Wednesday, October 21, 2015

chuck and joe and gas strike

In the late sixties, in Chicago, there were sometimes such serious gas shortages that people could not get gas.  At a couple points, there were gas strikes, with gas stations shut down all over the city.  Dad has grown up 'back of the yards', in one of Chicago's oldest neighborhoods and within a few blocks of Comiskey, or White Sox, Park. Grandpa lived in that house near White Sox Park until he died.

People who had gas in their cars drove as litle as possible. Suddenly all the men took the bus or commuter train to work. In those days, many, even most, women did not work outside the home and the majority of households had one car. So if dad took the bus to work, mom had the car. And sometimes my dad took the bus to work so mom could have the car. It aint easy doing a grocery run with two or three kids without a car.

During these gas strikes, however, mom didn't drive the car. My folks guarded what gas they had in their tank for unforeseeable emergencies.

Those gas strikes scared me, although I did not disclose my fear to anyone. I worried about what would happen if gas never came back. I imagined riots. It was not so strange that a thirteen year old girl in Chicago in 1967 or 68 might fear riots.  Chicago had its share of riots.

There were two or three gas strikes, when no gas was sold for just a few days. This left Chicago on edge, tense.  Parents cautioned their children to not go far from home because there was no gas to pick them up if they came to feel stranded somewhere.

So when my brother Chuck came up with a plan to go to a Cubs game, which is on the North Side of Chicago and we lived on the far South Side, both my parents strongly objected. Neither of my parents ever stood up to Chuck, a puzzle that still works me. He could pummel his younger siblings, including me, right in front of our folks and they would do nothing. Once, after our parents had divorced and I was in college, as was Chuck, I asked my dad why he continued to allow adult-age Chuck to beat up our brother Tom, who had stayed with dad after the divorce. Dad bleated his response, squealing, "What would you have me do?"  Dad did not wring his hands but he might as well have. I sw that my dad felt helpless and maybe ashamed of his completely inability to stand up to his first born son.  My sister and I eventually took to calling Chuck the first born penis, which infurited everyone but pleased she and I. At the time my brothers Chuck and Joe were jumped outside a darkened Comisky Park, my sister was an infant or, maybe, not yet born. In this exchange with dad, I left out the first born penis line. When dad said "What would you have me do?", I said, with a question in my inflection, "Act like a parent?" My dad was furious but also shamed. He opened and closed his hands a few times, he became beet red, he opened and closed his mouth as if he were trying to think of something to say.

Flannery and I came up with our first born penis insights much later, when she and I were both mothers. She is fourteen years younger than me. I did not dare to speak the word penis when I was fourteen, much less use it to frame any conversation with my baby sister.

I stood there feeling powerful, staring right at dad's eyes, hoping he would say something, anything, that acnowledged that not only was Chuck a vicious bully to all the rest of us five other kids, our parents had never once tried to stop his bullying.

in the end, dad slunk away, saying nothing, my words 'act like a parent' seemed to hang in the kitchen, to me, for days.

My parents pleaded with Chuck not to go to that ball game on the North Side. Buses were unreliable transportation because gas was hard to come by, even for public transit.  There were the 'L' trains but we did not live anywhere near an "L" train stop.

It must have been some special game. Or maybe Chuck the Fuck couldn't resist flouting his poor judgment, couldn't resist having a kind of willful tantrum, doing something precisely because it was so completely inappropriate.

In a disingenuous effort to assuage my parents' anxiety over Chuck's plan to take the "L" up to Wrigley Field on the North Side, where the Cubs still play, Chuck said he would take Joe with him. Chuck was 14, Joe was 12. I was, not that it matters to the story, 13.

Chuck said Dad could drive the boys to the L platform a few miles from our home and then come pick the boys up later. Dad said "But i have almost no gas. I don't think i have enough gas to make the trip twice."

Chuck dismissed dad's gas concern by saying "Well, if you don't have gas to come get us after the game, we'll take the "L" to 35th STreet and walk to Grandpa's, spend the night and Grandpa can drive us home in the morning. Chuck actually had called Grandpa to commandeer grandpa's gas. My paternal grandfather indulged Chuck the same way my parents did. I think my sister and I had nailed the situation when we finally took to referring to Chuck as the first born penis.

The first born penis could do no wrong. The first born penis, a son, a male, was so superior to first or second born daughters, and later born sons were nice enough but nothing compared to the first born penis, we reasoned as we came up with our own mythology to explain our parents puzzling tolerance of Chuck's truly vicious bullying towards all their other children.

So the first born penis headed off to that Cubs game. When the game was over, he called my dad, who had to tell him that he didn't have enough gas to pick Chuck and Joe up from any "L" station. Chuck, calmly in charge as always, declared he would go with his plan to get off the "L" at 35th Street and walk the several blocks to grandpa's.  I don't think he obtained grandpa's permission to do this. Fourteen year old Chuck always acted like he was in charge and he just took charge. Even of our grandfather. A first born penis in our clan can do that.

Grandpa did not live all that close to the 35th Street "L" station, which is right on the corner where Comiskey Park is. I believe the White Sox field has a new name these days but in my childhood, it was Comiskey Park.

The thing about 35th Street, back in the sixties and for decades before the sixties, was that it was one of Chicago's many racial borders.  If white people walked on the north side of 35th Street, they were virtually always robbed and or assaulted by black gangs. If blacks walked on the south side of 35h Street, they were virtually always robbed and/or assault by white gangs. Chicago had many such racial boundaries as I grew up. It was known, for decades, as the most racially seregated city in the North. Many, many blacks had moved to Chicago from the South to escape the deeper racism of the South in those days, plus for the jobs. All the country's railroads intersected in Chicago, so lots of railroad jobs. Municipal jobs:  bus drivers, garbagemen, school janitors. And the stockyards.  Chicago is no longer the capital of cattle slaughtering but it was the nation's capital for the buying and selling and butchering of cattle. The stockyards.

As kids, whenever we drove with our parents to see grandpa, we always paid attention as we approved an overpass that took us over endless stockyards, cattle as far as we could see. At a certain point, we'd catch a whiff of the cattle stench. We loved the smell. For us, it meant we were almost at Grandpa's and we all adored our grandpa. My mother hated the way we chattered about the smell, eagerly awaiting it and then gleefully sniffing it and giggling about it. It was, as mom often complained about us, ill mannered. So what, mom! It was fun.

I guess Chuck was not as all knowing as he believed himself to be. I think in his nasty arrogance, he didn't believe he could ever be hurt, or ever be at risk. He certainly faced no risk in our family or in our neighborhood. Every kid in our parish was afraid of Chuck Fitzpatrick, even when he was younger and there were bigger, older boys around.  He did get to do pretty much whatever he wanted because all kids feared him.

So Chuck and Joe got off the "L" train at 35th Street and walked west, intending to take a left turn to the south in three blocks past Comiskey Park. They walked, in ignorance, on the north side of 35th Street.

I guess word passes quickly on streets that are stalked by thugs and gang members for my brothers had walked no more than a block when they were set upon by a group of about eight boys. These eight boys were no older than my brothers. They were all just kids.

My brothers immediately offered to hand over whatever money they had on them but one of those black kids said "We don't want your money. We are out to kill a couple white boys tonight." Then the black kids set upon my brothers, with younger Joe getting the worst of it. At some point, Chuck broke free and was getting away, abandoning Joe. Later, Chuck got some grief for ditching Joe but my dad said Chuck had done the right thing, that he could not have saved Joe and he might as well has done what he could to save himself.

Joe was being beaten by all those black kids, with Chuck having sprinted half way down the block, no longer being attacked when a fire truck crew, returning from a fire, saw what was happening. The firemen, and they were all male firefighters in those days, stopped, told my brothers, in turn, to get into the truck. The firemen drove back to their station and let my brothers' call our grandfather. Grandpa swung by to get his grandsons. No one had enough gas to get the boys home to our house that night.

I don't recall any mention of anyone calling the police.

The gas shortage ended the next day. Mom gassed up and brought some treats to the firehouse, to the men who had very likely saved her sons' lives.

Joe had been badly beaten. One of his eyes was damaged, he lost significant eyesight in it. That eyesight never came back and his eye has faint scars from the attack.

Chuck, as he always arrogantly expected, was unscathed. And neither parent yelled at him.

I remember yelling at him silently in my head, angry that he had put himself and my dear little Joe, my Irish Twin, at risk just for a baseball game.

I don't think it was a special game. I think the whole situation came about so Chuck could show, to himself, that he ruled his world.

Plus, what South Sider was a Cubs fan? Chuck being a Cub's fan was a stain on our family's reputation!

The firemen told mom that they believed the boys who had said they just wanted to kill white boys that night had been trying to kill white boys for a gang initiation. If that were true, the firemen said, the boys had no choice but to find and kill some white boys.

And, of course, the firemen said my brothers' had been fools to walk down 35th Street, on the right side or the wrong side. "This is one of the most dangerous stretches in Chicago? Why would you let your sons out like this? With the gas strike, tensions are higher and this street is never a safe place to walk at night for anyone."

I doubt that my mom or dad talked to the cops about Chuck's demanding behavior. I bet my parents clucked in agreement with those firemen, took responsibility for their boys being out on that unsafe street late at night during the tension of a gas strike. I doubt they told those firemen that no one, not even the largest male teachers at our school, had ever been able to handle Chuck.

In a somewhat unusual kind of replay, about 20 years later, while I was married, my now-ex-husband and I visited. My dad loved to go to any pro sporting events and my ex had grown up in Omaha, with no pro sports teams. Frank had also grown up poor and never saw any pro sports games until we started dating. It was as if Frank had never considered that while living in Minneapolis, he could go to a Vikings game, or a Twins game or the Kicks, the short lived pro soccer game and, Frank's favorite, the Minnesota North Stars Hockey. So we went to lots of games as we dated.

And Frank was like a kid in a candy store when he got to visit Chicago and go to pro sports games in Chicago, which was much more impressive to Frank than Minneapolis. It was a win win. None of my dad's sons ever went to games with him after they left home for college.   When we came to town, our trips were planned around whatever team was playing.

My dad was also a Cubs fan, also betraying his back of the yards upbringing, but he loved any pro game of any sport.

I guess Frank and I visited my dad when the White Sox were playing and the Cubs weren't. So Frank and my dad went to a White Sox game. As they left the game, dad wasn't sure where he had parked the car. Frank later told me that they had walked just a few steps down the wrong street when my dad whispered "Look out Frank, we're in trouble. The car isn't on this street and we shouldn't be here."

Just then, a small group of black kids, about the same age as the kids who had attacked my brothers long before, stepped out in front of Frank and my dad and the little kid, who was in the front, pointed, then cocked, a 357 Magnum at my dad's face.

Dad called out, "Run Frank" And Frank ran. He had been a state championship sprinter in high school. When dad said run, Frank was gone, like a jackrabbit. Then my dad turned and started shuffling as fast as he could. He had had his stroke by then and his left side was partially paralyzed. He could not run.

Dad dropped his wallet, the kids stopped chasing him to seize the wallet. When dad got to the corner, Frank was waiting and whining about his shame, telling dad he never should have run away and left dad. I had to listen to Frank defend that spring a thousand times. I don't think I ever said much.  It was my belief, then and now, that if those kids had wanted to shoot my dad and Frank, they would have and running away and leaving my dad did not actually put my dad in greater jeopardy. As a daughter who loved her father, a man who had been very very good to Frank, I was appalled that Frank had abandoned my dad. I said nothing when Frank would obsessively go over and over the story, his sprint. I had learned by then that my severely OCD husband had to tell his stories over and over and over and that my best play when he got obsessed was to just let him run down.

Some of my brothers gave Frank grief for running off and leaving dad. Chuck had the balls to weigh in, admonishing Frank for doing what Chuck had done when Chuck had sprinted away from Joe.

The day after those kids pointed that 357 magnum at my dad, a black woman who lived on that block called. She had found his wallet and offered to return it. He went to pick it up to get his driver's license. She apologized that it had no money in it and assured dad she had not removed any. My dad told her "I know you didn't take any money. I never kept money in my wallet, not in this city. I had $400 in my shoe last night. All those kids found in my wallet were receipts, coupons, paper to stuff it and make it look full."

My dad would carry car fare in his pocket. And he always put his bills in his shoes.

Monday, October 19, 2015

crimes stories from my family life

I grew up on Chicago's South Side when Chicago was known as the most racially stratefied and segregated city in the north.  There were unwritten rules about which streets which races could be safe on and which ones not. Chicago has changed a lot since I graduated from h.s. in 1971, left for college and never lived there again (altho most of my family of origin still does and I visit regularly). My childhood neighborhood is now all hispanic, with all the business signs in Spanish!

A few, but not all, examples of crimes members of my family of origin experienced in Chicago in sixties, seventies and eighties:

* Once, during a gasoline strike, two of my brothers took the 'L' from the SouthSide to Wrigley Field to see a Cubs game.  After the game, they called my folks, learned my parents had no gas to pick them up at the not-very-near 'L' station so they decided to exit at 35th Street, which happens to be where the White Sox ball park is, then called Comisky Park but I believe the White Sox field has a different name now. My grandpa lived on 44th street, so about 9 blocks from the "L' station. 35th street was a strict racial line, with whites safe on the southside of the street and blacks safe on the north side. My brothers, then age 12 and 14, were not aware of this and walked along 35th street, intending to turn south after walking a block or so along 35th St.  They were suddenly surrounded by a bunch of young black males who hit them. My brothers offered to give all their money but the black guys, about my brothers' ages, said "No, we don't want money. We want to kill a white boy tonight." So my brothers tried to run, the asailltants chased them. And my brothers very likely would have been killed if a fire truck crew, returning from fighting a fire had not seen two white boys running and chased by a half dozen or so black boys. All just kids. The fire truck picked up my brothers and took them to the firehouse My grandpa drove over to claim them.  This was a clear instance of young blacks, around 1967, assaulting, with a stated intent to kill, victims solely because they were white. The firemen speculated that the black boys had been undergoing a gang initiation. This really happened and I still believe that if those fire fighters had not picked up my brothers, they would have been killed, or at least one of them. My older bro had broken away from the pack and the black boys were pounding on my younger brother. That younger brother's left eye was badly damaged, he lost significant vision in that eye. My older bro got a lot of grief from my dad for abandoning his brother but, even now, and even tho I much dislike my older bro, I think it was okay that he tried to save himself, that he had no duty to sacrifice himself. And the story had a happy ending. My mom brought baked treats to that firehouse for months afterwards, to thank them for saving her two oldest sons' lives.

* In 1981, visiting Chicago with my then-husband, he and my dad went to a White Sox game. Dad was unsure where he had parked his car, he and my husband began to walk on the wrong side of 35th street, just about on the same spot wehre my brothers had been set upon by a group of young, black criminals. A little boy, who my dad guessed was no more than ten year sold, stepped in front of my dad, with a group of his pals circling my dad and husband, pointed a 356 magnum right at my dad's face. My dad said 'Run, Bob" and my husband, a state h.s. champion sprinter, was gone, like a rocket.  My dad also shuffled away but his left leg was partially paralyzed. Like my older brother had done a couple decades before, my ex was able to break away. He also later got some grieve for abandoning my dad but my dad said he had done the right thing, no point in both of them getting beat up or shot. As dad shuffled to get away, he dropped his wallet. The kids stopped chasing him because they weren't out to kill anyone, they were conducting an armed robbery. The wallet stopped the kids from chasing dad, dad caught up with my ex, they found the car and got away. The next morning, a woman who lived on the block, a black woman, called my dad for she had found his wallet with his driver's license. she said she was sorry his money was gone but my dad was able to tell her that his wallet had no money in it. My dad had grown up in that neighborhood, 'back of the yards' (stockyards), lived in Chicago always and never carried more than a few dollar in his pockets, none in his wallet. He kept larger bills in his shoe, always. And he kept his wallet looking fat by stuffing it with receipts. It worked that day!

* Once while approaching the "L" platform at 95th Street, far south side of Chicago, I saw a black man throw a white man over the railing onto the Dan Ryan Freeway below, which was 8 to ten lanes of rush hour cars. I could hear the guy's body getting crushed. That murderer was mentally deranged. He kept screaming that he was going to kill all the white people he saw. A bunch of black men tackled him but, gosh, I was terrified for a few moments. I was the only white person left on that bridge over the Dan Ryan and if that guy really was going to kill the next white person he saw, it would have been me.

*Once, walking home around 10 p.m. from her part time evening job at a department store (to pay her college tuition while raising six kids), my mom saw a car pull up, a car with several black men in it and dump a body about half a block ahead of her. She was terrified, not sure the guy was dead until she walked past him. He was black, as were the men in the car.  It was a forlorn stretch, my mom had been unwise to walk home but she had missed one bus and the walk was faster than waiting. Going to college full time, working part time and dealing with the household chores of raising six kids, she probably just wanted to be home to bed a few minutes sooner. I thought it odd back then (I was about sixteen) and I still do that mom never reported anything to the polite. She considered it, talked to my dad who was at work that evening, and he ordered her not to, said if she reported it, those men in the car might track her down.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

friendship david whyte

is a mirror to presence and a testament to forgiveness. Friendship not only helps us see ourselves through another’s eyes, but can be sustained over the years only with someone who has repeatedly forgiven us for our trespasses as we must find it in ourselves to forgive them in turn. A friend knows our difficulties and shadows and remains in sight, a companion to our vulnerabilities more than our triumphs, when we are under the strange illusion we do not need them. An undercurrent of real friendship is a blessing exactly because its elemental form is rediscovered again and again through understanding and mercy. All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness. Without tolerance and mercy all friendships die.
In the course of the years a close friendship will always reveal the shadow in the other as much as ourselves, to remain friends we must know the other and their difficulties and even their sins and encourage the best in them, not through critique but through addressing the better part of them, the leading creative edge of their incarnation, thus subtly discouraging what makes them smaller, less generous, less of themselves.
Friendship is the great hidden transmuter of all relationship: it can transform a troubled marriage, make honorable a professional rivalry, make sense of heartbreak and unrequited love and become the newly discovered ground for a mature parent-child relationship.
The dynamic of friendship is almost always underestimated as a constant force in human life: a diminishing circle of friends is the first terrible diagnostic of a life in deep trouble: of overwork, of too much emphasis on a professional identity of forgetting who will be there when our armored personalities run into the inevitable natural disasters and vulnerabilities found in even the most ordinary existence…
Friendship transcends disappearance: an enduring friendship goes on after death, the exchange only transmuted by absence, the relationship advancing and maturing in a silent internal conversational way even after one half of the bond has passed on.
But no matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.
CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment
and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
© David Whyte & Many Rivers Press

musings on lincoln and recent civil war propaganda

I have noticed, in the past several years, a lot of media attention given to the Civil War and Lincoln. The NYTimes ran  a series, with regular articles for a year or more, about the Civil War and Lincoln. These pieces rarely referenced slavery.

I wonder what propaganda goal might be behind contemporary media reporting on the Civil War and Lincoln. And then, the movie you review above.

I suspect, but have no actual data to support my suspicion, that this Civil War/Lincoln propaganda is related to reminding whites of the Old South, of times when whites dominated more completely than now.  I suspect this propaganda, and I sincerely believe it is deliberately seeded propaganda and that major media outlets as well as right wing obscure media (obscure, at least, to this old lefty) are directly related to the fact that whites will not be the majority in the not-far-off future. I suspect this propaganda was deliberately planted, and more will be planted, to inflame (is it subtle?  I am not sure . .. I began taking note of Civil War and Lincoln stories as soon as I read my second Civil War article in a news media.

I have never articulated my observations about the sudden splash of Civil War and Lincoln stories to anyone. Is the NSA paying attention here?!

Do I come across as a loopie conspiracy nut?!  I don't care if I do.  I do believe 'we' can no longer trust the news or the media, not much of it. I believe there are both government and corporate propagandists seeded throughout our society. I don't think ordinary people can know what to beleive or who to trust, not easily.  If that makes me a conspiracy nut, I accept that mantle.

This Civil War/Lincoln propaganda was going on before Trayvon Martin was murdered by a violent racist for walking while black with Skittles in his pocket. And before the news was suddenly full of the constant cop murders of blacks, often for just being black, like that guy in NYC selling individual cigarettes and getting killed by cops by putting him in a choke hold. There is no end to these murders. And we don't hear much about the fact that more Native Americans are killed regularly by cops (proportionate to their percentage of the population) than blacks so I guess our government and corporations don't see Native Americans as an impediment to their agendas. Why are blacks an impediment? Are blacks and impediment or are they the contemporary equivalent of the practice in ancient Rome of buildilng great coliseums, drawing hordes of the populace and then pitting humans against lions for entertainment.

There is a great George Orwell quote about how governments use large sporting events to subdue the people. It's a bit like the scene in The Wizard of Oz where the man behind the curtain tells Dorothy to ignore the man behind the curtain and only focus on what that man is projecting onto a screen. And that reminds me of Plato's cave.  Or was it Socrates' cave?! I first read about that cave when I was about 12 and I was astonished.  "Real" life is not necessary:  just keep the masses focused on something, distract them from what corporations and governments are doing to humans and our home.

A good friend is almost done with a science fiction novel in which human bodies are no longer needed. Sometimes in this sci fi world, what appear to be human physical bodies are seen but no one really knows what is real and 'people' are a cluster of thoughts, feelings, but have no physical material reality . . . unless they choose to take on some physical materiality reality for some purpose. Humans being replaced by technology has been foretold for a long time, ever since that cave, I guess.  I just read yesterday that MIT or some other top university is developing technology that will be better than human intuition as intuiting.

How did I get here from Lincoln?  Propaganda is seeded into our minds unless we do like the Unabomber, build a tiny house in the middle of no where  That man seems mentally ill but if one believes, as Patrice Malidomo Somé, PhD from Michigan, says in his first bestseller about his childhood in Burkina Faso, he was quite surprised when he came to the West and discovered that the West treats people as mentally ill when they show signs that, in his homeland, are considered indications that the person is beginning to develop shamanic skills. The Unabomber's basic beliefs about what is wrong with human culture actually are close to what I believe.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

sensitive peeps and eeyore

chicken curry recipe


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil, like canola
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, approximately 2 inches long
  • 2 large white or yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 2 1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated or minced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 green cayenne or jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into half-moons
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons puréed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons whole-milk yogurt, plus 1 cup to serve with the meal
  • 1 ¾ to 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper, or to taste.
  • Nutritional Information


  1. Melt the butter or ghee in the oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat, and when it is hot and shimmering, add the cumin seeds and cinnamon sticks. Cook for a minute or two, stirring often, to intensify their flavors, then add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are golden, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put the ginger, garlic and peppers into a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt, and smash them together into a coarse paste. (You can also do this on a cutting board, with a knife.)
  3. Add the paste to the onions, and cook for 2 minutes or so, then pour in the tomatoes, and stir. Allow to cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, then add the tomato paste, ground cumin, ground turmeric and another pinch of salt, and stir to combine.
  4. Add the yogurt slowly to the mixture, using a wooden spoon to whisk it into the sauce. It may be quite thick. When it begins to bubble, add the chicken. Lower the heat, put the lid on the Dutch oven and allow the curry to cook gently for 30 minutes or so, or until the chicken is cooked through. Add the almonds and the garam masala, along with a pinch of cayenne, and cook for 5 minutes more or so. Serve with basmati rice or naan, and the additional yogurt.

deep rest: depressed

Friday, October 16, 2015

our money system incompatible with our needs

from my friend Fernanda's twitter feed -- a profound, simple, accurate framing. We have a system of money that is incompatible with who we are.

We created a system of money incompatible with our evolutionary capacity. -Stuart Valentine

tree draft

My maternal grandmother started calling me Tree on the day I was born. My mom had taken the train, eight months pregnant, in July 1953 with my one year old 'big' brother from Chicago to Mitchell, South Dakota. Mom grew up there, raised by devout Catholics. Mom wanted to leave my dad. What did a woman who dropped out of college to marry do to support two babies? Childcare centers didn't really exist. Mom reasoned that if she moved back home, her folks could help with her babies while she figured out a way to support herself and her two babies. My grandparents, and I always picture them in my mental pictures of this story dressed in dark, hooded Druid robes that hide their faces, with the fat draped sleeves hiding their smugly folded hands. My grandfather, a very tall man (6'6" ish), in this mental movie, is pointing eastward, standing on the train platform as he and my grandmother send my mother back to her doom. Mom went on to have six more full term pregnancies. She returned in 1954 to birth my Irish Twin, my bro Joe and once again pleaded with her folks for help leaving my dad. Dad was a gambler and a woman with three babies could not easily go out and get a job to feed her babies and sometimes she couldn't feed her babies cause dad gambled his paychecks at the track. Dad loved the ponies.  Rambling, eh? My grandparents had told my mother that it would be a sin for them to help mom break her sacramental vows of marriage, that they could not help her.

I am pretty sure my mom was pretty unhappy. I also am pretty sure she loved her beautiful new born baby daughter but I think some bad energy got mixed up in my mother's love for me, a natural maternal love. I think some part of her, perhaps unconsciously, blamed me. If I hadn't been born, she might have escaped her marriage with just the one kid.  Something happened in my earliest days and weeks and I think it was my

novel idea

a novel of caste, money, social classes like Henry James, Jane Austen and Fitzgerald only my style. . . set in Berkeley  . . . .

characters:  shirley dean, moni law, kelly, zelda, osha, kenoli, robert reich

parties in the hills, parties in the flats

fall has come

fall has come
life has not restarted
I am brokenhearted
I do not wish to live

each day as I wake up
no thought of make up
I don't say a little prayer
I curse that I am alive

I begin each day in anger
which I know is no damned good
but it is what is

blood tests and oatmeal

I needed to get some blood tests done and I had to be fasting since midnight. The earliest appointment I had been able to get at the lab was 10 a.m. I awoke around 6 a.m. I was hungry. I tested. My glucose was okay but if I didn't eat until some time after 10, I'd have had to inject insulin. This keeps my glucose down but I feel wicked sick when I go too long without eating.

So I'm sitting here, looking at the time every half minute or so, calculating how long I had to wait to head to the lab.  By 7 a.m. I was feeling queasy and sickly with a, for me, rare headache. Then it hit me:  I could go to the lab, which opened at 7, and just wait until they worked me in, which would definitely be longer before 10.

I only had to wait about 30 minutes. I was blessed. A woman who had an appointment at 7:15 didn't get seen until 8:15, whereas I arrived there about 8 and was out of there by 8:30 without an appointment.

Then I walked over to the Ashby Whole Foods to get some protein off their hot food breakfast bar. Throughout October, this particular Whole Foods is selling pint=sized carton of hot, fresh, plain oatmeal for a quarter. Of course I snatched up cheap oatmeal. It was piping hot but by the time I had ridden the bus home, it had cooled off. I added some old dried cherries, some cinnamon and ginger. I was gonna add coconut milk but I didn't have any made and I didn't want to open an aseptic carton of cocomilk. I save those aseptic cartons for when I am away from home for a few days.

And here it is, not yet 10 a.m. and I am home, happily sated with gluten-free comforting oatmeal and dried cherries. If I had waited for the 10 o'clock appointment, I would have been pretty sick at 10 and then needed the rest of the day to recover.

Oh. .  . I know this is boring but the moment that I realized "I can go early without an appointment and eat sooner" was so lovely.

Plus I met a young physicist, getting her doc at UC, waiting for the bus.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

if . . . .

If you want to read my blog, send me a request at tree (dot) fitzpatrick at gmail (dot) com and I will add you to the list of readers granted access to read.

I am not blogging nearly as much as I have tended to do. I am immersed in a large writing project, investing much of my energy in my work. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

internet troll
In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion,[3] often for their own amusement.

how to be alone

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Steiner foresaw the cancer that is capitalism

More and more articles will be produced, more and more factories will be built. No one now asks, ‘How many articles are needed?’ as was formerly the case, when the tailors in the town only made a suit when someone ordered it. The need then determined the numbers to be made; but now they are produced for the market; the various wares are piled up as much as possible. [….] Things are now produced for the market regardless of the amount required […] – all that is produced is piled up in warehouses and governed by the money market, and then the producers wait to see how many are bought. This tendency will grow greater and greater until it destroys itself…
Source: Rudolf Steiner- GA 153 – The Inner Nature of Man and Life Between Death and Rebirth – Lecture 6 – Vienna April 14, 1914

today I rise, wise at heart

where are you little girl
with broken wings
but full of hope
where are you wisewoman
covered in wounds
where are you
where are you
where are you

Today is the day I will not sit still
I won't give in anymore
Today I rise
I will be bruised
but I will get up and walk again
today I rise
I don't care if you ignore my beauty
Today I rise
through the alchemy of my darkest nights
I heal and thrive

today I rise
today I rise
today I rise

I move through the world
with confidence and grace
I open my eyes
and I am ready to face
my holiness as a woman
and my limitless capacities
I will walk my path with audacity

today I rise
I reconnect with the many
aspects of myself
I am in awe of the reality
I can't react

I am a queen
I am a healer
a wise woman
a wild woman

I will rise and be
I am rabid
I will wake up and fight
I am a mother
and I am a child

I will no longer disguise my sadness and pain
I will no longer suffer and complain
I am black and I am white
there is no reason to hide

where are you
where are you
where are you
where are you

I call upon Kali to kiss my life
I transform my anger into power
no more heartache, or strife
the world is missing what I am ready to give
my wisdom, my sweetness, my love

I weave with the earth and the trees and the rivers in distress
I rise and shine and I am ready to go on my quest
today I rise without doubt or hesitation
today I rise without excuses, without procrastination
today I call upon my sisters to join a movement of resoluteness
and concern

Today is my call to action
I will fulfill my mission without further distraction
Today is the day
today I will start
to offer the world
the wisdom of my heart

we must love one another or die

written by Auden, who was one of the leftists who tried to sound the alarm about Hitler long before his home England stood up and fought WWII. And, it is said, many soldiers read poetry, read Auden. How lovely to think of soldiers reading 'we must love one another or die'

 September 1, 1939

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.
Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.
Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.
Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism’s face
And the international wrong.
Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.
The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.
From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
‘I will be true to the wife,
I’ll concentrate more on my work,’
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the dead,
Who can speak for the dumb?
All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.
Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

even after all this time

"Even after all this time
the sun never says to the earth,
'You owe me.'
Look what happens with a love like that.
It lights the whole world." - Hafiz

I love as the sun does. For always and ever.

maybe my favorite Auden poem

The More Loving One, by W. H. Auden

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.
How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

between you and everything

just because

"Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to, doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have." Anonymous

kingdom of darkness overcome by kingdom of light

The profound thought that lies in this is that the kingdom of darkness has to be overcome by the kingdom of light, not by means of punishment, but through mildness; not by resisting evil, but by uniting with it in order to redeem evil as such. Because a part of the light enters into evil, the evil itself is overcome.”
                                                                   ~Rudolf Steiner

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

suffering a side effect of spiritual development

"Suffering is a side effect of higher development. We cannot avoid it in attaining insight. Human beings will one day say to themselves: 'I am grateful for the joy the world gives me, but if I had to face the choice of keeping my joys or my sufferings, I would want to keep my sufferings for the sake of gaining insight.' Every suffering presents itself after a certain time as something we cannot do without, because we have to grasp it as part of the development contained within evolution. There is no development without suffering, just as there is no triangle without angles. When unison with Christ is attained, we will see that all the preceding sufferings were necessary preconditions for this unison. In order for the union with Christ to be, suffering must be; it is an absolute factor in development.
     By overcoming egotism, human beings get over the mood of depression and feeling lamed or paralyzed. In this phenomenon we can see something that is good: strength out of insufficiency or inadequacy. Thank God that I am encouraged by an inadequate deed--that is, by its failure--to further action! Human striving is not a vague matter of luck. Only those whose free will turns away from the destiny of the human being remain unredeemed. In the synthesis of the world process, suffering is a factor."

--Rudolf Steiner, April 21, 1909. In The Spiritual Hierarchies and the Physical World, 2008 edition, p. 147

brick by impeccable brick

we started off pure gold

We started off pure gold, then people began

polluting us when we were too young

to fight back.

If a jeweler now examined you he might exclaim,

"What happened to you? You turned into pyrite!"

Don't be worried by such a candid remark; don't

let it depress you for there is a way

to reverse this process. Everything I write gives

practical clues, clues, clues!

poem by Rumi

a Smurfette puzzle

Once my daughter, age two, begged me to let her buy a blue Smurfette puzzle for her father for xmas. we were in the midst of an acrimonious custody battle. I tried to talk her out of that puzzle because I knew my husband, knew he would think I had not wanted to buy him a real gift. Sure enough, he voiced anger, altho only to me, for giving him such a stupid gift. I felt sorry for him that he could not see that she had bought him something she thought was very wonderful, that she had chosen a very special gift for him. Her favorite doll at the time was the blue Smurfette, which her daddy gave her, and she had with her at all times. I never would have bought her a doll based on a cartoon but I was not going to deny her that Smurfette because it came from her dad. The love connection between her Smurfette doll and that Smurfette puzzle was obvious to me. He grumbled about the puzzle repeatedly.  He didn't get that it was chosen in love.  He thought I had coached her to give him a crappy Christmas gift.She thought she had given him a very special gift, reasoning he must love Smurfette since he gave hera Smurfette.  Men.

thomas barry's new story

living with the mystery

I concluded decades ago that I am unlikely to understand the dissonance and mystery in this life. There are many gaps between what I want and believe is possible and what others want and believe is possible. I feel a sense of achievement in accepting the dissonance, the mystery. I used to tear myself apart as I believed my thinking was right.

We live in such a majestically complex universe. It is small thinking to conclude one way is more right than another. Just my opinion. Adamantly insisting one set of beliefs and desires is the one right way seems very limiting and dismissive of others to me.

be first

"Keep feeling the need to be first. But I want you to be first in Love. I want you to be first in moral excellence. I want you to be first in generosity." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Trust that the right people will find you, love you. You will find and love the right people. It's how life works when you let it.

no rest on any step

We are not granted
A rest on any step;
The active person
Must live and strive
From life to life;
As plants renew themselves
From spring to spring,
So humans must rise
Through error to truth,
From fetters into freedom,
Through sickness and through death
To beauty, health, and life.

Rudolf Steiner

a woman speaks by Audre Lorde

A Woman Speaks
By Audre Lorde
Moon marked and touched by sun
my magic is unwritten
but when the sea turns back
it will leave my shape behind.
I seek no favor
untouched by blood
unrelenting as the curse of love
permanent as my errors
or my pride
I do not mix
love with pity
nor hate with scorn
and if you would know me
look into the entrails of Uranus
where the restless oceans pound.

I do not dwell
within my birth nor my divinities
who am ageless and half-grown
and still seeking
my sisters
witches in Dahomey
wear me inside their coiled cloths
as our mother did

I have been woman
for a long time
beware my smile
I am treacherous with old magic
and the noon's new fury
with all your wide futures
I am
and not white.

Audre Lorde, “A Woman Speaks” from The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde. Copyright © 1997 by Audre Lorde.

We must learn to reawaken: Thoreau

“The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred million to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face? We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.”
―Henry David Thoreau, Walden

you cannot save people

a holy fire

When you walk across the fields with your mind pure and holy, then from all the stones, and all growing things, and all animals, the sparks of their soul come out and cling to you, and then they are purified and become a holy fire in you." Martin Buber.

a human's work

I believe that ALL human interactions, without exception are about love. Being loving or asking to be loved. Even countries going to war is about asking to be loved, each side asking the other to love them or their ideas or preferences. It really is pretty much what kids learn in good kindergardens.

When I am happy and loving, I can hear even the most unkind, negative comments directed at me and 'hear' the request from that person to be loved. When I am happy and loving, I respond as love.

I don't think anyone creates love. I think love is everywhere and in everything and every being and it is part of our human work to acknowledge everything is intrinsically love.

a side-effect of awesome

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

beauty in the darkest sorrows

If life were a poem to the Universe, I would find beauty in the saying of the darkest sorrows and the arms of my night would overflow with stars."
~ Bernadette Miller

I will not take this risk again

Then again, I might not be able to stop myself. 

I just remembered how, when my marriage to a severely abusive man ended, I decided I wouldn't love anyone but my daughter. I interacted with other humans, like for work, and for Rosie. I talked to her teachers. I got to know the kids she liked best. I had play dates, went to kiddie parties.

Then one day, after I had let her into the gated yard of her daycare center on Omaha (so she was very very young -- we moved away from Omaha when she was 2.3), I was flooded with feelings that I had to acknowledge were love. I loved the wonderful women who took care of her. I loved all the kids that happily greeted her.

I realized that if I was going to do right by my Rosie, I would have to open my heart anew and love everyone she loved. My Rosie dragged me, without knowing it, back to love. A part of me was kicking and screaming. A part of me was glad.

Thank you, my Pure Joy dollykins. Thanks, even though loving always ends up hurting like a muthafucka. I am hurting like a muthafucka right now.

a ruby buried in granite?

You are a ruby embedded in granite.
How long will you pretend it’s not true?
We can see it in your eyes.
Come to the root of the root of your Self.


We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
― Plato

Dorothy Parker, such a card

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.” Dorothy Parker

light will someday split you open

✣ ... Light Will someday split you Open
Even if your life is now a cage.

… Little by little, You will turn into Stars.

Little by little, You will turn into
The whole Sweet, Amorous Universe.

Love will surely burst you Wide Open
Into an unfettered, booming New Galaxy...



“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.” Hermann Hesse

this is it

It's poetry month. Here's a poem I like, by James Broughton, Cannes' winning filmmaker, poet, one of the first Radical Faeries and he arrived in SF before the Beat Generation, forging a path for the Beats to follow.
Here is the poem, This is It:

This is It

This is really It.

This is all there is.

And it's perfect as it is.

There is nowhere to go

but Here.

There is nothing here

but Now.

There is nothing now

but This.

And this is It.

This is really it.

This is all there is.

And it's perfect as it is.

as unrelenting as the curse of love

A Woman Speaks
By Audre Lorde
Moon marked and touched by sun
my magic is unwritten
but when the sea turns back
it will leave my shape behind.
I seek no favor
untouched by blood
unrelenting as the curse of love
permanent as my errors
or my pride
I do not mix
love with pity
nor hate with scorn
and if you would know me
look into the entrails of Uranus
where the restless oceans pound.

I do not dwell
within my birth nor my divinities
who am ageless and half-grown
and still seeking
my sisters
witches in Dahomey
wear me inside their coiled cloths
as our mother did

I have been woman
for a long time
beware my smile
I am treacherous with old magic
and the noon's new fury
with all your wide futures
I am
and not white.

Audre Lorde, “A Woman Speaks” from The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde. Copyright © 1997 by Audre Lorde.
Tree Fitzpatrick updated her status.

suddenly I wish I could paint

Nicholas Roerich (Russian, 1874-1947): Battle in the Heavens, 1912. Tempera on cardboard, 66 x 95 cm. State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles

is it not too late for me? I think so

“you are not too old
and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out
it's own secret”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

best version ever of Gimme Shelter?

a storm is threatin' my very life today

Ooh, a storm is threat'nin'
My very life today
If I don't get some shelter ooh yeah, I'm gonna fade away
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away, yeah
Ooh, see the fire is sweepin'
Our very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost its way
War, children, yeah, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away, yeah
Rape, murder, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
Rape, murder, yeah, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
Rape, murder, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away, yea, yea, yeah
Umm, those floods is threat'nin'
My very life today
Gimme, Gimme shelter
Or I'm gonna fade away
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
I tell you love, sister, it's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away It's just a kiss away
Kiss away, kiss away
Published by
Lyrics © Abkco Music, Inc.

I will rise in perfect light

Though my soul may set in darkness

It will rise in perfect light.

I have loved the stars too fondly

to be fearful of the night

to be fearful of the night.

-- Galileo

I won't be afraid, won't have a fear

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we'll see
No I won't be afraid, no I won't have a fear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh now now stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry, no I won't she'd a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me, stand by me, yeah

Whenever you're in trouble won't you stand by me, oh now now stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Darlin', darlin', stand by me, stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me, stand by me


Monday, October 05, 2015

one month clean

I have broken a thought habit that left me unhappy most of the time. I am still deeply depressed but it is now just about a month since I formed a firm resolve to stop yearning for people who have rejected me. Yeah, I'm thinking about it a little bit or I wouldn't be writing this but when these thoughts crop up, I step around them.

My grief has taught me a lot but I wish I might evolve more peacefully, less painfully. Maybe that will be my next evolutionary step.

like an open window

one day
you will learn
to give and receive love
like an open window
it will feel like a perfect summer day
a steady balmy breeze
light indirect sun
and you will glow within and without

I feel like a little kid

I feel like a little kid who got picked on at school. I sit here blaming myself because someone has been unkind to me.


Many people find it difficult to say: there is a region that one might experience if certain ideas would be investigated and gone deeper into. It is much easier for these people to say: that is an area of which no one knows anything – because they themselves know nothing about it yet. Not knowing about something oneself does not prove that it does not exist – yet that is a conclusion that is curiously often drawn.
Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 072 – Freiheit Unsterblichkeit Soziales Leben – Basel, 19th October 1917  (page 69-70)
Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

The Fitzpatrick Historic District

I've been spending too much time at city boards and commissions. At a Landmarks hearing, I learned that the block I live on is known as The Fitzpatrick Historic District and one house across the street, whose front has been rebuilt to be retail space, is actually 'The Fitzpatrick House'.  It looks like it must have been a tony, expensive home in its time.
I love knowing I live on The Fitzpatrick Historic Disrict block.

power of a 20 second hug

The average length of a hug between two people is 3 seconds. But researchers have discovered something fantastic. When a hug lasts 20 seconds, there is a therapeutic effect on the body and mind. The reason is that a sincere hug produces a hormone called "oxytocin", also known as the love hormone. This substance has many benefits in our physical and mental health, helps us, among other things, to relax, to feel safe and calm our fears and anxiety. This wonderful calming is offered free of charge every time we have a person in our arms, who cradled a child, we cherish a dog or cat, we're dancing with our partner, the closer we get to someone or just hold the shoulders of a friend.

love can appear like a cup of poison

"The deeper our fear of the light at the center of ourselves, the deeper our fear of truly loving another. No matter how much a relationship blesses us, no matter how good it feels, and even perhaps at times because it feels so good, this soul medicine, when first offered up, can appear to the mind like a cup of poison." -Marianne Williamson

Sunday, October 04, 2015


the fast acting power of injecting four or five full cartridges of fast-acting insulin is up for me. I googled insulin overdose and learned that when a person overdoses on fast-acting insulin, they quickly slip into a coma, feel no suffering and die if no one finds them. Since I live alone and it could be days before anyone noticed I had not been in touch for awhile I'd be long, long gone.

It is very appealing.

Every morning when I awake, I am angry that I am still alive. Lately I have tried to sleep all day and all night. I am surprised by how much I can sleep. I have never been able to sleep this much before.

I am glad to have the means to escape.

But here is an indication that I am not committed to overdose on insulin:  I am wondering if I should tidy up my apartment, mail my technology to my brother who doesn't have a computer or tablet.  I would mail this stuff to my brother but when I think about getting out the boxes, and I have the right sized boxes, and taking them to the post office, I feel overwhelmed.

So then I think "I might as well just do it, fuck sending my brother the computer.

we all dance to mystery

Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”
― Albert Einstein

no conclusions: open open open

As phenomenologist Cheryl Sanders-Sardello explains: ‘To be here requires attention, listening, and gazing deeply without assaulting each thing seen with a conclusion. The silence here is not just in the ‘what has been’, it is most deliciously waiting, too, in the ‘what will be’.

waiting for god

"Attention consists of suspending our thought, leaving it detached, empty, and ready to be penetrated by the object; it means holding in our minds, within reach of that though, but on a lower level and not in contact with, the diverse knowledge we have acquired, which we are forced to make use of. Our thought should be in relation to all particular and already formulated thoughts, as a man on a mountain, who, as he looks forward, sees also below him, without actually looking at them, a great many forests and plains. Above all our thought should be empty, waiting, not seeking anything, but ready to receive in its naked truth the object that is to penetrate it."
Waiting for God by Simone Weill

what a piece of work is man

“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form, in moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?”
― William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Saturday, October 03, 2015

someday is not a day in the week

Have you ever heard yourself say "I'll get around to doing that someday" or "I'll get together with my friend someday soon".

Someday is not a day in the week. Someday never comes.

Live as if someday will never come. Live now. Don't put off anything. If you have a friend, or many friends, you love but never see, see them now. Call them now.

Someday is not a day in the week, and it isn't on your calendar.

Get together with those you care about as soon as possible, not someday.

too small for me

Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your womb
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
 -- David Whyte
     from The House of Belonging
     ©1996 Many Rivers Press

first poem I ever wrote, age 12

fall has come
school has started
please don't be

I thought I was very clever. I had been given the honor of designing the class bulletin board for the whole year. It only had to have visuals but the writer in me, even at age 12, had to have words.

Underneath my little ditty, I pinned a couple hundred 'leaves', bits of colored construction paper, in fall tones, to represent leaves.

I was quite proud of my bulletin board display.

A few years later, in high school when I had a job working at the local public library branch, I recycled the theme for the window of the library. I had less space to work with so I only wrote 'fall has come'. I used only a few fake 'leaves' and, instead, scattered books around like fallen leaves. Not real books, but homemade visual representations of the books.

The children's library, who had given me the task of maintaining the library window on the children's library side, said it was a great display. She let me maintain that window for the whole next year. I felt proud and professional.

My latest lame poem:

fall has come
I am brokenhearted.
Not about fall.
About him.

Friday, October 02, 2015

long story short

Quest for Isis-Sophia, related to the Ankh?

ok, this is long and won't be of interest to many. For me, Anthroposophy increasingly helps me find meaning and light in our dark, modern world.  Steiner may have lived and work 100 years ago but his work is fresher than most contemporary gurus that sell books and sell out theaters when they speak. Oh, I keep forgetting, nowadays, many modern gurus speechify online. I'm old fashioned. I like face to face guru-ship. The search for the New Isis, the Divine Sophia is central to human survival.
"Search for the New Isis, the Divine Sophia: The Quest for the Isis-Sophia"
by. Dr. Rudolf Steiner

Today, however, we will consider something which stood, in a sense, at the
center of the view found in the cultic rituals performed by the priests in
the Egyptian mystery religion; we will consider the mysteries of Isis. In
order to call up before our minds the spiritual connection between the
mystery of Isis and that which also lives in Christianity, we need only
look with the eyes of the soul upon Raphael's famous picture of the Sistine
Madonna. The Virgin is holding the child Jesus, and behind her are the
clouds, representing a multitude of children. We can imagine the Virgin
receiving the child Jesus descending through the clouds, through a
condensation, as it were, of the thin cloud substance. Created out of an
entirely Christian spirit, this picture is, after all, nothing more than a
kind of repetition of what the Egyptian mysteries of Isis revered when they
portrayed Isis holding the child Horus. The motif of that earlier picture
is in complete harmony with that of Raphael's picture. Of course, this fact
must not tempt us to a superficial interpretation, common among many
people since the eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth century
right up to our own days — namely, to see the story of Christ Jesus and all
that belongs to it as a mere metamorphosis, a transformation, of ancient
pagan mysteries. From my book
Christianity As Mystical Fact
you already know how these things are to be understood. However, in the
sense explained in that book we are permitted to point out a spiritual
congruence between what appears in Christianity and the old pagan mysteries.

The main content of the mystery of Isis is the death of Osiris and Isis's
search for the dead Osiris. We know that Osiris, the representative of the
being of the sun, the representative of the spiritual sun, is killed by
Typhon, who, expressed in Egyptian terms, is none other than Ahriman.
Ahriman kills Osiris, throws him into the Nile, and the Nile carries the
body away. Isis, the spouse of Osiris, sets out on her search and finds him
over in Asia. She brings him back to Egypt, where Ahriman, the enemy, cuts
the body into fourteen parts. Isis buries these fourteen parts in various
locations, so that they belong to the earth for ever after.

We can see from this story how Egyptian wisdom conceived of the connection
between the powers of heaven and the powers of earth in a deeply meaningful
way. On the one hand, Osiris is the representative of the powers of the
sun. After having passed through death he is, in various places and
simultaneously, the force that ripens everything that grows out of the
earth. The ancient Egyptian sage imagines in a spirit-filled way how the
powers which shine down from the sun, enter the earth and then become part
of the earth, and how, as powers of the sun buried in the earth, they then
hand over to the human being what matures out of the earth. The Egyptian myth
is founded upon the story of Osiris — how he was killed, how his spouse
Isis had to set out on her search for him, how she first brought him back
to Egypt and how he then became active in another form, namely, from out of
the earth.

One of the Egyptian pyramids depicts the whole event in a particularly
meaningful way. The Egyptians not only recorded what they knew as the
solution to the great secrets of the universe in their own particular
writing, they also expressed it in their architectural constructions. They
built one of these pyramids with such mathematical precision that the
shadow of the sun disappeared into the base of the pyramid at the spring
equinox and only reappeared at the autumn equinox. The Egyptians wanted to
express in this pyramid that the forces which shine down from the sun are
buried from spring to fall in the earth where they develop the forces of
the earth, so that the earth may produce the fruit which humankind needs.

This, then, is the idea we find present in the minds and hearts of the
ancient Egyptians, On the one hand, they look up to the sun, they look up
to the lofty being of the sun and they worship him. At the same time,
however, they relate how this being of the sun was lost in Osiris, and was
sought by Isis, and how he was found again so that he is then able to
continue working in a changed way.

Many things which appeared in the Egyptian wisdom must be repeated in a
different form during our fifth post-Atlantean age. Humankind must
increasingly come to understand from a spiritual-scientific point of view
the mysteries of the Egyptian priests in a form appropriate to our own age,
in a Christian sense. For the Egyptians, Osiris was a kind of
representative of the Christ who had not yet arrived on earth. In their own
way they looked upon Osiris as the being of the sun, but they imagined this
sun being had been lost in a sense, and must be found again. We cannot
imagine that our being of the sun, the Christ, who has passed through the
Mystery of Golgotha could be lost to humankind, for he came down from
spiritual heights, united himself with the man Jesus of Nazareth, and from
then onwards remains with the earth. He is present, he exists, as the
Christmas carol proclaims each year anew: “Unto us a Saviour is born.”
It thereby expresses the eternal, not the transitory nature of this event.
Jesus was not only born once at Bethlehem, but is born continuously; in
other words, he remains with the life of the earth. What Christ is, and
what he means for us, cannot be lost.

But the Isis legend must show itself as being fulfilled in another way in our
time. We cannot lose the Christ and what he, in a higher form than Osiris,
gives us; but we can lose, and we have lost, what is portrayed for our
Christian understanding standing at the side of Osiris — Isis — the
mother of the saviour, the divine wisdom, Sophia. If the Isis legend is to be
renewed, then it must not simply follow the old form — Osiris, killed by
Typhon-Ahriman and carried away by the waters of the Nile, must be found
again by Isis in order that his body, cut into pieces by Typhon-Ahriman,
may be sunk into the earth. No, in a sense, we must find the Isis legend
again, the content of the mystery of Isis, but we must create it out of
imagination, suited to our own times. An understanding must arise again of
the eternal cosmic truths, and it will when we learn to think and compose
imaginatively, as the Egyptians did. But we must find the right Isis

The Egyptian was permeated by luciferic powers, as were all human beings
who lived before the Mystery of Golgotha. If luciferic powers are within
the human being and stir the inner life, moving and weaving through it, the
result will then be that ahrimanic powers will appear as an active force
outside the human being. Thus the Egyptians, who were themselves permeated
by Lucifer, rightly see a picture of the world in which Ahriman-Typhon is

Now, we must realize that modern humanity is permeated by Ahriman. Ahriman
moves and surges within human beings, just as Lucifer moved and surged
within the Egyptian world. However, when Ahriman works through Lucifer,
then human beings see their picture of the world in a luciferic form. How
does the human being see this picture of the world? This luciferic picture
of the world has been created, it is here. It has become increasingly
popular for modern times and has taken hold of all circles of people who
want to consider themselves progressive and enlightened.