Posts Tagged ‘weather’

In Bears We Trust

And, of course, dogs.  So, Gentle Reader, even though I’m walking around like something from the zombie apocalypse, one arm in muscle spasm, one raked with excited dog greeting claw marks, I went and voted.  It went better than at the Primary, and more on all that later.  Perhaps.  Personally I think the claw marks helped- made me look serious and like I fit in around here.

But the important thing on some level is: THE CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES.  This started a huge thought train on the topic of what else did I not know about myself, because it was revealed that I am a rabid, die hard Cubs fan.  I mean, I knew I liked the Cubs- any team that has a bear as its logo is going to get my serious consideration, after all- but I had no idea how much.  I sort of thought I was more an American league fan, and the Indians really were great….but I was putty in the Cubbies paws, in the end.  The Partner used this opportunity to comment that he thought I’d been so, essentially, alienated all my life, that I’d never had that communal fan experience.  Or many others.  So how would I know what teams I really liked given that it was all, always at a very long arm’s length and seemed like something from another galaxy.  When I found, however, myself roaring MORON at the tv when calls went wrong, it was quite a feeling….like being part of something BIG.  Not to mention the thrill of seeing a curse lifted.  It took a few days to get over the whole thing of course because all those games were virtual torture.  Ups, downs, rain delays.  It was dizzying and I may have had one too many cocktails in an effort to settle frizzled nerve endings.

Bucked up by that success, anyway,  I joined a world wide project where you give out cards that say: You Matter, to people you encounter on your travels.  The cards duly arrived and I’ve begun handing them out, and the really amazing thing about it has been how often the recipient struggles to hold back tears.  I’ve gotten hugged and kissed more lately than I can remember ever happening before. ESPECIALLY AROUND HERE, where it is more common for me to hear people telling me to go back where I came from.   Random little kids run up  and throw their arms around me and the whole thing is quite astonishing, especially insofar as it shows how deeply we all want to connect and be SEEN as who we are.  (Even me, especially given that there appear to be huge swathes of “self” that are terra incognita.  Viz, Cubbies.)

Then.  The Election.  While I have dreaded this, in the sense of which will be worse? The run up or the actual situation? I am really, really glad that at least PART of it will be “over”.  The divisiveness, nastiness, ignorance? has been amazing.  Our local ABC affiliate actually aired some Buck McMr.Outdorsman show where he sat spouting nastiness about Muslim immigrants and conveniently omitting anything close to the truth, with no disclaimers, or even the usual helpful fishing tips.  The whole thing has had the effect of separating us all from each other in a BIG way, generating fear and anxiety- and I have to say in my opinion Trump has been largely responsible for that.  Saying things that negatively incite people without any basis in truth, complaining and offering no solutions,  and the non stop amplified basic HATE, this guy really blows me away.  I realized the other day that when he complained about the election being rigged, it was because it wasn’t going to be rigged at the top for him the way it was for Bush when Gore was the Democratic candidate.  Yet and still, a choice between two icky things is not exactly a choice, is it?  And don’t get me started about the Marijuana Proposition.  Or plastic bags, either.

So.  When I took my scarred and gimpy self to the voting place, it was with some trepidation.  Last time people were actually in there yelling at each other.  I almost wore my camo pants but decided that was just over the top, even if it might have been helpful in a disguise sort of way. Once inside, it was a hive of chaos.  There were more people “working” than I’ve ever seen here, there were lots of questions about whether I’d voted here before (??).  There were cries of dismay as people saw their ballots read on the computerized thingy and realized they’d filled in the wrong bubbles.  It took forever to get ticked off the list and then another aeon to get the poor girl responsible for it to give me my ballot.   I got through the whole thing, nonetheless, and did not get a sticker.  Choking back a sob I took my ballot stub and tootsie roll and went out into the day, which is, it turns out, spectacularly beautiful.  That doesn’t happen all that much around here so I was determined to enjoy it.  The bluebirds are back, the leaves are turning, and the rain has made grass grow revealing verdant swaths beneath gold-leafed trees, with almost violet tones at the edges of leaves against the sky, and grass against the road. I was able to pick up dropped keys for people on crutches, open doors for people in walkers, get dog food, and remember the basic Thing.

LOVE EACH OTHER.  At times, quite the endeavor.  But always well worth it.

Thank you!


Another Day, Another Windstorm

The colors have changed around here almost overnight.  Last week the dried grasses were a flourescent white, and the tall weeds and tree leaves were a rosy sandstone color against a deep blue sky.  The next day the leaves were all copper colored.  Now? They’re mostly blown away in these past days of wind and rain.  It’s interesting to be in a yurt in high winds because..well, anything could happen and mostly you’re just sitting there, Gentle Reader, listening to the roar or the wind outside and the groaning trees and if there’s rain? Nothing else gets through.  The yurt is a sturdy thing, though, and so far, so good.  We still have our roof.

Meanwhile another storm is blowing up and blowing in and I’ve still got miles to go since the creek is flooded and thus the long way is it for today to get to town.   Perhaps a lengthy jaunt will be good for me, since I’ve been watching TV lately as I found myself moderately immobilized on our couch hearing the words “SIT.  STAY.  QUIET.” running through my little head. I found, instead,  myself actually yelling insults and imprecations at people on screen. Not that relaxing.   I get rather exercised watching the “news” and pondering the fact that yet again, reality has not dawned on people and they still think they have plenty of time to screw around.  Then I realize what a tiny little piece of all of it resides in me,  and that the sensible thing is to take a deep breath and figure out what to make for dinner.   That is quite a bit easier than some of the other things currently on the plate, for sure.

woman meets dog

I really can’t begin, Gentle Reader, to describe the multiplicity of snafus and fubars that have kept me from this little blog of late.  At one point the Partner, ashen faced, sat down at the table, looked at me and said, I have to rethink this whole thing.  YOU HAVE THE WORST LUCK IN THE WORLD.  After I stopped panicking and thinking this meant We Were Through, I was able to review things quickly and realize that, quite possibly, I do.  Have the worst luck in the world.  Or at least, it’s right up there.  Friends who have known me for a long time will, musingly or cheerfully, tell tales of people they’ve met who “have worse luck than you do! It’s INCREDIBLE!”.  These stories usually involve at a minimum, exploding fireplaces, incineration of importance, major nerve damage or disfigurement, or, my current favorite.  This involves someone who got shot in the back of the head having the bullet come out through the mouth with all associated teeth exiting as well, in front of a hotel waiting for an appointment to show up.  The appointment showed up, fainted, and things carried on with excruciating trauma, permanent damage, the whole nine yards.  Life continued on because this individual, (like those of us, so I’m told: oh, but they’re like you! so calm! they just keep going! who routinely have above standardly weird shit happen), was plucky and resourceful.  So that when a bus came out of nowhere and ran this person over a few years later, it should come as no surprise that the permanent and difficult damage rendered in the original brouhaha was remedied because the hospital happened to have a specialist who dealt in just that awful sort of thing.  I guess getting run over by a bus was worth it in the end.    Then I thought about my first car.  It was parked, I was in it.  It got partially crushed by a (really) Winebago Renegade whose elderly driver was cleaning his glasses instead of steering.  He had them clean enough to leave the scene, however, and the policeman who arrived  for my report was not, let’s just say, sympathetic to my story.  So fastforward  to the repair shop mandated by my insurance company.  It was a Samoan operation out in East Oakland.  I was thus infuriated but not surprised to learn that the loaner car they gave me to use while my poor car went under the bondo was stolen.  How did I find this out?  BECAUSE A HIGHWAY PATROLMAN TRIED TO ARREST ME ON THE VALLEJO BRIDGE, THAT’S HOW.  This being just one story among many, what could I say to the Partner except to snuffle agreement?

A brief list of the recents, just to get up to speed:

A) The yurt is now officially hosting squads of scorpions.

B) The State has disappeared my income tax refund, and says helpful things like I need to give them the phone number of a specific person in my bank for them to talk to.  Yup.  The bank, of course, says it’s the State’s fault, and they only have an 800 number.   The State seems to take the position that I am enjoying WASTING HOURS OF MY TIME trying to fraudulently get a SECOND TAX REFUND.  I give up, I think.

C) Really the most fun, almost.  We, up to now, have done a Summer Art Fair every year.  Not without its’ challenges, it still supplies that ever so desperately needed thing: money.  So after days of preparation, we wend our way to this thing- which now takes us twice as long to get to although it isn’t physically as far away from us as it was when we lived in the Bay Area- and it is as though we entered into a parallel dimension.  We pull up, the guy at the entrance squints at me when I tell him I’m a vendor and need to sign in.  Do you have your packet? he barked.  We finally get that horsed around and I go to the redoubt where the Vendor sign in has been secreted.  They at last give me my wristbands and welcome letter!, then the guy there says, frowning in a patronizing sort of way: Are you going to drive your car in there? (Meaning into the state park where the fair is held)  At this point it’s been a long lifetime already, and I’m just wondering what to say.  Well, I said.  I AM a vendor here, let’s see.  So that means I have stuff to sell.  That means I have stuff.  In my car.  To unload.  So, unless you have some pack animals here, YES I DO HAVE TO DRIVE IN THERE FOR A MINUTE TO UNLOAD.  OK, he says, I’ll have to give you a parking permit.   They’ve never done this before, since usually they have staff managing the loading stuff and nobody parks until later, because it’s just not workable.  You get a parking permit if you’ve paid for parking.  So, fine, I say.  Then he says, but I need a phone number.  I felt a tear leaking out of my eye then.  My cel phone doesn’t work at this park, of course.  I don’t have a phone here, I said.  Well then I can’t give you the parking permit, he said.  Feeling that I might turn into a multi-headed Hydra at any minute, I just made up a goddamned phone number, and he was happy.  So, on to our spot, which we couldn’t even get to because?  There were vehicles parked bumper to bumper along the whole grassy area where the vendors were supposedly to ply their wares. No parking permits to be seen.  The people next to us, whom I remembered from the prior year for their…ongoing high level of adjusted attitude let’s just say, had sprawled all their multitude of metal bars and bamboo fence and piles of frames and all kinds of stuff, all over OUR space and all behind it.  They seemed to think it was rude when, after they told me they’d dumped all that stuff there until “THESE people show up”,  I said, well WE are THESE people.  Long story short, we finally got our canopy up, after what verged on armed struggle.  That thing did not want to be there, which it demonstrated by immediately going ass over teakettle and blowing about 40 feet across the grass.  You might guess if you were paying attention that it was only windy right at our spot and everyone else? Who had the exact same canopy? was just fine.

D) Are we at D already?  We came home, another four hours, it was 85 degrees at midnight but we were home! The parrots were fine and our garden was ok too.  So I pulled self together, got the attitude adjusted, and then? Yesterday.  There was supposed to be a chance of a tenth of an inch of rainfall.  What there was, was high winds, an astounding thunder and lightening storm that went on for over two hours, drenching downpour and large marble sized hail.  The entire area around the yurt was like a pond.  Then, the power went out.  Cross words ensued between Partner and Self, and it was my job to sally forth.  He wanted me to go to the neighbors’ but, their power being out also, what was the point? I had to get to someplace where my cel phone would work so I could call PG&E and impersonate my landlady in order to find out if we were going to be without power for long- since with no power, we have no water or phone or ANYTHING.  So, a gallon of gas later I found I was the first person to report the power outage which had everybody out here in the dark for a minute.  It was on the way that I met the dog.  A man was walking down the middle of our road as I was endeavoring to find cel phone reception.  This is pretty odd in itself- you don’t see strollers around here.  I stopped and immediately realized that he was either completely stoned out of his mind or suffering from dementia. Given the neighborhood, I reckoned number One was the answer.  While I was wondering how to get on my way since there was nothing I could do for him it seemed, he grinned unpleasantly and said, Have you met my dog?

I turned to my left (He was undulating on the driver’s side of the car) which of course was just Right There, and the window was partly open and what should my wondering eyes behold but the head of a gigantic black mastiff sticking itself right in there, albeit partially. Very big teeth but fortunately, no bad breath to go along with the drool.

So there I was between Mr. Crazypants and His Giant Dog.  In a river of mud under roiling dark clouds and thunder so loud you couldn’t hardly hear yourself think.   TO BE CONTINUED.

Not really, I’ve just always wanted to do that.  Surprised by my suavity I somehow extracted myself from that Moment of Hideousness with only minor claw marks on the door (don’t be mad at me, the guy was bellowing, how could I be? I said, you are just a DOLL!), the power did come back on, other upsetting things happened, and here we are.  I did finally understand something about life, however, which WILL have to wait for the next episode.  Just inch back into your chair, it won’t be too long.

Chop wood, carry water

The Partner is doing the chopping; I did the water carrying.  Soon, we have to go down off the hill, which I figured costs us a minimum of $5 in gas each time, because our phone is out of order and there isn’t any cel reception up here to speak of.  It’s all in the exhausting nature of life here which does have the effect of keeping one FLEXIBLE.  Gumby-esque, you might say.  I had things planned for Monday, for example, but now I have to be here all day waiting for the Phone Company to show up.  So that means I need to do something else on my list Monday.  Which means the errands I had planned for Tuesday need partly to be done today.  And so on.  We couldn’t do laundry while the sun was out because….hahahaha!!! there wasn’t any water.  And so on.

The Business Issues continue but with my new Carefree, Relaxed Attitude, do I care that I have orders to get out that are waiting for the New Size Jars since these are all custom things?  And that the label issue, much as I tried to do an end run around it, required certain large purchases to be made.   At least we got a “free” shredder thrown in. ( It says “LIGHT DUTY” on it; the Partner asked what that meant, and I figure it means this shredder is not for corporate use, right? ) However and, with my excellent New Design and Brain Consulting Staff, I think that while there will certainly be lots of cursing and stepping on the Screaming Doormat (which last uttered a spontaneous and un-stepped upon scream as we were walking out into the eclipse to drive to the Christmas Fair), ultimately it will all be better.

It finally snowed in the mountains and at last, there is snow on both Lassen and Shasta which glows spectacularly in the sunsets.  The other mountains had snow, and were wreathed in fog and clouds which gave them the appearance of floating, until the snow largely melted.  The frogs are coming out to sing, and the gray squirrel was out front this morning, first facing us eating an acorn so that his white stomach glowed like a beacon.  Then he turned around and we watched his little head and ears as he padded around foraging.  The manzanitas are blooming, too- the pink ones always come out first.

You could almost think everything is alright.  But in the words of the songwriter Tod Snyder, everything is not alright.  As in the song I heard, wherein he described being about to crash his car.

I spent a whole day last week with a friend, going to the doctor first and then to the lab where in theory lab tests were to be done.  The high point was seeing the miniature donkeys on the way home, besides getting to hang out with my friend of course.  The low point?  All the rest of it.

WHICH.  We will summarize because really?  I’m starting to see how things really are intimately connected even though the Average Citizen is doing their darndest not to see it.  And it’s really exhausting.  But the medical establishment in the country?  The war on drugs?  The prison system which has been privatized?  All connected.  Directly.  And it is all about profit, Gentle Reader, not to put too fine a point on it.  We were told, point blank, that surgeons in particular and physicians in general in this area will not take on patients who do not have health insurance.  Because why?  Because their insurance carriers have determined that people who don’t have insurance and pay cash are more likely to file malpractice suits.  A get rich quick scheme we were told.  Which told me off the top that nobody knows their right from their left here.   Lawsuits are no longer “quick” in this state with the budget cuts to the courts.  There are caps on malpractice settlements.  Then we were told that these same individuals (lowlifes was the implication) were “no better off financially twelve months later” than they were before because they “can’t manage money”.   Apart from the fact that if they did manage to get a settlement, a pretty large portion of it would go to their attorney.  And to taxes.  But, hey!  It’s all about money management, right?  So, if you don’t have insurance FOR WHATEVER REASON?  and you get sick?  Sayonara, where’s the airport.  Also, if you refuse the Pharma Platter suggested to you, no further assistance will be rendered.  If they think you’re too sick to benefit from said Pharma Platter, even if you have insurance, you’ll be let die- and I personally witnessed this with a client.  It blew my mind, really.  I was shocked that in a society where many people seem to think abortion is wrong, adults are let die because….because,  it seems, they are no longer profitable.  So, in essence, the insurance and pharmaceutical industries control the sort of medical and health care you get in this country.

The war on drugs? Links directly to the Prison issue, and they both go directly to: Profits for Corporations, Pharmaceutical, and now, “Corrections”.  People can be as loaded as all get out on vicodin, xanax, oxycontin, whatever their doctor will prescribe.  But smoke marijuana and you’re in the slammer for a long time.  You are depriving Pharma of their due profits, after all.  So then you go to prison, and the prisons? Are largely for profit corporate entities now.  The simple math:  More prisoners mean more money coming in.  Fewer services for those prisoners means the more money can be turned into profit instead of used for the betterment of society by educating prisoners and helping them improve their lives.  I mean, really.  Explain to me how you can throw somebody in jail for ten years and they come out worse than when they went in.  Plus they can’t: vote, rent a place to live, get a job.  And for extra fun they’ve got a mountain of debt for their jail term.  Nelson Mandela got a huge bill from the South African government for his term of incarceration, and so do many of the spider web tattooed guys you see on the street from time to time.  It becomes a revolving door situation: There’s nothing for them to do on the outside and they’re money makers on the inside.  Adam Gopnick has written an excellent article in the January 30 issue of THE NEW YORKER on the subject of prisons, and it is something everyone should read.  We have, apparently, more people in prison than were in Stalin’s gulags.  The racial composition of prisons is another, sickening, subject.  And the War on Drugs, which when you look at it goes pretty much directly back to not only the Pharmaceutical industry which militates against anything they aren’t selling themselves,  but also the endemic corruption in law enforcement (they can get money for broad swathes of drug arrests, for example).

So, as much as we’d all like to deny that we’re sitting on top of a mountain of excrement which is about to sink under it’s own nasty weight, it’s still the actual case.  It doesn’t seem like it would be all that difficult to undo either….but that would mean a restructuring of things and profit would have to go, as it is currently understood and manifested.  Surplus ? To be used consciously to improve whatever the purpose of the initial means of production?  A more workable concept.  (the Partner, again.)

We’ll be back to recipes next time I think.  All this tough sledding has made me cook like a maniac.