Posts Tagged ‘The Dog’

in the waiting room

There’s a reason and purpose to everything, so they say and I tend to agree.  Also that thing about one door closing and a window opening and the intervening time in the waiting room being hell.  Of course it’s all in how you look at it.

For example.  Keeping the yurt clean is something that has to be kept in perspective.  You’d literally have to clean every surface every day to maintain a dust, web, and dirt free situation.  So even a former clean freak such as myself has to see reason….part the first of proper waiting room viewing: Here we have a Sisyphisean task no matter what.  Let’s roll a small river rock instead of a boulder every day, whaddaya say?  And so it happened that when something fell off the butcher block and I had to remove everything from the storage shelf beneath it for retrieval purposes, not only was it an opportunity to clean the surface (oh boy!) but also to marvel at the organization I’d managed to reach down there already with all the spinners and pyrex baking dishes and juice squeezers and….to find a chip from a soufflé dish that had been languishing unused for some time.  Said soufflé dish was mended toot sweet, and something positive came out of a waiting room-esque situation.

And so it was that the grueling week just past allowed me to remember the waiting room protocol more than once, because? At long last the Mac died.  Not a good thing in many ways but an eventuality that had been heading my way for a long time.  In one of those Typical Twists of Fate, I’d actually had a good month work wise so I was able to, with a modicum of nausea, wend my way to Best Buy and get another laptop. Everything else will have to wait indefinitely now, but there it is.  I wrestled with whether this was even necessary and realized that my hermit agoraphobe manifestation was starting to take over so it had to be made to see reason and sit down. It probably helped some that the guy who sold it to me looked like Fox Mulder, too. JUST SAYING.

The big challenge, of course was that, not having the exchequer to fund another Mac, we’ve now entered the long dreaded world of Microsoft.  For extra fun, all the backing up I did on my cute little external drive? is useless because Microsoft doesn’t speak Mac Journal.  So everything I had? is gone.  I’ve managed to remain fairly calm, even through the already made customer support call about why my this or that wasn’t budging and can somebody please tell me about left and right made me rather apprehensive. SIGH. Obviously this was also meant to be and while it is already a big pain in the tail it’s somewhat liberating.  I’m telling myself anyway. I have absolutely no idea what to do about all the photos I used to have access to, but am expecting that Time will Tell.  Anyway we will have to live without any exciting vistas until the messenger arrives from another part of the empire to explain what to do.

When I read a quote today from dogen Zenji, it made sense. “Enlightenment is intimacy with all things.”  At this point I must be pretty frigging enlightened, Gentle Reader, because I am becoming intimate with things previously unknown, unimagined or thought of or supposed, and it feels pretty close to the “all” category.  And, while my crash land into Word World is a bit off putting, it IS also in the category of, here’s something to learn.  Our quotidian situation continues to be precarious but in the midst of everything we had definite evidence that love and non violence do work in the end.  We started out here with one, count him, ONE hummingbird, who we named Tyrant.  For obvious reasons.  I’ve put a feeder out every day for eight years now and we’ve watched the small scale squabbles and what not from our window.  But now we’ve got over a dozen hummers at the feeder all the time now, a never before occurrence in my hummingbird dossier, and the other night they were actually sharing- two birds per hole in feeder.  The Partner said, see? they’ve started to cooperate with each other because they trust you- they know you’re there watching and protecting them.  And there, Gentle Reader, it is in a nutshell.  I had the oddest image the other night while deep in Inappropriate and Frightening Thought About the Future.  Of Jesus.  Not my usual, let’s just say.  But I thought about how one often opens one’s heart to another and by Being there, helps the other person simply Live.  Suddenly I saw Jesus standing there saying, my message is simple.  FOR CHRISSAKE DON’T BE A DICK.  I thought I heard the Dalai Lama giggling in the background for a minute, too.  So.  There it is.  Feed the hummingbirds, don’t yell at customer service, take everything as an opportunity to learn and little by little all that time that used to be sucked up by meltdowns turns to an ability for appreciation of the moment at hand.  Whatever it may be surrounded by- like, say, multitudinous click (and/or dick) protocols. Or the miracle of finding a chipped piece of dish.  In spite of the very real difficulties and looming enormities, somehow things always do work out and often it hinges on how we make it through the times in the hellish waiting rooms.  The fact that this isn’t particularly what we were told was important doesn’t change it, either. Sometimes that moment in the HWR is all there is and sometimes there are really a lot of them-  to the point where it appears never ending.  That, I think, is where healing comes in, and more on that another time.

Blessings and thanks as ALWAYS. And, the Dog is in fine fettle, thank you for asking.  I have started calling him Dr. Dog again because the other day when the Partner had hurt his wrist and cried out in pain and we rushed back in to attend to him? I said to Dog, you will probably have to lick his wrist and make it better.  Which he most patiently sat and waited to do, even though the Partner at first said, what are you doing? you’re too close! Which caused me to remember my instruction, marvel at Dr. Dog JUST PERIOD, and let the Partner know that healing was at hand so hold that paw out.  And what do you know? It felt better right away.  Once again, there it is.

life, with Dog

mrhandsome

We’ll get the unpleasantness out of the way first: the lentil plant croaked.  Otherwise the garden seems to be shaping up splendidly, even in our now 100 degree f. heat.

Yesterday was the Dog’s birthday and another opportunity to see just how much he teaches me all the time.   The other morning we had an Unfortunate Occurrence….I had my back to the Thing in the moment since I was making something to eat, BUT.  I heard the Partner exclaim, No! NO! Oh GOD!!!! NOOOOOOOOO…..Since I wasn’t altogether sure if this was a Tottenham Hotspur malfunction or the Sheriff showing up I didn’t rush to turn around, but when I did?  There was an absolute steaming volcano of dog barf on the rug.

Of course, I am a pro at this now.  Show me your dog barf, pee, or poop! Go ahead! So, whipping out the always useful AARP magazine, I shoveled the stuff up, washed the area, mollified the Partner and babied the Dog.  I realized that since we found ourselves recently calling him the Bottomless Pit Bull, probably a ramp down on the food was in order.  He is a consummate pro at just…..staring….at you……until……you…….crack! and give him food.  He immediately races around whenever I even step into the kitchen, forget what happens when I open the refrigerator.  In short, he was playing me like Paganini.  Then again, the hummingbirds play me.  I just have to feed whoever’s around.  This turned into a really good opportunity to look once again at that still large matched set of emotional baggage and see that really, it is OK! I am not on a parole that will be revoked the minute someone doesn’t get waited on or fed, especially since I’m the one who passed the sentence.  And, especially since we know for sure that the Dog will eat until he explodes.

Traditionally (he’s three now after all. History, Gentle Reader!) he’s gotten a very tee-tiny (organic) turkey (nothing else) slider for his birthday.  This year I didn’t have turkey and he had to be content with what is probably going to be my crowning achievement for the summer: butternut squash popsicle cubes.

dogtreats

Success there, all around.  Even if when I made the first batch somehow the immersion blender tipped over the container and……created an impromptu kitchen sterilization episode.  Anyway, bucked up by receiving all this Dog Teaching, I was somewhat surprised when after inadvertently watching the “news” my head exploded and the poor Dog found himself in the position of having to lick my tears and murmur therethere in my ear.  Now that you’re on the floor with me, aren’t you glad you cleaned all that stuff up? He is nothing if not ultimately practical.

In the end it all goes back to feeling one MUST DO SOMETHING whether it be to offer food or end single use plastic. The absolute self absorbed idiocy that passes for discourse, information, public policy is so disturbing on its face that it’s hard to believe people aren’t rising en masse against it.  My egoic self with all the luggage feels that the world has been destroyed by a bunch of jerks, and casual observation does nothing to dispel that thought.   Then again, that itself is a thought, right? A separating sort of thought, too. And most of the difficulties in life come from separation, from not allowing love in to one’s life and being.  I had the oddest set of realizations that night, after the restorative power of Dog Licks (and Partner applied cold compresses!).  Perennial philosophy, let’s call it, discusses both the necessity of disentangling oneself from the glamorized and/or apocalyptic apparency of things, and to put in practice a radical kind of acceptance of what one encounters.  Not accepting abuse or radioactive stupidity at all, but extending actually the kind of….warrior power? of love.  Let me take that thorn out of your paw before you shoot me, sort of.  Then we each go on our ways, thus fortified.  Anyone can do this.  So I at long last incorporated this information: that we are all holy, so to speak.  The Teachers just all passed this way before we did, yet we are in the end all one and the same. We may be defiling ourselves by our actions (may????grrrrr……) but that can always be stopped because there is always a choice.  So.  Although I am driven close to mad when I see the suffering caused in this world today by stupidity, greed, selfishness and fear, and grasp my own powerlessness to “do” anything about it…..at the same time I am increasingly more sure that there are such things as truth and beauty, and that they will prevail as long as there are those to show them in the tiny spaces that often get overlooked.  Like, you know.  Gardeners and cooks and poets and people who hold the door open for you wherever it may be found.

Plus, I think I finally understand gravity.  And: the bug spray is in beta testing.

Blessings and thanks, as usual and always!

the love project continues

glimpsedeepintoyreyes

And, probably, we need say no more.  But when the cursor allows it, we spring in to action and TYPE.

On the one hand, things appear to be hurtling toward hell in a handbasket.  On the other, essential reality and truth are seeping ever farther into the picture rendering the handbasket a bit smaller each day.  I mean, for the most part, I think things will turn out just fine, the News of the Day aside both political/personal, and personal.   There’s not much point in grousing, after all, however NECESSARY it may seem.

On the positive side, a lengthy sojourn of weed pulling and clipping and advancing into the impenetrable center of the garden (where I found blooming camellias!) did not result in career-ending back pain.  The asparagus plant has sprouted again, the plums are  looking strong, the peach is in full leaf, the pomegranate is leafing out AND the fig tree has both leaves and the initial early First Fig forming.  Clipping errors on rose bushes became propagation projects.  The grapes are legion, and the Fo Ti  has taken a grip on things that will take some time to unravel.  My laziness will have to be set aside so at long last, the roots of same can be tinctured in September (which is about when I’ll probably find them, too) and provide us with medicine which was, of course, the initial idea.  I think it’s called Hou Shou in TCM, a kidney and overall longevity remedy, which right about now seems quite appropriate. ( Otherwise, a word to gardeners: Fo Ti is a great plant but it’s like kudzu.  One little sprig will take over everything and I do mean everything.)  There’s still plenty of excavation to be done prior to planting the actual vegetable garden but it all seems, in this moment, Promising.  The black rufflled hollyhocks survived the winter so I am looking forward to blooms…..and sunflowers……oh boy!!!!

Also? the Partner hooked up the turntable for my birthday and I am once again reunited with my (large, sigh) record collection.  It’s almost…..overwhelming.  I mean, it’s been eight years here and….well. The dust situation is daunting, and the heat has burnt up two CD players already, but: MUSIC.  I’ve yet to find Coltrane and Bob Marley but they are in there, T. Monk, Bach, dance music of every description, in every language almost, oh! and! SALSA! which I have also not found yet….but.  Look out neighborhood, all I can say.  No longer do I have to satisfy myself with blasting out pow wow music and Femi Kuti from the car!!!! The Dog is adjusting fairly well, too, especially considering this is the first he’s ever heard of this sort of exact thing.  We’re listening to the Rolling Stones and he’s stretched out on the floor, head cocked and smiling.  And now? the tail is wagging and he and the Partner are dancing.  He also appears to have decided that I’ve had Quite Enough Time to Write This Whatever It Is and Someone Has To Go Outside When The Song Ends…..

So.  Setting aside  fears of disaster (although really- so much has happened already by this time I should know better), which are actually intrinsic to being human and thus can be assigned a proper size,  there continues to be reason for cautious optimism.  It really does come down, over and over, to choosing open over closed, love for all over #@@$$@@##!!!.  and also, when the mind spirals into the panoply of how many ways things can go sideways? Just turning around and facing the opposite direction.  Where you can actually See.  Which is, I think, what Creator (however called and named) wants us to do.

Blessings and thanks! as always.

 

 

 

the Dog has a bilious attack

Oh, Gentle Reader.  It would be, really, impossible to describe just how much fun we’ve been having of late.  A friend accused me of being a “fun hog” after hearing the most recent happenings.

Anyway, on Monday, the first morning I’ve felt even remotely OK for  weeks and weeks, before I had coffee, the Dog, who’d had a Big Day the day before at the farm supply where we buy his food and he has, essentially, a fan club whose members stuff him with treats and hugs, barfed all over his spot.  This included his just eaten breakfast and treats.  I  realized at once that he’d a) overindulged and b) been affected by the bone crushing level of stress around here.  This caused me to remember a song, whose artist I don’t remember, the lyrics of which are in part: “I smoke two joints in the morning/I smoke two joints at night…” This actually made me laugh because when I used to hear that song, I didn’t realize the truth of it, which is that cannabis is a powerful aid in dealing with intrusions, both unwanted mental ones and the more rude, intentional ones performed by humans.  Feeling thus bucked up at the realization that I’d actually made it through several more Scylla and Charybdis episodes with a bit of such aid (the Dog gets flower essences for same),  I further rejoiced at the finding that there IS a use for AARP magazines.  They are excellent at picking up dog barf.

But and so.  We had no internet or phone service for around two weeks.  This is special on so many levels but I maintained a sense of pride at not having screamed at anyone even once, over the three hours on the phone this caused (including the part at the neighbor’s where one person started shooting his .45 at rocks about six feet from me while I was talking to a young man in the  Philippines who promptly freaked out- and I probably did not exactly help by saying, Oh, it’s nothing, just a drug dealer shooting himself in the foot) explaining that no, I can’t be in front of my laptop now because I am 20 miles away from it, where I have phone service.  But when I WAS in front of the laptop this is the diagnostic code I got.  What part of off the grid don’t you get? especially given that NOBODY has Hughesnet unless they have absolutely no other recourse.  Well, my favorite guy said, I’m here to help!!!! Which he did by saying we’d agreed that I’d take a $10/month credit on my bill over three months to make up for the extra money it cost in gas, and all the joys of having an internet business with no internet and missing calls and orders.  Not to mention that I’d paid for service I did not get.

So in the course of one day, I got to:

a) begin wrestling Hughesnet to the ground about the non agreement with absurd offer and get a proper credit for non-service,

b) wrestle with my health insurance about how they sent me a request for information to avoid cancellation which I got the day before it was due back to them, so therefore it would not be “on time”, and

c) continue working on the Larger Issue which I can’t write about here since Actual People Are Involved, but which borders on being life and death.  The person I’m dealing with, in the middle of yelling at me, said, oh, you are just so ENTITLED.  At which point I started laughing, calmly restated my position (which happens to be the only legal one in the picture on some level) retreated to Yurt Central, and had cocktails.  Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  I hope progress has been made on this front, is all I can say.

In the meantime, as usual to calm my jagged nerves, I cooked.  Focaccia, squash lasagne, butterscotch pudding, and at the same time as my friend in Chile did, baklava.  Plus of course tacos, Thai style coconut fish curry, and a million wonderful ways with beans.  Also, my planted peach pit sapling bloomed after we had a week of 75+ degree weather.  Then we had several hard freezes, of course, but the tree is FINE.  I am thrilled.  I mean: PEACHES. !!!!!!!!!

And of course as usual I learned alot.  How dumb was I, is a frequent question these days, but…..I learned unequivocally that whatever you call it, faith is both indispensable and the lever with which you can move..well, whatever it is.  After four months of living in the pit of my stomach I was shown that good decisions do not emanate from that region.  You just gotta move up toward the heart.  You have no duty to accept abuse but must remember we’re all here together.  Solutions can be found, but at least one person in the room has to be coming from some spot other than the Democratic Republic of Ego.

There’s also a good bit of observing and letting go.  In the midst of all this, more of the typically upsetting news I get from my (in fact only one person) family of origin arrived.  Realizing that freak outs of any sort are strictly prohibited in such perilous times as we currently are experiencing, I reviewed the situation, which involves me having severed contact a few years ago, and realized that in fact the whole thing turned out, for them anyway, as well as it possibly could and that was something to appreciate.  FROM A DISTANCE.  It also meant that I could no longer kid myself about my position in line so to speak, accept it and realize that I am in many ways exactly where I ought to be, and faith is my…well, strength and shield.  I have something to do besides  chase worldly success and please people.  It’s a new paradigm, Gentle Reader, and those who can leave their matched sets of emotional baggage behind at, or close to,  the outset have my deep admiration.

notkidding

When reality looks like this? Who are we to question.  Missed you!!!!! blessings and thanks, as always.

 

 

 

a happy anniversary

It was on this day two years ago that the Dog moved in with us.getPart-1It’s hard to tell just how small he was here (this isn’t a big chair)…not of course as small as that first evening when he rushed out from under the yurt, famished and throwing himself on our mercy, and later after having eaten and shaken paws with us,  falling asleep on the deck and snoring.  All 16 inches of him, bowlegged and eight weeks old, barely old enough to be away from his mother.  How such a tiny creature survived the rigors of this place- how he even GOT to us- remains a mystery.  But get here he did, and for about a week (we surmised) he sized us up whilst eating strawberries and flowers on the quiet, revealing his presence in the nipped off potato flowers and overturned saucers we use for bird baths.  I guess we passed muster, and also he was STARVING.  Then came toys, food, a bed which was greeted with his first smile, a leash, car rides and pratfall filled walks.  A heretofore undiscovered world of dog life.  And now?

lord:master

This is HIS house.  Even if it is over 90f in here right now and he’s a bit pink as a result, augmented by the red light from all the smoke in the air (which is just the teensiest bit creepy and unnerving).  He has a smile that captures even the hardest heart (even if he teases me by getting all serious the minute I have my phone pointed at him), and his arrival has been, and is, one of the best things that ever happened to this bear.

Blessings and thanks!

another year older

We’ve been busy of late, Gentle Reader.  Mostly the Mental Hamster getting into Olympic condition, but still.  Things did happen.

It was, in fact, my birthday last week and I decided this year a different attitude was called for.  No shopping or thing coveting transpired (aside from an ill fated attempt to buy a copy of Moby Dick online), and the Partner baked me a cake this year- I decided not to do it for once.  I relaxed into it all and rigorously chucked expectations and preconceived notions.  And? it turned out great.

Our social landscape has changed drastically since we’ve been up here.  Some of it has hurt alot, and some of it has just happened. There are definitely fewer people in our world now, anyway.  Since this is the case, and birthdays are of course, like many holidays, times when we can go overboard into the past OR the future,  I did not allow myself that lapse this go round.

And what happened was that so many birthday wishes and lovely things came to me that I was absolutely overwhelmed, with surprise and gratitude.  The day itself was interesting, too.  After a year of, essentially, armed struggle, I FINALLY got a doctor appointment for the Partner.  On, as it happened, my birthday.  I’d thought about just taking a thermos of wine with me to quaff while waiting, but realized that the Dog would be with me so I’d be attending to him, and he DOES jostle in a most Tiggerish way, so it would not be cocktail time just yet. On the trek to the appointment we saw two amazing things which gave us both a jolt.  One, a peacock unfurling his splendid tail and vocalizing in that unearthly way they have, in a horse pasture.  The other was by the creek, an actual bald eagle.  Those birds are HUGE.  I figured those were both really good signs.  Anyway we duly arrived at the appointment and I experienced a fair amount of unease because I really didn’t want to leave the Dog, by himself, in the car for over an hour.  Nor did I want to be unavailable for questions during the appointment, as I would’ve been outside with the Dog.  And you know what? They let me bring the Dog into the waiting room! (Is he small? they asked. Er, NOOOOO, I said. Is he a service dog? nodding their heads? YESSSS!) Where he was, for him, exceptionally good and brought a noticeable calm.  Maybe people were just stunned by his Handsomeness, but anyway. That was one of the most interesting things, really, because I could actually SEE people relax just looking at him- elderly, kids, and everybody.  So when the Partner came out and I said, did the doc tell you what the plan is? and he said yes and I said, do you remember any of it? and he said no….I just rolled with the calm.  SO MUCH EASIER, really than what I might’ve done before which would have been the usual balloon shrieking up into the corner and quietly deflating in irritated futility.

The appointment itself went very well, all the paperwork got wrestled to the ground and worked, which in and of itself is almost shocking.  All my plant seeds came in the mail that day, I got a few Big Things accomplished thanks to my friend and New York Marketing Guru and Cab Driver Extraordinaire, and learned something.  Which is this.

Not that it’s altogether easy at first, but.  If you really make an effort and focus, cast out the what-ifs and shouldn’t-I-be’s and all the things you know are lurking under your mental bed waiting to leap out and scare the daylights out of you? and just say, this particular endeavor will go well, the highest good for everyone in the situation is what we want, and you smile? It actually moves in the proper direction without any of the normal pushing and pulling.  The challenges are temporary, like everything is, even if there are as many of them as grains of sand, but the moment to moment beauty and rewards are somehow nonetheless quite indelible.  It’s possible to feel complete joy no matter what.  And when you feel that it somehow affects everyone around you.  It’s magic.  And that, Gentle Reader, is what I got for my birthday.  Best ever, really.

And here’s the cake- His first, I believe,  a caramelized pear/peach upside down gingerbread cake.  The sky’s the limit!

CAKE

As always, blessings and thanks!

some days are harder than others

Fortunately we can begin with a gratuitous dog picture:

iAMthecutest

because otherwise, traction is not available at this location.  Sorry for any inconvenience.

Things are, it turns out, REALLY dependent upon one’s state of mind.  Ascension, for example, is real, even if the “definition” of it can be so airy fairy you think it’s got to be almost a scam of some sort.  The part that gets funky is realizing you get to implement a whole new mindset in the same place you were before.  One works toward inner peace and balance, and to do no harm and perhaps be of service.  That seems like a reasonable goal.  New mindset doesn’t sound like it should be a problem, right?  But.  I realized I was kind of thinking that new mindset might also involve a different actual place.  Silly bear.  What would the point be of achieving developmental progress in some easy, relatively problem free place?  After all, it’s EASY to maintain equanimity for the most part when your World isn’t acting like it wants to kill you.  The trick is realizing it’s all an illusion and there to be observed and experienced, no tampering required.

The no tampering part seems to be a bit of a sticking point.  Gardening gives you plenty of opportunity to see the problems with tampering- Nature doesn’t do the dumb stuff, and I have always wondered why humans felt they needed to “improve” it or change it.  Hybridize, clone, and fake it to literal death is more like what happens.  There’s really no good reason why anyone should be going hungry on this planet.  Except of course that the thrust of food production is toward mono-culture, chemicals up the yang, and killing the soil and all the pollinators in the process.  So there is desertification and food that actually now, for extra fun, makes you sick via endocrine disruption, heavy metal poisoning, not to mention nutrient deficiencies. All of which are presented to the public as no problem! and starving people….well, change the channel.  No problem!  I like to, and do, believe that people will turn the tide on this process, invest in community and personal gardens, and quit acting as though profits for the petrochemical industry are more important than anything else.

Of course, profits are kind of the bottom line of ick in all this.  It’s all about making money for a limited number of people, whatever it takes.  Poison the water, poison the air, who cares?  As long as we have control over it, a patent here and there on something that Nature made? it’s all good.

Which in a meandering sort of way leads me to the next light bulb that went off in between things falling over, the Dog eating a centipede or something and barfing all over the carpet, and my seeming inability to plan my activities in such a way as to allow their completion (this latter is of course a combination of procrastination and the bloody weather, for the most part, since I now allow a good several minutes or so at some point in the day for blubbing and decompression so as to get that Out of the Way in Order to Get Things Done.)  And this is? that in this country now, we no longer have the “rule of law”.  I personally find this rather scary, having long thought that reasonable rules, enforced by concensus and in practice, with processes and safeguards and attention, creates a more livable situation than not for everyone. Aside from the militarization of police, this is best exemplified in action by all the recent legislation around marijuana.

A lot of people probably think this has nothing to do with them.  And maybe it doesn’t except for the fact that there are  outright lies being stated as truth (such as there’s no research on the plant, it’s a “gateway drug”- which can be said of anything if you’ve got the brain chemistry for addictive processes) and thus as justification for certain actions, and this is a trend, across the board, about everything. Lies do not make good legislation or rules for living. The other thing is.  The overarching Federal law says this plant is illegal.  Some states have voted to make it legal in various situations.  Not dicey enough? local jurisdictions also have the ability to determine “legality”.  So.  We have something that’s illegally legal, and while there may in fact be a “law” that says everything is copacetic, there are generally at least two governmental entities in any given spot able to say the exact opposite.  Which means people can really get hurt.  For no reason I can see except the money to be made- the profits, if you will.  I always kind of thought that as soon as big tobacco and big pharma could get together on the profit margins, the stuff would be legal.  Now, here in California, it’s “legal”, with the federal and local caveats, and? to be taxed at a rate that makes credit card interest look like a bargain.  Philip Morris does not appear to be driving this particular bus- but investment bankers do.  So.  Aside from my general preoccupation with nature and healing and saving seeds and not poisoning things and all that, what makes me crazy about this is that “laws” are made, having huge impact on people’s lives, based on nothing except somebody’s desire to make money.  Just like the housing market bubble is being blown back up again, the thought form that creates this stuff is going full tilt.  And that is something that will lead to no good.

So net net the thing of it is….having a whole new mindset in the same place can actually move you forward.  It lets you see things more as they actually are, and you more as you are.  Then you can formulate ideas and actions.  While none of us can really tackle the beast whole, we can behave properly in our own lives, whether or not there is an external rule of law.  Another thing that means is we can no longer assume someone else will take care of things.  It means we have to stand up for each other, be conservative in the true sense of not wasting or abusing ANY resource, and establish the real rule of law, which of course, is love. ( See picture above for clarification if needed.)  It isn’t selfishness or profits or any of the things people turn to when their hearts are moribund and you need an electron microscope to detect them.  The real question now is what about all those hearts, after all? Blessings and thanks!

palimpsest

I’ve always liked that word, Gentle Reader, and since it means a surface containing layered images from various different periods of time which have been covered up by succeeding users of the surface with their own images which, in turn, get covered up by future users…..it just kind of makes sense in general to me.  It’s kind of what we are, really.

I guess it’s a good thing I like weathered surfaces, in short, given that I’m kind of turning into one.  And in that process, various things surface and submerge, day after day.

In the ongoing “What Would Pooh Do?” effort, we’ve had a couple of successes.  I found myself doing math in my head.  Multiplication and long division even.  Algebra!  And arriving at a correct answer, which was needed to figure out proportions in a tincture presently being made, and also one coming up as soon as I get more vodka.  This is quite something given that I always thought I “couldn’t do math”.  So.  Lesson learned was: don’t let other people tell you what you can and cannot do- try it out for yourself.  Gently, humming a bit.  It actually works.

In that vein as well I decided to play with the Dog when he wants to, even if I don’t since I often feel like I’m “too busy”.  A question of what’s important in a way, and the lesson here? is Joy is Always Important.  It helps with all the other spots of eye watering horror that pop up around here with Monotonous Frequency.  It’s harder to see that happy, bouncy, smiling yippee-ness of the Dog (with his various toys being tossed hither and yon requiring important sorties for retrieval along with extravagant praise for same) in humans but just knowing it is there makes it easier to just Do It all the time.  It really takes no effort to just smile or give a compliment or kind word- far less than coping with a slobbery, squishy dog toy actually.  And speaking of slobbery dog toys, we had another Step Forward today.  The Dog dashed out the door giving chase to a miscreant cat.  He’s done this a few times and it has always been dicey because he tends to run, and then just keep going…you know, for the Joy of it.  But today he actually came back when called.  We were both speechless.  Extravagant praise ensued, plus toast crumbs which he especially fancies.

jack 2:17

The third thing is realizing that we really do for the most part have just what we need.  The challenges and privations of our life now are real, and  it is way too easy to get sunk in anxiety and gloom about everything, and get on the What If Train to The Future (which as we do know is almost always a trainwreck).  The mood swoops all over the place at such times.  But! As usual cooking revealed the lovely picture underneath the more current spray painted scrawls.

It revolved around peanut sauce.  Kind of a necessity for certain noodle and vegetable dishes, as well as making a terrific glaze for broils and braises of whatever you might have.  It calls for fresh ginger which  I’d used up the day before so there I was at a pivotal last minute, chewing my lip.  We HAD to have peanut sauce of course, no question, and the clock was ticking.  And as I stood there the lightbulb went off.  I’d received, in a bit of a fiasco’d situation (since improved) a box of Fortnum and Mason stem ginger in chocolate.  The box is exquisite and ginger candy is a favorite.  FORTNUM AND MASON, after all. But? This stuff was ghastly.  A real British dessert, deafeningly sweet and a travesty of chocolate, if I may say so.  The ginger, however, was good and actually tasted like fresh.  So, I thought: hah! cut off the chocolate and use this ginger for the peanut sauce.  It worked like a charm.

Aside from enjoying the improvisational success, it really made me think about the fact that we do, in fact, have what we need.  If we’re calm enough to settle down and let it manifest- let, in short, the muddy water settle and clear.  As usual, the Dalai Lama is right: No reason for too much worry.  Just continue to saunter through the multi-acre wood, remembering that no matter how it looks, there’s something underneath and something to come and it will all work out.

Blessings and thanks!!

 

the dog with no sense of time

Whenever I ‘m in the kitchen,  I can usually time pretty precisely just when I’ll hear the patter of ever bigger paws, rising from whatever reclining position He and They may have been in, trotting around to INSPECT.  Looking, licking his lips, and pretty much saying, I don’t care what it is, I want some and when will it be ready?  Not yet, is my general response. Unless it’s coffee or something and then he gets told it’s Not For Dogs.  He’s getting better, in that he usually only comes back once more to assess just HOW MUCH LONGER????!!?? and I remind myself, every time, that this Dog does not know how to cook and thus has no idea about anything other than that stuff he likes comes from this area and he….must…..patrol…..not…..miss…..anyofit…..so he’s engaged and curious. Yes.  Good things!

I also try to cultivate in myself his for the most part consistent joy in things that are pretty much always the same and he greets with OH BOY! MY FAVORITE! YIPPEE!…notwithstanding the times he has to be Very Parliamentary and look just a tiny bit like a dog George Clooney, with his paws crossed in front of him.  Ball, stummy rub, cooking shows where they’re making hummus (a favorite), the morning routine, the afternoon routine, the evening routine, checking out the kitchen, switching seats on the couch, the morning kiss, hippopotami, the paw hold when he gets hiccups….everything, in short.  Except baths which he has recently developed an aversion to- he either retreats to his bed, snoring ostentatiously, or most recently, tries to fake us into letting him outside right before he’s to be put into the soapy drink.  He loves baths, actually, and closes his eyes in bliss as the Partner soaps him up, rinses him,  helps him out of the tub and whatnot.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking, which may or may not be a good thing.  The being in the now is the joy thing with him.  It’s all good to him, for the most part.  He doesn’t have a lot of preconceived notions or opinions although he does have some ever lessening remaining trauma from his challenging early weeks.  Really, he doesn’t have fear or trepidation either.  He just assumes, correctly as it happens, that everyone is going to like him.  So far, he’s been right except for two times which is an average one might profitably take to Vegas.  Clearly, there’s something to the way in which he assesses things.

The thinking struggle I’ve been engaged in, however, ranges farther afield from NOW and covers the knottier topic of knowing who to listen to.  The Dog ignores us at times but for the most part, KNOWS he benefits from listening to us.  Would that I had that kind of clarity myself, let’s just say.  I try to take his happy appraisal as a model and implement it in my own day.  It was going really well for a while. But as usual my ongoing issue of listening to the wrong station at the wrong time reared its head.  I realized that I had almost lost faith in myself.  I put too much emphasis on what I was hearing, in essence, without keeping the housekeeping detail in action.

I think about faith a lot.  I am not religious but I do have faith.  This faith tells me that love is the truth, do unto others as you would have them do unto you is the rule.  Hard as hell, but true and rule, nonetheless. While most of the things our cultures deems “wrong” appear on reflection to be nothing more than exertion of social control and an extension of the separation between us and everything else that seems to have happened about 5000 years ago, the things that really ARE wrong get no attention and it is quite common to hear people, in a variety of settings, say that there is no right and wrong.  But, there is.  It is wrong to hurt people or condone it when others do it. (Even though we hurt people all the time just by being alive; we step on bugs unwittingly, our housing tracts kill animals, everything our society is based on just about causes some harm. So already we’ve got cognitive dissonance up the wazoo.) It is wrong to damage the earth. It is, in fact, wrong to think that you are better than anyone else- or than any animal, plant, rock, or body of water, on some level, as well.  In a way the discourse about there being no right or wrong has morphed into an acceptance of awful behavior as long as you agree with it yourself. It’s almost a bit doctrinal, when you listen to religious people talk about the world now- and with SEVEN “god channels” on the tv here, it’s unavoidable. The religious texts, it seems, tell you so.  Yes, there ARE a million ways to stack dishes after you wash them, a million ways to clip your fingernails, all those things we so often let drive us bananas- tuneless humming, et al.  None of those things are wrong although they are often cast as so.  But I happen to think it is wrong to discriminate against people or situations or things simply because you want it all to be more like YOU. It’s wrong to make others suffer because you refuse to do the proper thing in a situation.  It is wrong to accept shoddy thinking and behavior as accepted and installed wisdom just because it benefits you, or so you think.  Given that we are all one, we have some responsibility to each other not to be total idiots. Even though, of course, THAT HAPPENS.

Is it about considering the source? I wonder.  Real Source is, after all, ineffable.  We get glimmers and hints and outright blatant messages but it is still all so much bigger than we are, as we get carried along with the cosmic parade.  Current source, not so much.  In fact one of the main things to be said about it now is that it constantly contradicts itself.  (Which may be better than say in the mid-20th century when essentially untruth was the message for the most part)  Researching a simple thing like is dog saliva a good thing for dog owies gives you a zillion answers that all refute each other. Information pretty much equals propaganda unless you’re the type to spend a lot of time in the real or metaphorical library.  Perhaps it is more about the fact that since we don’t know, it really is better to greet each moment with the joy it deserves rather than trying to figure out how to get it to do or be something other than what it is.  Which we don’t know anyway.  The information we REALLY need is, for the most part, available to us, right there in front of us.  It’s a question of who we listen to- who tells us what we’re seeing.  And that person we listen to should really be US- as long as we are willing to put in the work every day, pay attention, learn how to truly think for ourselves, greet the day with joy, and hope for the best.  Then it kind of doesn’t matter, or at least not as much, who’s talking because you can listen, think, trust YOUR source, and make better decisions.

So far, having crawled out of the Hole of Seemingly Complete Across the Board Powerlessness of last month, I’m equilibrating myself one day at a time. Traversing the hills and valleys of taxes, delicate but crucial negotiations, County Inspectors, health insurance weirdness,  memories and current time attitudinal snafus, I’m Remembering that I CAN trust myself, so I’ve cooked, the usual fallback after breakdown.  Butternut squash/olive/white bean pizza (initially looked at askance, liked very much later), homemade green Thai curry (did not send myself the memo about the part where I decided I’d make all this stuff from scratch so there was a good half hour snipe hunt in the refrigerator for the non-existent jarred stuff)  soup with more of That Squash, homemade garam masala dusted over roast chicken for the luxury portion of the trip, and variations on our new old favorite, tetrazinni.   Not to mention the Achiote-on-the-brain extravaganza, more of which to come later. Since so much, including whether or not we have basic services or any income whatsoever, seems beyond my ability to effect OR affect, I’m finding that preparation of every successful dinner has a very salutary impact on my quivering brain.  Marx said that people do things like crafts and knitting and complex cooking I suppose as an antidote to alienation.  I think he was right about that.  As for what comes next? I’m trying to cultivate the Dog’s approach and see the good in it.  While reserving my right to bark and give a good nip if the good turns out not to be there.  And I think, Gentle Reader, you know what I mean.

Blessings and thanks!

in which feeling returns to the limbs

Yes, Gentle Reader, semblances of normality are peeking out from under the dog fur bunnies under the TV.

I have to say, Telemundo has helped, even though my Spanish is not always up to the task.  One weekend a couple of weeks ago they showed an entire Saturday of: The Mummy Returns, Snow White and The Huntsman, and Indiana Jones and the Cave of the Crystal Skulls (or whatever it was called).  Today we’re watching Salt, and I read this week’s New Yorker.  The section on Sixteen Writers on the Election is well worth your time.  I’m in love with Junot Diaz anyway but his piece is wonderful.  Highly recommended from the Rehab Wing here.

Otherwise daily life continues to remind me that Truth and Beauty are still with us.  On one day I saw a HUGE rabbit bound up our “driveway”, with four white paws and a very tall stature.  Then, I saw about 24 wild turkeys and a few feet up from them, a HUGE covey of quail.  They all seemed to be looking at me (especially the rabbit) and saying, hey! you can’t accomplish anything THIS way! Lighten up!

This lightening up was duly accomplished at the end of a long day of cooking.  Although the Partner and I both are unsympathetic to the Pilgrim version of Thanksgiving, I have managed over time to impress him with the fact that the FOOD is wonderful.  I usually bake whatever bread we’ll use in the stuffing the day before, and this time it was sourdough.  Quite the endeavor this bread, taking an entire day to proof and all.  I was really happy to see my now almost 25 year old starter is in tip top shape, too.  The bread gets baked in a dutch oven (Tartine recipe) which is, admittedly, heavy.  I had struggled with removing the whole shebang from the oven for the first loaf and the Partner said: I WILL DO THE NEXT ONE.  YOU ARE NOT SUPERMAN.  I huffed a bit but at the time of doneness, I said, OK.  As I watched him, with one expert swell foop, remove the heavy pot from the oven and turn the hot loaf onto a rack, suddenly from the television came the William Tell Overture.  Somehow it all converged, how I’ve always thought I had to do everything myself, ‘specially since nobody else ever stepped up, and how ridiculous that is.  And how good the Partner is at so many of these things and what an excellent thing cooperation is.  It’s good to receive as well as give.  And it all struck me as supremely funny.  The crescendo of the music occurring at the precise moment loaf hit rack, for example.  I laughed so hard I cried and pretty soon we were ALL laughing, having our now mandatory group hug with the Dog.  See how easy.

Then came the actual day, and more cooking.  (Although simplified from the days of yore I can hardly imagine doing, but there it is. I used to even cook my own pumpkin for pie.  JEESH.) It all went easily, actually, and well.  The Dog ended his Thanksgiving by retiring to the couch (after his small bits of turkey meat and baked squash) and snoring.  Loudly.  And Longly.   He was exhausted, of course, by his day long patrol of the kitchen area and relentless are-we-there-yetting.

I felt, almost for the first time, a profound sense of Belonging.  My family is here, so now, in a way, I know where my house is.  I decided to let the happiness and joy from that inform whatever else it is that may come, whatever may require doing.  I still feel a huge pain in my heart but I also feel far more equal to the task of simply being a decent human being and standing for what is true, for beauty, for hope.  And for love.  Somehow I am not so afraid as I was.  I guess I can endorse a course of Telemundo action films and some turkey as restorative measures when all seems lost.

I leave you with some of what Junot Diaz wrote in the November 21, 2016 NEW YORKER.  I do believe that a non-violent person with a base in Nature and Creation can resonate with this and move forward with strength and capacity.  There are many ways to deal with darkness, after all.

“….For those of us who have been in the fight, the prospect of more fighting, after so cruel a setback, will seem impossible.  At moments like these, it is easy for even a matatana to feel that she can’t go on.  But I believe that, once the shock settles, faith and energy will return.  Because let’s be real: we always knew this shit wasn’t going to be easy.  Colonial power, patriarchal power, capitalist power must always and everywhere be battled, because they never, ever quit.  We have to keep fighting, because otherwise there will be no future- all will be consumed.  Those of us whose ancestors were owned and bred like animals know that future all too well, because it is, in part, our past.  And we know that by fighting, against all odds, we who had nothing, not even our real names, transformed the universe.  Our ancestors did this with very little, and we who have more must do the same.  This is the joyous destiny of our people- to bury the arc of the moral universe so deep in justice that it will never be undone…..”

Blessings and thanks for reading, as always!