, no trips and falls, that sort of thing.  The astonishing thing was having actual conversations, to get right down to it.  Conversations with no maneuvering, posturing, rampant all-about-mee-ness.  It was like floating free in a wonderful sea of ideas and it made me ravenous for more.  Books! Ideas! Simple civility.  Meeting of minds and all that.  I mean, the Partner and I talk endlessly of course, about everything, all the time.  It’s pretty much all there is to do besides work.  But an in depth discussion of yeasted bread making, and knitting, and Monsanto with a dear woman friend is a fantastic treat.  Afterward, I visited another dear friend and altogether those two days were restorative and left me feeling….almost……human.

BUT THEN OF COURSE I GOT HOME.  Which I was ecstatic about, seriously.  Except that the situation around here makes limbo look like concrete stability.  One of the more special things that’s happened is this.  Our across the road a piece neighbors? Have a double wide which they rent (it is, indeed,  fixed up wonderfully- it has a stellar bathtub and a delightful water fountain in the back- ).  In keeping with the apparent Country Tradition of Never Ever Telling Anything Close to the Truth Just In Case, they’d told us they’d decided NOT to rent it to the young woman who was being stalked.  Good, we thought. There’s more than enough shooting to go around up here.  We’ll rent it to a retired person, they said.  Someone stable.  Which turned out to be?  Three very large young men.  Perfectly nice guys, I’m sure!  And even though the Lady of the Manor told us  she “could get a feeling about a person” it appeared to us that she’d missed the entire barn on this one.  Some things are, after all, consistent from place to place and it isn’t so much a feeling you get about someone as an accretion of clear signals and actual obvious information amounting to MAYBE NOT THIS ONE.  After consulting the quantum field, we’ve decided not to worry about it (after all there are more serious things afoot, like the electric water pump next door that’s about to die) but nonetheless.    Just like homey!  Don’t you know me?

Anyway, these guys? Have two very cute indeed puppies.  One’s a Heeler, and one is a Jack Russell sort.  The other day we were going plant hunting and at the bottom of the driveway saw the two puppies and Mr. Handsome sitting expectantly, like, we’ve been waiting for you FOREVER.  Come ON.  Let’s go for a walk.  And they all fully intended to follow us, too.  Instead the dogs settled for a lengthy stummy rub session, Mr. Handsome enjoyed a bit of Intelligent Conversation.  As we walked off the Jack Russell sort was chasing her tail happily.  All was, for the moment, well.

Rooster Wars

There is a progression here, oft times, Gentle Reader, of bad to worse.  Still, seen in certain lights it is amusing.  I’m not sure what those lights are but the search is on.

We figured out or I should say the Partner figured out, on a positive note, that our little bear friend has moved on west, toward the coast, to safer and higher ground.  I was relieved given the number of people with guns and active trigger fingers around here.  But, hibernating in a very clever spot indeed, our friend woke up, made a couple of forays, and decided the smart thing was to head west toward higher mountains and rivers.  In fact, the footprints were headed west, as if to say, I am So Out Of Here.  So, no more bear.  But the pigs seem to have decided to stay in this area for the season and there have been some interesting vehicular encounters I hear tell.  The neighbor who rides around on a quad with a rifle was somewhat perked up by the news of the porcine posse, because of course they’re good to eat.  I found myself thinking about making ham.  Buoyed along guiltily on that thought, and having another batch of sourdough bread come out very well (recipe in TARTINE BREAD, starter made from Nancy Silverton’s recipe back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) even though needing a bit of tweaking on the bench rest, AND realizing I could go no further on the flying anvil of doing my taxes until Monday when I can spend another unfathomable length of time on the phone waiting for an IRS person to answer some questions, I felt pretty bucked up last night, which was also Friday night.  Hoo Haw.

And so it was, Gentle Reader, that my unreasonable fantasy of a livable life was brought to a crashing and cacophonous halt at, oh, 3:45 a.m. today.

When we got here, there was one rooster and about eight hens.  Manageable.  Until it turned into forty plus chickens of whom ten are roosters.  All of whom are, as a woman remarked pityingly to me in the post office as she was picking up a box of chicks (because SHE keeps her roosters separate thank you very much),”free range”.  In this case it means they go wherever they want all the time so there is chicken shit thickly spread over perhaps a good mile of area.  Among other things.  It also means there are intense fights every day, hens vs. hens, roosters vs. roosters, hens vs. roosters.  There are sounds like Chinese opera whenever one of the many hawks does a flyover, as well as when the dog (who kills the chickens weekly, by the way) comes out.  And, most specially, there are TEN ROOSTERS CROWING EVERY MORNING starting at about , yes, 3:45 a.m.  The poor things haven’t mastered the proper crowing technique even so it is a rather indescribable set of vocalizations but, to be clear, it is ear splittingly loud.  You can hear these chickens all the way at the top of the hill coming down toward Happy Acres.  Interestingly everybody around here has chickens, and lots of ’em.  But you never hear them.  Also, it is pitch dark at 3:45 am.  Pitch dark. There is no sign of sun or light, period.   I’ve lived in the country before, and lots of people had chickens in the city where we previously lived .  The Partner grew up with chickens in the back yard.  This is just to say that we are not Chicken Ignorami, in short.  I expect vocalizing as the sun comes up, and usually it’s really nice to hear.  Plus then you know what time it is.  Roosters crow at dawn.  Maybe a half dozen times, then that’s it.  But not these babies, ohhhh no.  They start crowing and yowling at 3a.m.-ish and continue en masse, competing as it were to be the loudest, until past 8 a.m.   You would be right in thinking: whoa! that must wake you up!   it might even make you crazy! Indeed it does. And it has been mentioned to the proper authorities.  However, this morning, what with all the cosmic vibrations colliding all over the place and the world blowing up and whatnot, the whole thing got completely out of control.  I now have to go buy a new shovel for the landlord to replace the one that got..er..broken…in the attempt to quiet the roosters.  No roosters were harmed in this episode I should point out, although even I was ready to strangle them all.  At this point, I’d have to say the score is Roosters 1, Us 0.  I shudder to think what tonight may bring as the response we got by 6 a.m. was not…terribly responsive.

It’s a puzzle, really, how things get so ballsed up, even if it is not surprising.  But here is one more place to make peace. I hope.

we found it

At the very last minute, almost 11:59:59, we have found a place to relocate Rancho Boozilla.  In the country.  We’re building a yurt in April.  Pictures to follow.   Phew, sort of.

The Big PTOOEY!

The Bay Area is spitting us out, Gentle Readers.  

PART THE FIRST

I was born here, actually.  I’m a native.  Thus, subject to…well anyway.  I’ve lived many places, but back here for the past several years.  During that time I think I’ve had actually more than my fair share of actual Problems and Disasters, so really the following tale is, while taxing, not all bad.  This place is beautiful.  But it has extremely weird energy.  Chi wild, the acupuncturists call it.

PART THE SECOND

Disasters, natural and unnatural.   This current one really is in the Unnatural category.   Because it has been caused by someone having money as their total motivation.  To wit, my landlord.  Who has given us Notice.  I guess the lure of making $250,000 off the top of their taxes when they sell this– spot– was just too much to resist.  Having lived a parasitic life all this time and done as they wished, now they want to cash out and of course, get all of it.   So they are moving into this place, which includes The Driveway From Hell, Mr. I Have a Hammer, and Mr. I Never Put Water In My Tile Saw, along with the entire cast of I’ll Just Be Here A Few Minutes.  That, of course, is their right.  It is a very large step down for them.  Naturally I wish them the best.  However.  I happen to think that when you have people paying you for shelter, i.e. their “homes”, you have some responsibility not to be an asshat to them just for your own perceived benefit.  Of course I realize how outre this concept is.  So, net net, we are resonating Rancho Boozilla outta here.  Excitingly? We know not where.  Just that it is to be Soon. As in very.  So, it’s interesting.  So far there are 45 boxes of books, and some half dozen more of…well.   I found I have alot of rocks and small dieties.  More to come!

15 Minutes of Blog

Or, The Universe is Expanding and So Am I.

We made it, gentle reader, yes we did.  Another year.  Once I got my math squared away and realized it really WAS the end of a decade (the 09 threw me off, see?  I was expecting 10 as the end of a…oh well. *sigh*) we all perked up around here quite a bit.  We hope the girls are through laying eggs til the next season comes around, for example.  We’ve had a dozen in the past five weeks, which is stressful for ANY girl.  

We did get things moving in the past ten years, though, more than previous ten year increments.  More action, less drama.  (I mean, there was drama, don’t get the wrong idea.  But not the life stopping kind.) (Maybe it’s just getting older.  And the expansion.  A bigger picture all the way around, so to speak.  You realize you’ve Seen This Before! Hey! The Same Rodeo! Head for the clown!)  All in all, progress was made even though it appeared at times to take the last available drop of blood.

So here we are at the first Monday of a new year, which in itself is not perhaps the most delectable thought.  The sun is out, there is blue sky, the hummingbirds are kicking up a ruckus about getting their feeder filled, and there are places to go, paws to hold, deep breathing to do.  But if the universe is expanding, and it is, and time is changing- or the way we see it is changing- and it is, it leaves us, I think, in the position of having our eyes wide open with wonder.  Sometimes it seems as though everything is so completely and irretrievably screwed up, there is no hope.  Of course that is ridiculous, the vision of the small “s” self.   The ego.  Which goes outside for a walk, gets scared or tricked out in some way, comes home, slams the door shut, and gets in a tizzy.  As opposed to the big “S” Self, which is this expanding bunch of energy we’re part of.  And is us, everyone else, everything else, the walk, the tizzy, all of it.  Clearly Earth and its Inhabitants need a paradigm shift.  It seems to me at times to be quite possible that it is in fact occurring RIGHT NOW.  So what I learned over the holidays? is this:  Those things we hold in our minds as opposites, irreconcilable problems- they are invitations to expand our thinking so that we and our little s’s are not at the center of it all.  Then answers gradually appear, and often they are answers we have longed to receive because they bring resolution and peace.  

Ta ta for now.

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest………..

The Original Concept

Was what? when I started writing this blog.  Nothing much, really.  I like writing.  It makes me feel slightly less crazy to get things out so I can look at them.  Blogging is perfect also, because, quite often, even I can’t read my own handwriting.  (And after three attempts, apparently can’t spell it either with any ease).  

Meanwhile,  it is Monday again.  The Partner has MSNBC on, the ever irritating Jim Cramer and his shirt sleeves.  All these things they talk about, they’re quite lame, to paraphrase Bob.  But, a question.  Why does a billionaire steal money?   If the answer is simply because he can?  It’s worse than we thought out here in the cold.  A trip to the local  open 24 hours Walgreen’s yesterday yielded the information that people are sleeping at night on the benches outside it now, including one man in a wheelchair and his wife (they take turns, apparently, keeping watch over each other, one awake and one asleep).  It’s too deep for tears, just about.  And perilously close in every way.

So, yesterday I pushed the Titanic off my chest by cooking.  Waffles! Make extra and freeze so there’s something to eat even when you’re too anxious to figure it out in the morning.  Enchiladas filled with squash and black beans with a sauce made from tomatoes from our garden.  Not only thrifty but nutritious.   The sauce is really easy, too.  I roasted some tomatoes and an onion first, then put them in the food processor  (or just chop up) with more fresh tomatoes and chilis.  Whoosh around, then put in lightly oiled pan and sear.  Done.  The roasted onion makes a big difference, actually, in the sauce.  Much better than raw.  Garlic minced and sprinkled over filling before final assembly.  Also this time I discovered that cubing cheese, if you use it, and putting it in the filling mixture and letting it all rest and come together flavor-wise is better than putting it on top.  I liked it better, anyway, and the Partner pronounced it “authentic tasting.” And he would know.  He is, himself, VERY authentic.

Meanwhile, the Titanic is back in position and I am trying to create some order out of the mayhem-ish winds blowing our way.  We’ll see how I do.  I did see yesterday, for sure, that basic kindness goes a long way and helps alot, however.  So I’m going to try and remember that in my travels today.

No Solicitors

Well, Gentle Readers, today’s trip over the top and across the edge is about…um…capitalism? I guess.  I have a small business, as we may know.  A small website.  I make botanical topical treatments for a variety of issues and do hands on healing work with people, OK? Pretty simple, just an effort to do some good in the world doing something I know and love.   I’m reasonably well educated, well read, and other things.  Also? APPARENTLY EVERYONE LOVES MY PHOTOGRAPHS.  Judging from the number of downloads from my website.  Free, we might add.  People? My products are not expensive.  If you’re going to rip off my pictures, at least buy something.  And, if you’re ripping off my recipes?  Good luck duplicating them, not to mention don’t lose any sleep over violating the presumed copyright.

The real point of all this is, however, the following.  In the past let’s say three months? I am starting to feel like a fish being pursued by a shark.  Solicitations up the freaking YANG.  The amount of sales pitches and money people want out of me is simply breathtaking.  Coaching certifications for a mere $8k.  Marketing enhancements for $500 down and $150 and up per month.  Advertise here, advertise there.  Pay a paltry $3k and we’ll publish your piece in a book.   Why, little lady? We’ll even HELP you do a You Tube piece.  Which, last time I looked? Had to be something that, well, a caveman could do.  But the thing of it is, all these things take up time.  Time to look at, think about, make a judgment on.  And what it is coming to seem like to me is this.  Marketing and sales are totally out of control.  Somebody with programming knowledge sits at their keyboard and thinks, hell, real estate tanked and I can program.  Where’s another industry I can put my finger in the ring through the nose of people’s dreams and make a bunch of money?  Call someone and say, hey, you could get a book deal this way! We guarantee “x” number of hits to your website every month.  Blah, blah, blah.  Meanwhile? This little piggy is having a tough time out there making money, doing the simple things I do that have meaning not just to me but, I like to think, in a broader sense, are trying to create balance and harmony in my little spot in this world.  And the thought of success? is of course quite heady.  One can get a bit excited and carried away.  Perhaps even part with substantial sums of money.  Or not.  But certainly it takes up one’s time, and in a boorish way.  A Spanish philosopher once said that a boor is someone who deprives you of your solitude without providing you with any company.  I’m starting to feel that way, actually.   Boored unto to death.  And this doesn’t even count all the outright crooked stuff I get.  Do I ship to Malta? Do I want to miss this incredibly important conference in Beijing about candles? Sign up to be our XYZ, time’s running out! Don’t miss this INCREDIBLE opportunity.  That part, incredible, is at least honest.  

So, yes, apparently you do have to have a website if you have a business.  But when you have that? What do you have? Open season, in a way.  So, today, I did this.  I got yet another solicitation at just the wrong time.  So I responded and said, hey! let’s do a trade.  You advertise on my site, I’ll advertise on yours.  Right.  There is a kind of astonishing, to me anyway, presumption operating here that everything has to be shilled and pimped out to be worth anything.  Any sales offering has to be couched in the language of banality and haveyoueverwantedto, I know the secret of, and instant results with preferably no work involved.   What we need is a serious paradigm shift here.  It’s discouraging for us Bears, I’m just saying.

Since I’m Here, Anyway

Certain things have happened of late here at Rancho Boozilla, which have caused a Planning Reorganization.  The Girls seem fine with it, but why not?  As long as the seeds, kibble, peanuts, cheerios and fruit keep coming, it’s all good.  And screechy.

Meanwhile, *I* have had to wrestle with some Big Concepts.  Such as, what if everything they told you WAS wrong?  What if getting spit out of The System, painful as it is, is really OK since one doesn’t respect it anyway?  As girls, my generation anyway was taught that obedience and being good, those were what you did.  Obey.  Be quiet.  This may be a horrible shock, Gentle Readers, but I am not obedient.  I am polite, reasonable, think things through.  But obey, just because, I do not.  NOT EVEN.  So it’s been a tough row to hoe, so to speak.   And now, now here we are in this….words fail me…society, where money is the yardstick of what is good and what is not.  If you have money, you’re good.  If you don’t, you’re bad.  I suppose the badness extends also to being sick and many other things over which, basically, you may have no control.  Like what color your skin is or if your family owns a big part of Eli Lilly or the Gap, or lives on the Rez or the Ninth Ward,  or whatever it might be.  So we’re back to the Middle Ages and that whole absurd concept of Merit which apparently has been translated to the 21st century, completely intact.  But it can make you a bit nuts if, let’s say, you grew up being told that being “good” and “working hard” were going to be a workable life strategy and allow you to get somewhere (where? we weren’t allowed to ask.  I wonder why).  And it just doesn’t.  Being RICH gets you somewhere.  And having that be your goal and measurement for success is like saying if you aren’t a star basketball player you are a total failure as a human being.  There’s only so much room at the top when you have a vertical system.  Also? A long way to the bottom, where coincidentally, since it is then set on a horizontal plane, at long last, there is a great deal more room.

I’m just flummoxed.  I see people running around, shopping and tra la la-ing like nothing is happening.  But the unemployment rate in California that they acknowledge is over twelve percent.  And that’s not counting the people who lost jobs two years ago and are still looking.  In Detroit? It’s 28%.   In Fresno? It’s 40%.  That adds up to an awful lot of coffee in Brazil.  That adds up to a lot of people with no work, no money, thus no food or housing ultimately.  No unemployment.  No allowance for restructuring of debt.  No future.  Not much of a present.  Also, probably they’re just Bad People, right?  Bad people who, if they’re “lucky” are working two jobs every day just to keep a roof over their head.  Heads that are probably close to exploding, because the employers in their magnanimousness, having laid off lots of other people, have the individuals who still work for them do the work of two people for no extra pay.  But the bottom line is still pretty much the same at the top.  I always did think the Republican concept of the monetary “trickle down theory” was pretty brilliant.   You know, profits at the top eventually “trickle down” to the bottom.  They were in fact telling the truth.  It’s just the substance they discussed as trickling down wasn’t properly described.

We made an appointment with a specialist, a doctor, in desperation, the Partner and I, during last month’s trial by fire.  When I made the appointment I clearly stated we had no insurance.  Not hard, since that’s the first thing they ask you.  Not, what’s the problem? No. How will you pay.  So, OK, I told them, reiterated it when we got to the travesty   appointment.  We leave, I’m barely keeping myself from yelling, we pay.  The woman at the front desk said, gosh, that’s mighty white very generous of the doctor to only charge you $X.   I gritted my teeth.  (There was also a hangover and mild food poisoning involved so perhaps my energy was low.)  Anyway, we go, we pay and again I say is this all? we don’t have insurance, we leave.  Also, they wouldn’t take cash, which is fascinating to me.  So I used my last check.  And yesterday? We get a bill for the remainder of his fee.  Since they found they couldn’t bill a non-existent insurance company? OR WHAT?  If we hadn’t been out of matches I would have set that effing bill on fire.  

Also, I saw that one of my favorite writers, Sherman Alexie, is speaking here tonight.  Wow, I thought, yesyesyes, let’s go.  Then, I saw how much it cost to get in.  $25-30 for two people.  No mention of the admission costs going to charity or anything.  Alexie is Native American.  I just wondered how many local Skins at this point could cough up that much cash just to go hear him read.  Obviously there’s something really big I’m missing here.  Besides the cash, I mean.  In today’s life, $25 or $30 is alot of money to plunk down for something as abstract as hearing someone read a book.  Even if I had it, I’m not sure I’d spend it that way.  Even though Alexie IS one of my very most favorite writers.  Maybe it’s just the people with expendable funds who need to hear what he has to say?  The people he writes about have already heard it.

And Further….

I’m still mentally kicking the Driveway Can around.  I suppose the reason I got more than usually irritated by yesterday’s brouhaha was a very human one.  I had a hard, really really hard, time digesting the fact that this…this PUSTULE, this excrescence, was taking up air and space and resources, and my great hearted friend is dead.  I do, of course, wish that all may enjoy the root of happiness.  So there’s work to be done I guess on that Other Part of Me that wishes that many of those all Do Not Pass GO.  Ah, meditation.  Spiritual Practice.  Hurling glass bottles into the recycle bin to assuage the urge to BREAK SOMETHING. This is not easy.  Anyway.  I got to watch Hellboy last night and that helped some.

Flame Thrower, or Rotten Eggs?

Before we get our selves in a twist regarding the reference above: This is just a fantasy I have about how my driveway should be dealt with.  I am officially over the edge about the driveway.  The rotten eggs might be workable.  I’d probably feel too guilty if I actually incinerated someone.  HOWEVER MUCH THEY DESERVED IT.

I was going to write about how it thundered all night long last night, much as it did on another September night eight years ago.  Completely out of season and unusual here, but symbolically? Yes indeed.  And I was awake for the entire thing because the Partner is still not well.

Then, the phone rang and I learned that a dear  friend had died this week.  I was going to write about her incredible grace, gallantry, bravery and humanity facing a travail that most would have found too much to bear long ago.  I got to see her a few weeks ago, because the Partner’s quick eye noticed her at the grocery store.  I got to give her a big hug then, at least.

So, perhaps I will write about those things.  When I am not so angry at the stupidity surrounding me.  This anger  involves- and I bet, Gentle Reader, you will not be surprised to learn….the driveway from HELLLLLLLLLLL.  AGAIN.  

So, despite on and off rain, there’s a garage sale across the street.  Parking across the street and on our side too.  So where does an idiot wench, about whom we now write,  park? My driveway.  Not in the parking place she could have backed into BEHIND the driveway, no, smack dabby dab in the middle.  There were three small children in the back, who eventually started screaming at the top of their lungs when I.W.’s partner, after lengthy perusal of yard sale, which was all toys, learned to her dismay and surprise that they didn’t take checks for seventy five cents.  But that was later.  Having spotted the blockage of the driveway at the outset of this festive encounter, I walked out and asked her, politely, and in my Jin Shin Jyutsu t-shirt for God’s sake,  to please not block my driveway.  Her response? Was that I was a crazy bitch and she wasn’t moving. They were just going to be a while and I wasn’t going anywhere.  She wasn’t moving.  I was crazy.  And a bitch. Etc. So, I said, you can’t back up, please, and not block my driveway? More of the same.  Thank you for being so cooperative and setting such a good example for your kids, I said.  She said something unprintable.  At this point she noticed all our neighbors were now out staring at her with obvious distaste and an air of let’s get ‘er boys! call the cops!  She backed up and managed to take two parking spaces.  Several people tried to park behind her, couldn’t because there wasn’t enough room, and left.  Our other side neighbors arrived home and squeezed their small car in behind her, narrowly missing the car behind them, which belongs to my other neighbor and is quite the Hot Corvette. He saw his car about to be smashed and entered into the fray.   Small car neighbors got out of their car and asked I.W. if she could move her, still idling, car up a teeny bit.  Mr. Corvette waded in saying, if my car gets hit somebody dies.  Finally I.W.’s Portly Partner wandered back from across the street, kids screaming with no toys, got in the car, flipped me off, and at long last they left.

I confess to puzzlement.  And dismay.  And? I’m really sick of this.  I can’t get out of, I can’t get in to, my own dratted freaking driveway that I get to pay extra rent for because of the Privilege of Having a Driveway.  Not even.  So I’m thinking that while mayhem will not help anything, of course, and we all have to try , as Gandhi said,  to be the change we want to see in the world?  A stash of rotten eggs might be perfect.  Oh, you’ll just be here a little while? Perfect! WHUMP. Right on the windshield.   Really.  Because the meter maids never come in time, except for the periodic person who parks there drunk and leaves, so that the car’s still there an hour after I call the police to come because someone’s blocking my driveway.   I’m open to better ideas.