Posts Tagged ‘society’

memories of underdevelopment

I don’t know, Gentle Reader, what made me think about this Cuban film today.  I reckon, however, it is because I’ve been engaged in a rather thorough going Improvement and Possible Modernization of Actual Self for a long time and I was, in fact, Looking Back on what the State of Me was before this all began.  My memory of the film is that as usual, the new and the old move along together and some parts of each get tired and fall away all in a politicized context of NEW vs OLD, or NOW vs THEN.  It occurred to me, thinking about this movie, that in the eight and a half years (!!!!!!!!!!!) we’ve been here, I maintained my historical approach of DO and BE also, because you can’t BE accepted or included or whatever unless you DO.  If that makes sense. Let’s just say it’s totally exhausting and in fact, impossible. Kind of like having a democracy in a fascist state.  In fact, what I think about that approach now is that it rather exactly mimics the process of capitalist colonialization, except you are doing the invading, genocide, institution creating and reality fixing yourself.   You believe the invaders (I’m picturing my high school “guidance counselor” here for one) when they tell you it’s their way or else and after all they DO have the weapons, as in, you must compete in the world, you must look outside yourself for every reward- all in a vacuum with no critical thinking of course- and, after all you are probably not Leadership and Success Material anyway because of things that are out of your control, like whether you have two parents at home, what color and sex you are, and stuff like that.   So one is constantly striving in an atmosphere that is completely artificial and has nothing to do with what YOU might actually be, and be able to contribute….and there is the distinction, I think.  Contribution to

first clear night

the actual whole as opposed to achievement for you individually.  And that would all be fine if the contribution to the whole part of things wasn’t systematically stymied to a very large extent.  Because actual change and development across the board are not what are wanted.  It is success for a small part of the whole, which is defined quite specifically and these days seems to consist entirely of the acquisition of money.

Someone remarked at the outset that the circumstances of our life here approximated some fairly serious monastic settings, for which experience in deleting DOING people pay big bucks.   I see that now, of course, and at long last I am surrendering, completely- or as completely as I can in this moment- to what IS.  What IS, of course, is almost completely gravelling at times and has involved the manifestation of all of my deepest fears.  One right after another, with traffic jams at times.  There really has been, and is, no room for anything other than acceptance and surrender.  So now what?

Now what is, in part anyway, seeing things more as they actually are and not as one was told, or what one wanted to believe they were (“family” is a good concept to ponder here). This is not an easy task.  It is and has been, also, for me, the laying of my personal foundation in what I have always known to be true: LOVE.  For so long I toiled away  and lived a kind of double life.  Knowing the truth and hoping to find a glimmer of it somewhere while hiding behind the exterior of a workman. Not daring to tell anyone what I actually saw when they walked into a room, or that I heard colors and had moments of divine awareness, happiness, joy. In my private time.  Naturally that did not work all that well, even though I thought it did since I was, after all, able to support myself, which I now see of course has been my struggle and preoccupation since about age 10.  Those around me convinced me that since I was Lazy, it was important that I rouse myself constantly and go DO THINGS, like clean out the gutters or mend everyone’s clothes.  All of which developed good work habits, don’t get me wrong.  But I did at last hit the wall, irrevocably and big time, and when that happens and all the things you didn’t want to look at just now, the disappointment and oftentimes rage, the sorrow, anger and fear, all rise up at once? Even when you think you’re all grown up now and that scar really did heal nicely, didn’t it?  You got to move.

The move, of course, is one we all dread- at least from what I hear.  Because it is a move to not doing, to silence, to feeling what it is you are actually feeling- and that last bit is a real monster as Russell Brand once said so well.  And, for extra fun? You get to do that while a bunch of stuff is happening all around you, stimulating all those spots that used to flash messages like EAT ME, DRINK ME, SHOP, RUN, VACUUM TIL YOU DROP.  I’m sure you know.

So that is what I’ve been doing, it turns out, for the past couple of years and this last year? has been a real doozy containing as it has the absolute full court press of OH GOD NO, NOT THAT.  But running from things is not moving, as it turns out.  Moving is often a rather still process although what happens in that stillness seems like pieces of the ground underneath you simply flying away.

At least part of what you come to is this.  Yes, awful things happen in life and there is pain.  And there is also the pain of others which can be even more difficult to deal with since it tends to elicit a sense of powerlessness that often leads to hitting the metaphorical snooze button. Nevertheless most of the things you fear are in your mind, are about how you think about things and not what they are. (Aside of course from things like “climate change” which is quite scary enough just as it is, and quite overwhelming when you wonder what you can do about it in light of the giant snooze button it has attached).  Facing those fears without running or flinching is tremendously difficult, but you can become skilled and able to do it, and as you do, somehow that basic ground of LOVE comes into focus, you see the pattern of life in a large moving sweep rather than an isolated pixel that has your face in it.  You are able to stop looking for what’s “wrong” and accepting that it is, as they say, what it is.  That what is contains everything, which means there are dynamic possibilities. Then, more fun! because you accept responsibility for yourself and begin to learn how to live with respect for yourself and all your relations.  There will be no more acceptance of the basically unacceptable in one’s “controllable” perimeter, aka the brain or some part of it.  No more snap-fests that last for days, no blame, no paralysis either which turns out to be one of the best parts….just the exploration of a whole new world, which you loved before and love even more now.  Functional expression of that love is what is, now.  So even when someone transgresses, it can actually be balanced AT THE TIME, without rancor, and who’da thunk?

Quick notes on magic: I have an almost 30 year old passion flower plant in the middle of the garden area.  We noticed this week that there is a long, vining tendril of passion flower growing out of the ground at one window- which had to seed itself somehow and is, in fact, in a direct line of float from original plant to new tendril spot.  Beets have sprung up again in the pot they were initially placed in as seedlings, then thought to be discarded since they more or less disappeared in the summer heat and smoke.  Something else got planted in the pot, the pot got moved, and now? We have both the something else AND beets.  Then there’s the forest of swiss chard that seeded from the OTHER swiss chard that had been there for three years.  It stopped being 398 degrees every day and the roses bloomed again, the butterfly bush did its thing and the Rose of Sharon has been extravagant.  The mugwort is about to bloom and we have a ton of tomatoes in the back at long last- after a summer’s worth of grumbling from the Partner that he was watering these huge-ass bushes and for what? Well? Cherokee Purple tomatoes at New Year’s is what.  We even had another successful solstice non-birthday, with guava bars and arroz con leche as this year’s favored dessert.  I also learned that I can, in fact, make a good red chile enchilada sauce- having always favored green up to now- and it’s pretty simple.  Add to that the discovery that Meadowsweet, already a favorite herb, as a single tincture applied to inflamed sores of any origin, works like a charm, humans and canines alike.  Not bad for a recent trip through Hell, yes?

Blessings and thanks!

Advertisements

forty days, thirty nine nights

And of course it FEELS like all eternity has passed, but when I heard that the Carr fire had started 39 days ago, on the 40th day, I thought, well.  JEESH.  I looked up the significance of the number 40, and found that it was, in the past, considered to be equivalent to Umpteen.  So there you are.

The wind shifted so we are once again enveloped in smoke.  Yesterday we saw blue sky, clouds, the mountains for crying out loud, and stars.  It was like a dream.  Today we are back to what has become typical:  oppressively hot, airless and turgid daily reality.  It is quite fatiguing, probably because of the low oxygen presence, but this has not kept us from the Quotidian Beast Slaying and, of course, cooking.

On the Beast Slaying? Honestly.  Part the first was getting our trash removed.  We have to take it to the dump ourselves, of course, and after a certain amount of time it’s a toss up as to whether it is nobler to go to the dump every month or just get a container once a year.  We don’t actually have that much trash, which I comfort myself with in times of demoralization.  Anyway, getting the trash picked up turned out to be like a whole season of Jerry Springer.  It strikes me as odd that the harder it is to find a job and make money? The more reluctant the people are who do have jobs to do them.  The first person I called to do this said, well, MY time is REALLY VALUABLE.  So I’d like you to come along with me to help.  And pay $30 an hour for the privilege of same.  We did not take that option.  Finally I found a delightful young man who, although apparently incapable of following directions, did finally arrive on scene and perform the requested work.  SUCCESS.  I still don’t know what part of: it’s the next driveway after the one with the address on a horse pen, is mysterious, but it doesn’t seem to be something anyone can figure out so once again we found ourselves running down the driveway with flailing arms.  Still, it got done.  Beast the second was even more formidable and took yet another week to resolve.

It turns out that having a post office box is tantamount to having DANGEROUS NE’ER DO WELL tattooed on your forehead.  A company, who shall remain nameless, who I use in connection with my website sales, decided that it had to have Proof of my Physical Address.  They froze my account pending establishing a location for me where? who knows, men in black will race up and kick the door down any time now.  Since I cannot get mail here, I do not use this address for anything, so I don’t have anything with it appearing, like utility bills (which I don’t have since we’re off the grid, another concept that is seemingly unfathomable) or, even funnier, brokerage accounts, which were what this company asked for.  We went back and forth, I sending things, them rejecting them, until finally I sent a copy of my State issued Resale License, since it does have this address.  I’d asked if this would be acceptable and what non responsive item on the drop down menu should be used to describe said page.  So you may be able to imagine my state of mind when I once again called the company, got someone in an archipelago somewhere, which someone said, Oh, No.  WE CAN’T ACCEPT THIS ONE BECAUSE IT ISN’T AN EIGHT AND A HALF BY ELEVEN PAGE.  I came completely unglued.  There was loss of temper.  There was even a  bit of what might be called yelling, and the Dog retreated to his bed as he does when kafuffle rears its ugly head.  Somehow after I once again demanded, and finally got, a “supervisor”, public records were checked and whaddaya know, they “granted my case”.  Since everyone I told this story to said, oh, that company doesn’t do that, that never happens to ME, and so on, I was reasonably proud of myself for not succumbing to total paranoia and thinking this was Personal.  No sirree bob.  Just business.  It also made me think about how the fact of it is that I tend to hide in general and be very private in areas where I feel things are nobody’s business.  Like, where I live I guess.  And  no, you don’t get my phone number if I sign your petition, either.  So things like this are to be expected, even if they are beyond the beyond over the top ridiculous. One person said to me in the course of all this that they “required these informations” because of, wait for it! The Patriot Act.  It’s the government, they said.

So there was plenty to think about as I made grape juice in the food mill, fig jam, fig pizza, many OTHER pizzas, pesto, basil puree, and the continuing zillion zucchini things, along with every imaginable kind of cucumber salad and salads made out of melon balls and wontons stuffed with herbs and vegetables.  Every year something goes bonkers in the garden, and this year in spite of the ghastly conditions we have had cucumbers coming out our ears (41 in the kitchen right this minute).  The fig tree has been prolific and the basil has been mind boggling.  The melons are coming in now too. We expect tomatoes late again since it is just now not 115 every day so maybe flowers can set and….who knows.  Anyway it really is true that once you grow your own, nothing else is as good so all of us take heart from the garden.  The other day I even saw several swiss chard seedlings around the pot where we’d had the Perennial Chard Installation for the past three years.  Happy!

So as I pondered the ever more dismal happenings in the world overall (and by the way? the LPV or loser of the popular vote will now be herein referred to as BP, or, bloviating pustule) and wondered what the world would be like without Aretha, I was able to keep in the forefront of things the fact that yes, it does get grotesque periodically.  But there is still Real Life, and the beauty and grace and grandeur of that is what one must attend to if one wishes to stay upright and civil.  Given that such attendance includes everything from cleaning the toilet to watching the Dog reduce customers in the farm store to giggling joyful individuals moving blindly forward for a kiss from his Divine Doggy Snout, there’s no need to panic unnecessarily about where to place one’s attention- unless of course you’re navigating a moving vehicle.  It’s just all present, and my concern often is that so many are not partaking of the feast right in front of them.  Listening and observing seem to be overlooked skills more often than not.  Words, for heaven’s sake, don’t mean what you think they do, and whole concepts, like saeculum, are no longer to be found.  (Saeculum is an old measurement of time referring to the time period between and event and the death of the last person who experienced it.  Food for thought there.) And. Yes indeed, it is often through one’s tears that this partaking occurs, but the disengagement from things like conversation, cooking one’s own food, paying attention to what’s in that food, paying attention to the beings around you, watching where you’re going sort of thing, seems to be increasing exponentially.  I firmly believe that if everyone smoked weed and had a dog? It’d be a lot nicer world.  The same goes for making pizza dough.  There is a LOT of bang for your buck with pizza dough after all: pizza, calzone, and focaccia, just for starters.  Also, just simply being Present makes things smoother, oddly (or not).  It’s not necessary to fill the world up with stuff, and it turns out to be a lot more fun to just pay attention and see what happens.  Even when what happens is Not What You Wanted At All, things are always moving and nothing lasts forever in one condition.  Not to mention the always available opportunity to learn from your mistakes.  Back to it, for now, with renewed praying for..er…Self Control When Things Get Dicey.

Blessings and thanks!!!!!!

because why

While I absolutely refuse to watch the “news” anymore (and the Partner is really tired of The Big Bang Theory reruns as a result), still it’s impossible to completely avoid the LPV and his incoherent, nasty, narcissistic expostulations.  I’m not ill over it anymore, like I was at first.  But now it’s like watching something horrible creep toward you- hoping it won’t Quite Reach You, also knowing that awful slime trail is going to kill a lot of stuff.  The awareness that this/it is an expression of things as they are, kind of like a gigantic pimple coming to a head, helps one to focus on doing what one can.  Given our cliff hanging fiscal situation, this may only be Thinking Good Thoughts for Aleppo and Houston with no donations included,  but somehow I am sure if we all did even that, it would accomplish great things.

ANYWAY. The other day after the usual festivities and great weather, I remarked to the Partner that I was, really, ready to scream.  He looked at me owlishly and said, well, that’s why they call these places HOLLERS.

This made me laugh for a very long time, daily reality notwithstanding. I found myself saying the word “holler” over and over.  Something finally made sense!  And a few other great things happened too, enumerated as follows:

  1. Having a pain in the wrist that kept me awake for two nights, I went outside and rubbed said offending wrist in the Nettle plant that is growing splendidly.  IT WORKED.  And not in the sense of, OK, you hit your hand with a hammer and forget your toothache.  No, it actually made the pain go away even though it was painful in the moment.  The historic use of this plant as a treatment for joint pain is something you can continue for yourself.  Easily grown from seed (just keep it away from DOGS), not only are nettles good to eat, good in beer making and biodynamic gardening, excellent as a hair treatment, but? pain relieving in the most extraordinary way.  Happy dance time.
  2. Tending as I do to overcommit and start things which then get buried in the dim recesses of say, the refrigerator….imagine my  joy when, at long last I uncapped a gallon canning jar of grape juice from last year’s harvest which I’d been Not Looking At in the refrigerator…and? it had become a fantastic fruit vinegar.  BOY WAS I HAPPY. (I admit to acting as though I had done this on purpose. *sigh*)
  3. A right wing group, “Patriot’s Prayer” (for God’s sake. really?) was going to have a demonstration in Crissy Field in San Francisco.  In response, the ever resourceful and humorous citizens of my home town carpeted the field where the event was to be held with dog poop:  The Turd Reich. (And, picked it up later as well.)  Fortunately the poop was not called into play, so to speak, since the Patriots decided it “wasn’t safe” for them to hold their event- tiki torches were banned.

Given the nature of the days now with daily apocalypti, I found all this very encouraging.  We even have mystery chili peppers coming in! The Dog’s spots are going away! Really.  What? Me Worry? Nah.  Blessings and thanks to you all.

poblano

 

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.

time travel

How long has it been, Gentle Reader? Time is right now  its own, very weird, hard edged commodity.  There’s never enough of it of course, which strikes me as strange now that we’re in this here rural lifestyle where it appears that people think we simply sit around and fan idly through magazines all day long and have oodles of it, when in fact it’s your basic sun up to sun down and beyond.  Just for the basics.

Skipping over current events, or more like it dashing over sinkholes pursued by hellhounds, it seems simple survival is quite a success these days.  I heard Representative Labrador (from Idaho, go figure) say that no one had ever died from not being able to get health care in response to a constituent’s disapproval of the current proposed “healthcare” legislation.  So, OK.  That’s so totally stupid I think we need say no more.  We’re just in for a really bumpy ride before this all immolates, and it’s everywhere.  One has to decide pretty quickly just how excited to get over each explosion.

Meanwhile our efforts to get at least part way into the current century in terms of “technology” continue.  It no longer makes my head explode when people dismissively say, oh, you can too get internet/doctors/books there and blahblahblah.  No, because we learned that the even the actual City of Redding does not have optic fiber connections anywhere.  The official municipal communications apparently occur on some sort of paper cup and string arrangement.  So why should I think my precarious existence should have more up to date arrangements?

Nevertheless.  The telephone situation here is dismal.  The ATT cel phone only works at a distance of about 14 miles from home.  The Hughesnet satellite home phone connection works when it feels like it and aside from not liking snow, it’s not clear what makes the satellite say, uh, NO.  Not Now.   I’ve thus been casting about for a better, more cost effective and workable phone solution that might also allow me to do more marketing for my website and products.  You know, like Instagram and stuff.  So.  I got my first smart phone.  (And yes it IS somewhat intimidating and I feel like a gorilla trying to type on it.) Credo Mobile, an at least relatively ethical carrier, free (” “) IPhone, and apparently coverage even HERE in the round house.  I agonized over the decision, but if all goes well I can get rid of three devices and just have one that works as it is supposed to.  And save money in the process which is becoming ever more important.

However the usual key words here are: IF ALL GOES WELL.  Because so far? It has been a marvelous exercise in equanimity, mindfulness, staying calm, and carrying on.  I haven’t cried, even under intense provocation, and only had one small slug of vodka after the first six hour stressathon.

Initially things went reasonably smoothly and the phone came to my mailbox when they said it would, the offer had changed in the few days since my first call but not significantly.  I felt a strange unease about setting the phone up,  without knowing why (SILLY BEAR)….and then it all became clear.  First, there was the connection for customer support, after the 2+ hour attempted online connection could not be made,  to someone in Nigeria which on my phone felt very much like the aforementioned paper cup arrangement.  Turned out I couldn’t have my old number ported to the new phone because I did not know what my ATT PIN was.  So, fine.  Give me a new number, we’ll carry on.  But NO!!!! My Apple ID wouldn’t work.  An hour plus into it I hung up and called Apple.   An hour plus into that? My home phone died.  Nothing having been successfully wrestled to the ground at that point.

AFOG, for sure.  I realized I had about a second to make up my mind not to freak out about it all, to breathe, do something else, start over tomorrow.  This was the part with the vodka.  Then I went outside and transplanted seedlings.

I started anew the next day, already having about six hours into this.  I called Apple first, where to my stupefaction (since this was about the fourth time I’d called in the past few months about this issue) the Rep revealed that? GUESS WHAT? There’s a website where you can reestablish your Apple ID.  I was thrilled.  Moving on, 45 minutes down, to calling Credo again to get connected, I found that the Apple ID had not been instantly updated so I still couldn’t do anything with that.   Fine, fine.  Another hour and another mini-death for the house phone later, it was revealed that my new IPhone was not going to power up.  Period.  No way.  It seems it needs a new SIM card.  Which we hope will arrive on the morrow when we have to go to town anyway.  Then I get to suit up and do it all over again.  Anyway it took the bulk of the weekend and while, yes, I learned a lot, nothing really got DONE.

I’m assuming this will all get wrestled to the ground and be fine.  The lacking PIN and unfindable ID related to a time long, long ago where someone else was doing my IT.  Good to sever all that and move forward into the NOW.  The question really is, how does one deal with all this overwhelming frustration and time suck?  Over something one doesn’t, in the big picture, really need but in quotidian context, must have.  It seemed sort of like everything else- all these things move in one’s life and have impact (like health care, let’s say, or a recent mystifying spot visit from two huge sheriffs trundling up our “driveway” one morning) without one having any ability to influence any part of it.  Except how one responds.

So I decided to use this as an opportunity to really work on my thoughts.  Revamped my brain as follows: 1) this is manageable 2) time can be used productively even in hacked up increments, to wit our lovely bean seedlings 3) no reason for fear or anxiety, (actually really ever) but if those things rear their unshapely heads, there’s a five minute limit and  4) in spite of feeling as though one is flying into the maw of some huge devouring reptilian creature, things are really OK.  Let’s ramp it back down to just thinking about a PHONE and not branch into ISTHEREAMETEORWITHGODZILLAONITCOMINGMYWAY.

Essentially, what I realized yet again was that we live in rather…interesting times.  The level of discordant energy is over the moon and it’s pretty hard not to feel that to an at times overwhelming extent.  Everyone really does feel it, and around here it appears to be contributing to a Night of the Living Dead atmosphere full of heroin users. However, that isn’t this.  The discord isn’t about us, personally,  and although things are dicey there’s no reason to assume the worst is always just around the corner.  In a decadent situation, things will fall down.  It is what it is, and it is where one finds oneself.  The saying used to be (pardon me, guys) if it has tires or testicles you’re going to have problems with it.  Now it’s more like if it has bytes? You’ll get bitten.  These things are par for the course though, and the continuing effort has to be toward conscious discernment in terms of just how important any given sandtrap really is, and are there sharks.  Also, even if you lose strokes you still get out of the trap for the most part so it still all boils down to learning from experience, and accepting that winds always shift.

To think I at least thought I was out of school.  Now I find I’m not only still there, but I’m playing golf in another galaxy.  And golf? used to be my most-detested sport but I find now it is quite calming to watch.  Which I take to mean, on some level, that once you put your preconceptions down, it’s a whole new world in a rather stunning way.  I’m just hoping this newest new world includes a working IPhone.

Blessings and thanks! oh, and, the Dog is fine. Even if he has lately tended a bit to melodrama- but that is a story for another time.  Right now he needs to play……

retrospect

For me, Gentle Reader, retrospect is something that often involves at least some level of eye-watering horror.

Leaving aside the grisly truth because, well, why?, we’ll just examine my relationship with CAKE.

I’ve had pound cake on the brain for a while.  Since it’s made in a standard size loaf pan (although needing to replace some bread pans has lead me to realize that finding even something like a standard size bread pan is akin to the holy grail now- they’re either ENORMOUS or TINY) it seemed perfect, given my prior history of dyslexia regarding cake pan size.  Not realizing that I should, er, measure the cake pan for proper size? I embarked at one point on making a Lady Baltimore cake for a friend’s birthday.  My pans were too big and I wound up making double the cake, cutting the tiny layers in half, and making more of a Lady Baltimore torte.  The fact that everyone wanted that cake over and over was good, of course, but once the Partner clued me in to the mystery of Different Sizes of Cake Pans, it also made me glad I’d kept my mouth shut about the roundabout way the cake was made, instead looking down and smiling modestly and saying thank you and no, I’m not a master chef, stopping before I blabbed the awful truth about having to bake the whole thing twice and sweat bullets while cutting it up.

So, as I say.  Pound cake.  This particular recipe, with the rather sinister name of SIMPLE POUND CAKE (in retrospect a First Clue) promised a dense cake, leavened as it is only with eggs.  I will digress a bit only to add that the Partner has been noticing of late that his bread is rising in an unusual, ballistic way.

We see our heroine mixing said cake, following instructions exactly (which honestly I often don’t except with cake because it’s chemistry, after all and, explosions…..), feeling rather proud of the lovely thing as it went into the pre-measured correct size pan and pre-heated oven.  I pulled out all the stops, in short.

So. When I looked in after a few minutes to make sure the oven temperature was right, imagine my, yes, eye-watering horror, when I saw that the cake had become your basic little volcano and there was cake All. Over. The. Bottom. of. the. Oven.  It exploded a bit, in short.  There was smoke during the extra long baking period, for added value.  I found myself plummeting down into old, often travelled waters of “you just can’t do anything right, can you? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?”.  After the allotted hour of baking passed and the thing was still wet in the middle I almost cried but thought, no.  We’ve done a lot of heavy lifting and we’re not giving up now.  We can use it for something.

After an extra half hour of baking, it was at long last time for The Reveal.  Not without incident, it involved a tricky bit of jaws of life type crust carving to get the pan off. Fortunately I’d already had the Lady Baltimore Tutorial.  At this point, the cake looked OK, if not like a “normal” pound cake.  The oven duly cleaned, dinner made and eaten, and cake cooled, it was time to face the music.

And? It was PERFECT.  I was stunned.  And then I realized what the cause of the eruption was.

EGGS, Gentle Reader.  We’ve been getting eggs from our neighbor and they are not, we know now, just any old eggs.  I made rellenos with them and the batter was almost radioactively yellow and puffy as a cloud. And since for some insane reason I made several the same night, also kept perfectly til the next day.  The bread, using these eggs, has risen crazily, driving the Partner to chew his nails.  Then, the exploding cake.

Aside from the issue of one’s ridiculous very important story intruding its lifelike Godzilla head into metaphorical sky scrapers for the most nonsensical reasons, and all that…..the important take away (aside from remembering never to despair too early!) from this episode is the nature of food now.  We’re often told that organic food is no different from food not grown organically.  And heavens to murgatroyd.  GMOs? No danger to public health there.  The fact that the US has a population of bloated, immunosuppressed, unhealthy people can’t have anything to do with what they eat.  Can it?

The fact that something as ubiquitous as a freaking egg can be so incredibly different because the chicken is fed organic food and allowed to toddle around (within reason of course given that we do live in predator world here) instead of being confined, just for starters, is totally mind boggling. We used to buy organic, free range eggs at the grocery store, but even they are far from these eggs on every level. If such an egg has such an effect on a little old cake? Think what it can do for your body.  It’s like a big shot of the perfect magic.  Who knew? Right? That Nature actually does NOT do the stupid stuff- doesn’t have to be fixed and controlled- and food as it IS, without manipulation or waterfalls of chemical interventions, is actually good for you.  Keeps you healthy for the most part.  Once again what you are “told” is not necessarily so. Food, as we say, for thought.  I’m quite sure that for the Partner and for me? The fact that we eat almost completely organically and locally (barring essentials like coffee, chocolate, vanilla…and pineapple), grow our own produce in the summer, and cook our own food daily is why we’re still alive.  This place we are is, to put it mildly, physically a ball buster, and even young people can look worn and “old”.   Without real, good food? Good luck getting through a day.  I mean, I’ve always been a bit fanatical about this stuff, always revered seeds and baked my own bread.  But this egg thing was a real revelation.  Leavening with rocket fuel, kind of.

I think, actually, that paying attention to what you eat and where you buy it may be the one most important thing you can do NOW, politically and personally.  We simply cannot allow the unthinking rush to “profit” to destroy us all.  Seeds are not being preserved, land is being killed by chemical overuse, and people are made ill by the poor nutrition mass produced food provides, along with the reactions the body has to the poisons used all around it. For example, there is in fact  evidence that gluten intolerance is really a reaction to the herbicides-  like roundup-  used on grain producing plants.  And then, supplementing their healthy meat byproduct and antibiotic diet, cattle get to eat this stuff too.  Is this really what you want? Don’t think so.  Connection with what is real has got to be re-established.  You gotta know where your food comes from and what’s in it.  To think otherwise is to be, as they say in baseball, badly fooled.

This relates to the War Against One’s Very Important Story, to me anyway, because it has to do with disrupting the patter, the voices inside, the propaganda we’re inundated by, and being in the here and now.  It means thinking for yourself and expanding your awareness of what’s important to a much bigger radius- in other words, to what other people feel and need and do.  It has to do with not listening to the familiar refrain, and with starting to actually plant your feet on the ground and look at the sky.   Where you will, if you are lucky, see birds and bees.  And if you can’t? You will see the road forward truly means being your brother’s, and sister’s, and fellow creatures’ keeper.  I don’t think there’s any other way, now.

The tale of How the Dog Got Blow Dried After His Bath for the First Time and Liked It, following the Miracle of Actually Finding the Blow Dryer which Saved the Day in and of Itself,  will be saved for another time….blessings and thanks!

problem solving

That seems to be the current, non-stop, project.  I find myself wondering just how many problems there can be in one bear’s life but it is one thing after another at present.

Aside from being down to our last jerryrigged french press coffee pot (after the plunger broke on the plastic one we’d been using while the blessed elixir was being made this morning,  and we took the plunger from the one where the beaker broke to smithereens), and aside from the password on my Mac being rejected so I can’t log on with any confidence and the hours are running out on the time my browser will work at all due to the Age of the Device (“the logic board can’t talk to the new systems”), AND aside from the fact that the carefully sequestered dollars for laptop went instead to our Vet because the Dog got an ear infection and how much fun we are having cleaning and medicating his ear I’ll leave to your imagination…..aside, as I say, from all that…….

I find myself pondering the utility of things.  My mind has been at a standstill lately, perhaps because all the space between my ears is taken up with problem solving.  After a time of just pulling all the wriggling bits back together after the actually rather considerable destruction wreaked by, well,  entropy and nature…..I re-embarked on basics.  Scrubbing mildew off walls (an issue in yurts, it turns out.  The walls sweat and the power outages and what not made for a fungal fun-fest all around), cleaning up the storage container “section” next to the tub and scrubbing everything THERE, and doing all the recycling that piled up from November when the Partner got sick again, kicking off the pretty much non-stop fun fest of this winter (don’t think THAT wasn’t fun, either.  I had a literal car full of bottles and milk jugs and dish soap containers and beer cans….which took about 40 minutes to sort through and netted me the astonishing sum of $5.  The good news is that the car now smells like slightly spoilt milk instead of gasoline.)…I realized that even though I am MUCH less vigilant than I used to be when everything got cleaned once a week whether it needed it or not, there is still a quality of Sisyphus-ness to it all which makes it rather more of a challenge to get motivated than seems proper.  I mean: I do all this stuff over and over and over.  It needs to be done.  And it’s a rather St. Augustine-ish proposition, the reward of patience being patience sort of thing.  In short- one has a happy moment of yes I did that and then….all over again.  I feel the same way about our efforts to snag some legal tender, too.  Over and over and over and….????? it’s hard to know what to think about any of it, except that it appears not to be working all that well and the prospects are, to say the least, rather obscured by clouds.

So.   As I wondered just how much I want to participate in the totentanz of daily life here in paradise, balance it with what can actually be done and what looks like it’s coming down the pike any minute both small and large, throw in a few times where the body goes sideways and refuses to come out of its room….it all just came to a cacophonous head, in short.  I decided for a minute or two anyway to just give up.

It felt good for a minute.  Just to say, OK, this IS it.  Enough already.  I’ve tried as hard and as long as I can.  Sayonara, where’s the airport?

But of course, that’s not what I’m going to do.  Give up, I mean.  I have no idea what I AM going to do, what shape things will take, or anything.  But it will be different if only because my thinking about it is different.  Which is interesting, because:

In this current period of OMG, I went back to, and read, what saved me much earlier in my life in what still ranks as The Most Awful Time Ever, by which I mean High School.  And what that was, was: Winnie the Pooh.  Julia Child.  Krishnamurti.  Sherlock Holmes.  Lao Tzu.  My lifetime companions, really.  Especially Pooh.  So I’m  humming more and reminding myself that somehow, without doing, it all gets done.  And you never know what might happen, but honey’s always a good thing.  And maybe “goals” and “objectives” and all that are just ideas.  Not all ideas work for everyone all the time.  So I’m changing mine a bit or maybe it’s that I’m going back to what I USED to think before I went out in the world and got all Involved.  And that is that the Universe is a lot smarter than I am, or anyone else for that matter really,  so I’m going to let It take the lead…let Nature take its course.  I suspect this will be far more successful than I can, at present, imagine.    I’m hoping so, anyway.  Anyway the thought is to OBSERVE and not put a lot of energy into FORMULATING stuff. This also means no churning. And: Change direction based on observation of Nature, without expectation or hope that things will be some way other than they actually are.  Living with that completely promises to be interesting.

As always, thank you, blessings, and….we’ll keep you posted on Pooh-ish Realizations…