Saturday, April 30, 2016

mulberries, sugar snap peas, asparagus, kale, spinach, strawberries

A bountiful day at my farmers market.

I wish I had bought more than one half pint of mulberries. I spent time on a relatives' farm in Indiana most childhood summers. Towering over the old farmhouse was an old mulberry tree. When I was there when the mulberries were ripe, I think I ate every single one within reach. Not many were within reach. This was not a shrub but a full blown tree. I would haul a ladder over to try to reach more. I would lean out windows in the house. I got scolded for taking risks to eat some mulberries. And no one on that farm, and my uncle-by-marriage came from a very large family and they all lived on adjacent farms, seemed to care about those mulberries.

Today that grand old mulberry tree would be seen, I hope, as a moneymaker. Funny how all the farmers that worked hard to run my uncle's extended families multiple farms never saw mulberries as a crop. Of course, back then, there were no farmers markets. Gosh, it only occurred to me now, over 50 years too late, that my cousin and I could have set up a farm stand with those mulberries. They would have sold if my aunt, my mom's sister, would have encouraged us. For some reason, my aunt forbid me from picking mulberries. I disobeyed her as often as possible, which meant I had to eat as I picked. I was not allowed to bring mulberries into the house. Actually, my aunt sorta acted like mulberries were a noxious weed. To Chicago city girl me, those mulberries were magic.

When we lived in Minneapolis, my daughter and I swam at the Uptown YWCA. Sometimes, to save money on parking, we would park a block over and then walk through the gangways between houses instead of going up to the corner. I don't know if it was cool in Minneapolis to walk on the path that one usually found between city houses. The path was mostly to allow homeowners to get from the front to the back of their property. In Chicago where I grew up, taking the short cut of walking through someone's yard was common practice in my childhood.

The real reason I took the parking shortcut was not the parking money, which was only fifty cents for Y members. It was the mulberry trees on one lot.

For folks unfamiliar with Seattle and its climate, it must be ideal for blackberries for wild, thorny blackberry bushes are abundant. When I lived on Whidbey, I lived in a house that was across a one lane street from three empty house lots covered in blackberry brambles. In blackberry season, I would only have to stand in one spot with a couple quart containers and without moving, within my reach, I easily filled both containers with blackberries. In blackberry season in Puget Sound, I always brought blackberries to potlucks, sometimes on top of some poached salmon, another big-deal local food, although, of course, the salmon runs are increasingly at risk for many reasons.  There are wild blackberries all over Seattle, in the parks, along trails that snack through the entire area. I would keep containers in my backpack for the happy times I came upon ripe blackberries.

My cousin's paternal grandmother, Rosie, had thirteen kids. Some of those kids were close in age to me.  Everyone, including all children even remotely able to help at all, had to help some way on that farm operation. Rosie had an enormous kitchen garden from which she grew tons of vegies, and canned a lot of it.  Rosie said when I was there, I was one of her grandchildren and I had to fall in line with the rules. She insisted I weed her kitchen garden, as all the girls had to do. I loved Rosie welcomed any reason to be in her orbit

Oh my gosh, how I loved it when the sweet corn was in Rosie's kitchen garden.  We would regularly have dinners comprised of nothing but sweet corn and butter, eating as much as we wanted.

Tonight for an odd dinner, I am eating a cup of sugar snap peas (I have to measure the carbs!), a banana that was getting close to too ripe, a few stalks of steamed asparagus sprinkled with lemon juice and a tiny bit of olive oil, a few semi-dried awesome olives that have to be kept refrigerated.

These olives are a new discovery. They are virtually carb free and a very satisfying snack. Once the vendor said "I think of them as healthy potato chips". The analogy is odd but also apt. No one can eat just one of these so-easy-to-eat, delicious, dried olives. Unlike potato chips, I never want more than a few. These olives are so deeply satisfying.

And then, because I am a good girl, I am going to eat fourteen dried bing cherries, a reward for failing to have bought fresh bing cherries at the market. Bing cherries are loaded with carbs.  I injected insulin for what I think is 1/4 cup of them:  fourteen. It is very hard to limit myself to fourteen but I can and I do.

A weird dinner of sweet foods, vegie (sugar snaps) and fruit.  Even the savory olives are technically a fruit but they have no sweetness.

Sometimes one just has to go wild with food. Or maybe lazy casual.

If I see mulberries at next Saturday's market, I'm buying two half pints, living decadently! And I am most def buying bing cherries. I suppose rainier cherries will be turning up soon. The red bings always come first.

separate the wheat from the chaff

I have a history of a personality disorder. I have received treatment from the world's leading authority on my challenge. She has said, in many public venues, that once a person receives the right help, they rarely relapse. I can, and do, reasonably believe myself to be in full recovery.

Before I received what I believe now to have been my accurate diagnosis, I had been  misdiagnosed as bipolar for some time. Bipolar is a kind of gabage-can diagnosis for women. Women are, by far, considered in need of therapy in much greater numbers than men. For intelligent women like me to survive in this misogynistic, patriarchal culture can be challenging. Plus many now believe that people who don't fit into this listing culture are smarter, more intuitive, have different energetic capacities that are, in this culture but not in many indigenous cultures, considered mentally ill.

I had to work through a lot of anger over being misdiagnosed, losing ground in life while I dutifully showed up every week for therapy and took all the many meds prescribed. Now I take no meds, other than my insulins. Now I no longer see myself as less than whole. But I did see myself as less than whole for a long time. I was also always open about my diagnoses. So when my diagnosis was bipolar, everyone that knew me knew. My doctors strongly pressured me to keep my diagnosis private but I believed, and still do, that much of the suffering associated with any mental health disability is the result of stigma, bigotry and ignorance.  We cannot heal things that cannot even be acknowledged, not even be discussed

I yielded myself to the perfect whole

Each and All
Little thinks, in the field, yon red-cloaked clown,
Of thee from the hill-top looking down;
The heifer that lows in the upland farm,
Far-heard, lows not thine ear to charm;
The sexton, tolling his bell at noon,
Deems not that great Napoleon
Stops his horse, and lists with delight,
Whilst his files sweep round yon Alpine height;
Nor knowest thou what argument
Thy life to thy neighbor's creed has lent.
All are needed by each one;
Nothing is fair or good alone.
I thought the sparrow's note from heaven,
Singing at dawn on the alder bough;
I brought him home, in his nest, at even;
He sings the song, but it pleases not now,
For I did not bring home the river and sky; —
He sang to my ear, — they sang to my eye.
The delicate shells lay on the shore;
The bubbles of the latest wave
Fresh pearls to their enamel gave;
And the bellowing of the savage sea
Greeted their safe escape to me.
I wiped away the weeds and foam,
I fetched my sea-born treasures home;
But the poor, unsightly, noisome things
Had left their beauty on the shore,
With the sun, and the sand, and the wild uproar.
The lover watched his graceful maid,
As 'mid the virgin train she stayed,
Nor knew her beauty's best attire
Was woven still by the snow-white choir.
At last she came to his hermitage,
Like the bird from the woodlands to the cage; —
The gay enchantment was undone,
A gentle wife, but fairy none.
Then I said, "I covet truth;
Beauty is unripe childhood's cheat;
I leave it behind with the games of youth:" —
As I spoke, beneath my feet
The ground-pine curled its pretty wreath,
Running over the club-moss burrs;
I inhaled the violet's breath;
Around me stood the oaks and firs;
Pine-cones and acorns lay on the ground;
Over me soared the eternal sky,
Full of light and of deity;
Again I saw, again I heard,
The rolling river, the morning bird; —
Beauty through my senses stole;
I yielded myself to the perfect whole.

expect to be misunderstood and denigrated

I like this theory of depression

mulberries, asparagus, kale, spinach, strawberries

Bing cherries were in the market, the first I have seen this spring. I was tempted but I had already bought three pints of strawberries. Fruit is the closest I get to candy anymore.  The market is still open. I might go back and get some fresh, organic bing cherries. Gosh, I can't get those bings out of my thoughts.

The mulberries were my special coup. I should have bought two half pints even if they do cost four bucks per half pint.  They are very tiny, very fragile. I had eaten today's half pint before I go off the block the market is on. Yep, I should have bought two containers. If I had, however, they'd be gone.

These mulberries are partially white and mostly purple but a bit of pink.

When I was a child, I spent lots of time several summers on my aunt and uncle's farm. My aunt was my mother's older sister. My aunt and uncle had one child, Joy.  They lived in a farmhouse owned by my uncle's parents. His parents kept buying adjacent small farms, partly to expand their farm and partly to house their large family. My uncle had seven or eight siblings, including ones in my age group. All the adults seemed to live in nearby farmhouses.

The farmhouse I stayed in was, like many farmhouses I visited in my childhood, were not much like suburban development homes. In my experience, a real farmhouse is sprawling. It has a big kitchen so when extra farm hands need to be hired, they can all be fed in long wooden tables in those big kitchens. They all sprawl, as if the original owner kept adding on rooms, which is what they did in some farm houses. And the farmhouse I stayed in during my Indiana farm summers did not originally have an indoor bathroom so the bathroom plumbing was added in the middle of the first floor, inbetween other rooms.

I am not being very clear, not describing the house I stayed in those summers or the other main house I hung out in, where my cousin's paternal grandparents lived. I just realized, duh, that those two houses had kitchen, living room dining toom lay outs but that its occupants had repurposed the living room and dining room.  My aunt, in her house, slept in what, I realize as I 'see' the house in my mind's eye, was originally the house's living room. There was a front porch, that no one used, with a swing, that no one used and a front door that opened into my aunt's bedroom. Since it was always my aunt's bedroom, I always thought of that space as a bedroom.

Same at my cousin's grandmother's house. Her grandmother and grandfather slept in the original living room of that house. Only her grandparents shared the living room with whoever was passing through. That is where the tv was and we were allowed in there, sometimes, to watch tv.  Except for the kitchen and its table, the whole house seemed to be used as bedrooms. At my aunt and uncle's home, there was one small bedroom on the first floor, where my cousin slept and where I originally slept. My aunt made me start sleeping upstairs, which terrified me, because my uncle had taken to molesting me and she could hear him in that downstairs bedroom.  If she thought putting me upstairs would stop him, she was mistaken.

The upsairs in these houses were all odd, with odd shapes rooms, unsafe passageways wrapped around the central chimney. I say 'unsafe' because to get to a couple of rooms, including a room children slept in at the grandparents' house (only the children were their children -- my age), one had to move sideways. Such passageways would not pass fire codes. And it used to terrify me to turn sideways and slip around a chimney to get into an often large space.

My cousin's house had similar odd-shaped rooms on the second floor. Only one room was formally finished as a bedroom but there was lots of space on the second floor. Some of that space was used for storage and some of it was hard to get into but my cousin and I sometimes did. It frightened me but I did it, not wanting to be seen as a chicken.

so I stayed in a large, old farmhouse, old in the late fifties and early sixties. And outside that farmhouse was the largest mulberry tree I have ever seen, even up to today. It was so tall that it was hard to collect mulberries. My aunt, who complained about just about everything children did (ir seemed to me) forbid us from gathering mulberries.

I could not resist trying. I would haul ladders from the barn to under that mulberry tree so I might reach some mulberries. I would cram myself into the odd spaces of the second floor of that house, for those spaces had windows next to that mulberry tree. The mulberries grew, some of them, right outside the windows of that attic.  I could reach out and get them. I could not get many.

Gosh, the farmer who sells mulberries at my weekly farmers market, for their brief season, would get all the mulberries. But back when I spent summers on that Indiana farm, I guess it didn't occur to anyone to pick those mulberries to sell.  No farmers markets in those days. And my cousin's farm relatives, including her dad, was doing their best to become a alrge scale farm operation, so they becomame increasingly mechanized. And they built a huge, caged, chicken-laying barn to make money seling eggs.

Funny no one cared to harvest those mulberries.

Sometimes, one could gather up a pint of so from the grass if one was out just as the berries fell.

My aunt is long gone. I wish I could ask her why she didn't want me picking mulberries.

is she a failure?

A friend of mine, a woman who was in my weekly writers group for awhile, failed her orals. She was hoping to get a PhD in Environmental Science. Her focus was water in China and other Asian countries. She is a Chinese American, but having grown up in Utah, she did not get exposed to much Chinese culture. One of the many benefits of moving to Berkeley was discovering her culture.  It was lovely to see her discovering aspects of herself that, she came to realize, had always been embedded in her being but not yet awakened.

This friend had many challenges. She had moved to Berkeley with a husband, then the marriage fell apart. Somehow, even though she was a student, she ended up having to pay alimony. She and her ex have twins, now about 10 or 11. So she was a single mom to two children, a doctoral candidate, struggling for divorce.

Failing her orals was a tough bounce. She petitioned to re-take them but she must have failed to show any of the acceptable reasons for re-doing her orals.  I know this gal knew whatever material she was supposed to know. I think she failed those orals because she was overwhelmed with stress.

I don't know what happened to her. She just stopped coming. I suspect she had to move out of student housing. She was job hunting the last few times she appeared at our group.

Her loving passion for healing watersheds and making the natural envirionment healthier will surely guide her to good work.

She is not a failure.  I imagine many single moms have gotten their doctorates while facing great stress but, when all is said and done, it is harder on women, on single moms.

I so enjoyed hearing about her unfolding discovery of her Chinese heritage.

She got involved in dragon boat racing, her team quickly winning competitions. She flew to Vietnam for a major competition in dragon boat racing.

I wish she had come back just once to say goodbye. I know life is full of ambiguity, of mystery, of questions unaswered. I like closure, clear lines, clear communication. I like a good bye.

One benefit of a divorce is clear closure.  When a friendship ends without having a conversation to end it, I carry that incomplete energy with me, dragging it around as if I am burdened by heavy weights chaining me down, holding me to the past.   I can't make anyone have closure conversations with me.  I also cannot change who I am.

This woman who left our writers group unannounced was not someone I knew well and yet here I am, maybe two years since she disappeared, wondering what happened.

we must risk delight

another poem on last day of poetry month 2016. . . . I've posted two fierce poems today.
A Brief for the Defense. by Jack Gilbert

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered caf├ęs and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.

poetry is what he thought but could not say

I've posted this fiercely beautiful, and moving, poem before.  I love to reread this one.Today is last day of poetry month 2016.


What He Thought by Heather McHugh, American  poet

We were supposed to do a job in Italy and full of our feeling for ourselves
(our sense of being Poets from America) we went from Rome to Fano, met the Mayor,
mulled a couple matters over. (what’s cheap date, they asked us: what’s flat drink)
Among Italian literati we could recognize our counterparts: the academic,the apologist, the arrogant,
the amorous, the brazen and the glib.
And there was one administrator (The Conservative),in suit of regulation gray,
who like a good tour guide with measured pace and uninflected tone
narrated sights and histories the hired van hauled us past.
Of all he was most politic — and least poetic — so it seemed.
Our last few days in Rome I found a book of poems this unprepossessing one had written:
it was there in the pensione room (a room he’d recommended)
where it must have been abandoned by the German visitor
(was there a bus of them?) to whom he had inscribed and dated it a month before.
I couldn’t read Italian either, so I put the book back in the wardrobe’s dark.
We last Americans were due to leave tomorrow. For our parting evening then
our host chose something in a family restaurant, and there we sat and chatted, sat and chewed, till sensible it was our last big chance to be Poetic, make our mark, one of us asked “What’s poetry?
Is it the fruits and vegetables and marketplace at Campo dei Fiori or the statue there?”
Because I was the glib one, I identified the answer instantly, I didn’t have to think —
“The truth is both, it’s both!” I blurted out. But that was easy. That was easiest to say.
What followed taught me something about difficulty, for our underestimated host spoke out all of a sudden, with a rising passion, and he said:
The statue represents Giordano Bruno, Brought to be burned in the public square
because of his offence against authority, which was to say the Church.
His crime was his belief the universe does not revolve around the human being:
God is no fixed point or central government but rather is poured in waves, through all things: All things move. “If God is not the soul itself he is the soul of the soul of the world.”
Such was his heresy. The day they brought him forth to die they feared he might incite the crowd
(the manwas famous for his eloquence).
And so his captors placed upon his face an iron mask in which he could not speak.
That is how they burned him.
That is how he died, without a word,in front of everyone.
And poetry —

(we’d all put down our forks by now, to listen to the man in gray; he went on softly)

poetry is what he thought, but did not say.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Woman Speaks by Audre Lorde

I've been neglecting poetry month, which is April. I have a couple days left!
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.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

out there (here?) is where I want to live . . . .

if I love me, they will come

From Inside the Miracle by Mark Nepo: "Though each of us must go through our suffering alone, no one can make it alone. Though no one can save us from our own feelings, not one of us can carry those feelings in the world without the support of others."
 I have many acquaintances in Berkeley but, just now, and for too long, I don't have anyone show shows up and supports me in the world. This is not sustainable. I had been feeling despair about this but I recently remembered that I've had long dry spells before and that they always ended. So I resumed meditation, swimming more frequently and doing a meditation to open my heart. This meditation begins by loving myself in as many ways as I can.
 If I love me, they will come.

what is destined to happen will

Just as an age was once ready to receive the Copernican theory of the universe, so is our own age ready for the ideas of reincarnation and karma to be brought into the general consciousness of humanity. And what is destined to happen in the course of evolution will happen, no matter what powers rise up against it. When reincarnation and karma are truly understood, everything else follows of itself in the light of these truths.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – Reincarnation and Karma: Lecture V– Berlin, 5th March 1912
Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Charles Davy

last night . . movie in Oakland

I went to see a documentary that was promoted by my friend Becky's newspaper. The film was about the challenge of poaching animals in Africa. I was surprised that the movie did not give much more information than the preview clip. And it didn't seem to have high quality production.

But that was not the most interesting part of my night. The movie scheduled to be shown in the same theater immediately after the Africa movie and the Q/A (which was supposed to last 30 minutes and went on over an hour, keeping the audience for Purple Rain crammed into the small lobby).

I walked along Telegraph from 19th to 24th Street to get to the venue. I was surprised to pass so many bars.  I don't get bars and drinking in them.  I don't get fulfilling a need to socialize by downing consciousness altering substances like booze or, for that matter, drugs.

The Parkway looks like it used to be some kind of industrial space recently converted into a movie theater. It has old sofas and arm chairs for the audience. And it serves food. It has popcorn, of course, but also pizza and other things. It was all carbohydrates and grease, tasty but unhealthy.  I eyed a few beers and briefly fantasized having one. I have no idea how many carbs are in a beer and I need to know so I can inject the right amount of insulin. My diabetes has been kicking my ass lately and I am not going to get sick over a beer.  I never drank much alcohol, only smoked dope for a year or so but I do enjoy, once in increasingly rare blue moons, a cold beer.

I skipped the Q/A and waited for my friends to get a ride home out in the lobby. As the Q/A ran over an hour instead of the advertised 30 minutes (such a lack of consideration, first to the Q/A audience and then to the crowd waiting to see Purple Rain, so entitled, so elitist, eh?).

I wanted to go to Purple Rain but it would have let out very late and I did not want to wait for a bus in a somewhat sketchy part of Oakland. Buses late at night are infrequent.

I had skipped the Q/A but waited in the lobby for my friends to give me a ride home, so I was surrounded by a crowd skewing pretty young -- a lot younger than Prince was when he died last week. I kept thinking "These people seem to be having a lot more fun than I ever have." And then I thought "I never had this kind of fun.  I lived in Minneapolis over 20 years and never went to a Prince concert. I enjoyed his work but I have never gone to concerts much.  Once I became a mother, and then a single mother, going to a concert was daunting.

I think it is too late to have Purple Rain kind of fun.

Plus I am fascinated that Purple Rain brings out droves of people. the movie came out in 1984 but it is still embedded in the hearts and souls of millions. Prince was an initiate.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

on the quest . . .

then, after breakfast

Then, after breakfast, the wildflowers and it being Mother's Day. And then Ruby breaking out of her car seat while her mom in the gas station paying and buying cold drinks.

barreling across N. Texas

One of the best road trips I have ever had was the trip from Minneapolis to New Mexico and back I made with my sister and her then-a-baby daughter.  My sister wanted to go to a bunch of teacher job fairs. She couldn't afford to fly down, stay in hotels a few weeks, rent a car to get to the far flung fairs and either leave her baby behind with me or hire someone to watch her baby in NM. As she pondered her options, I said, because her car would not have survived the trip, "I'll go, we'll take my Camry, you pay for the cheap motels and the gas, I'll pay for my food. And I'll hang out with Ruby when you are at these job fairs." She accepted instantly.

Sis planned for us to get to New Mexico one day early and drive to its southwest to see an area that was said to be spectacularly beautiful. Sitting in Minneapolis looking at AAA maps, it was easy to look at the space on the map between Portales, where the first job fair was, and then all the way on the other side of the state natural wonderland and think "Just a day's drive there, a day's drive back, no problem."

We had barreled down I35 from Minneapolis until we got across the Texas border. We had spent one night in a Motel 6 in Oklahoma. When we left that OK motel, we drove a bit before stopping for breakfast.

The drive was very hard on our baby.  She did not like being bound in a small car seat for hours on end.  We did stop at rest stops and encouraged her to move but ten minutes of running around picnic tables did not offset ten hours in a tiny car seat. The kid was stressed.

First, as we took the right turn onto the interstate that would take us over to N. Mexico in N. Texas, we stopped at a Denny's.  We chose the place because (1) we were hungry and (2) we had not found a lot of good road food and were past caring.

Or so we thought.

The Denny's was packed, which encouraged us to go there. We were shown a table in the far back, so we had walked past what seemed like a mob of happy eaters. Our booth was round, facing hot, baking windows off the back of the restaurant. The windows were nice. It was wicked out outside, by the way. The windows revealed that the booth was filthy. The menus were covered in grime. Without speaking, without agreement, sis and I engaged in a brief pantomine, each of us pointing to various gross details of where we had found ourselves. Then one of us said "I don't think we should eat here. This place is filthy. What is the kitchen like?"

So we left and walked over to a no-name restaurant. And we had the best breakfast of that ten-day trip.  It was run by Indians, I remember that. 

What had we been thinking, Denny's?!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

love the right one

Prince said. . . .

And it all, always, comes back to God. We are all down here to work toward one thing—love.
~ Prince

I've loved a little red corvette

My little red corvette was a he.

I guess I should of known
By the way you parked your car sideways
That it wouldn't last
See you're the kinda person
That believes in makin' out once
Love 'em and leave 'em fast
I guess I must be dumb
'Cause you had a pocket full of horses
Trojan and some of them used
But it was Saturday night
I guess that makes it all right
And you say what have I got to lose?
And honey I say
Little red Corvette
Baby you're much too fast
Little red Corvette
You need a love that's gonna last
I guess I should of closed my eyes
When you drove me to the place
Where your horses run free
'Cause I felt a little ill
When I saw all the pictures
Of the jockeys that were there before me

~ Prince  - of course

you meet your destiny . . .


"You meet your destiny on the road you take to avoid it"

Carl Jung

Saturday, April 23, 2016

guided to the Spiritual in the universe

Last night, I listened to Micah White, a brilliant thinker who was one of the two creators of the Occupy Wall Streeet movement. He has just published a book suggesting traditional protest activity is no longer useful and that it actually helps perpetuate our current systems. I concur.

He also points out that every time there has been a meaningful shift in human culture, an awakening, there have been sunspots on the sun.  I consider sligning ourselves with the cosmos to be our primary tasks as humans, and most of such work is inner work. when properly aligned with the Spiritual in the universe, humans are able to sense when right moments arise.

Friday, April 22, 2016

this young man has hope

I heard a former Berkeley resident, Micah White, same age as my daughter (born 1982) at the Brower Center. He is the only American co-founder of the Occupy Movement. I almost never buy books, but I bought his. I read library books. The title: "the end of protest * a new playbook for revolution". In December 2011, the San Francisco Chronicle called Micah White one of the "most fascinating people in the Bay Area 2011.

White is in favor of a transaction tax on international financial speculation, the reinstatement of the Glass–Steagall Act and revocation of corporate personhood. He is against advertisement and consumerism. He is known for popularizing the term "clicktivism", which denotes a form of internet-based activism which includes signing online petitions that he argues is damaging to the possibility of political change. And he notes, in his new book, that revolutions happen when there is an awakening and research has correlate all great 'awakenings' to times when there were many sun spots on the sun. I asked in him the Q&A if we should be looking for sun spots.

I wanted to ask him if he thought we should be inwardly developing our human capacities so we will be alert to the right moment but everyone else, mostly males, asked very detailed activist questions with very long preambles (so male!). The female who was calling on people to ask questions didn't even call on a female until I pointed out she was only choosing males. But, imho, studying when sun spots appear so I might sense when it is the right time to act it very much like my inner, energetic, intuitive life as part of this cosmos.

He gave a lovely answer when I asked if we should study when sunspots appear and then concluded by looking me right in the eye and saying "I really do believe in sunspots, I am sure awakenings occur when the sun has sunspots." And I said "So do I."

He said we need an entirely different way of governing. He did not say, but I am suggesting,  that to arrive at an entirely different way of doing governance is analogous to snakes shedding skin, lobsters outgrowing their shells and humans outgrowing aspects of themselves that no longer serve them. Change is the only constant. We live in a majestic cosmos. And I very much believe the Cosmos steadily pulses the right wisdom towards humans and that wisdom will get picked up sooner or later. According to Micah White, the right thing happens when it is supposed to. 

And I agree with Dr. White (Yep, he has a PhD): clicktivism damages the possibility of change. If I am capturing him accurately, he cited a Chinese war stragetist who said the people who win wars do not win the most battles, and those who do win the most battles always lose. Dr. White said that our current form of government thrives on protest that serves them but does not bring about meaningful change. Our current form of government uses protest to keep us in line, allow us to think our activism matters but it doesn't. Like this example: people coordinated the largest anti-war demonstrations in the history of humanity before the Iraq war, not just in this country but all over the globe and those protests did nothing to stop the war. We need a whole new way of doing things. And, now this is me talking (I did not hear this tonight but he might agree with this), when something totally new is required, until it appears, it is hard to see it. As he did say, the Occupy Movement founders had no plans, just an idea and suddenly there were Occupy Movements all over the world and a huge tent city on Wall Street.

My spirits were flagging. Dr. White cheered me up.

And he is such a cutie.

my love will be your food

Lyrics to Kiss

U don't have to be beautiful
To turn me on
I just need your body baby
From dusk till dawn
You don't need experience
To turn me out
You just leave it all up to me
I'm gonna show u what it's all about

You don't have to be rich
To be my girl
You don't have to be cool
To rule my world
Ain't no particular sign I'm more compatible with
I just want your extra time and your


You got to not talk dirty, baby
If u wanna impress me
You can't be to flirty, mama
I know how to undress me (Yeah)
I want to be your fantasy
Maybe u could be mine
You just leave it all up to me
We could have a good time

You don't have to be rich
To be my girl
You don't have to be cool
To rule my world
Ain't no particular sign I'm more compatible with
I just want your extra time and your


I think I wanna dance
Gotta, Gotta
Little girl Wendy's parade
Gotta, gotta, gotta

Women not girls rule my world
I said they rule my world
Act your age, mama (Not your shoe size)
Not your shoe size
Maybe we could do the twirl
You don't have to watch Dynasty
To have an attitude
You just leave it all up to me
My love will be your food

You don't have to be rich
To be my girl
You don't have to be cool
To rule my world
Ain't no particular sign I'm more compatible with
I just want your extra time and your


fortune always leaves one door open

“Fortune always leaves one door open in disasters to admit a remedy”.
~ El ingenio hildalgo, Don Quixote de la Mancha, written by Miguel Cervantes. This is considered the first modern novel. It was first published in the 17th Century.

I first read this great work of art in its original old Spanish while studying in Guanajuato, Mexico in an off-campus program of my undergrad university. Right now, in April 2016, I am reading it in English translation. I consider Cervantes masterpiece to be a grail quest. I am writing a grail quest, or hero's journey.  The more I read, the more I see how Don Quixote has influenced a great deal of art and culture.

I am as constant as the northern star

You are in my blood like holy wine, so bitter and so sweet.

And even though you are gone, I am as constant as the northern star. I can love you as much as I want.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

in Nov 2008, Obama chose Rahm, revealing who Obama really is

I was still living in Mountain View in Nov 2008, when Obama won the presidency but I wanted to move closer to BART. Not owning a car, getting out of suburbia and into the city or to the East Bay was, at a minimum, four hours round trip on trains, and that does not count the seemingly unavidable waits when I changed from Caltrain to BART at Millbrae.

In that fall, I took a writing class in Berkeley to get a sense if Berkeley was the right place for me to move. And, on impulse, once I arrived in Berkeley, I emailed a male acquaintance who then lived in Oakland (he no longer does, as far as I know, for he is no longer in my life) and told him I would be free around 4:30 pm., would wait for him at the downtown BART until no later than 4:45, mostly so he would not feel pressured to show up. I thought giving a possible meeting time a narrow window would have been easier for him to say no, whereas if I had said "I'll wait as long as I have to", that wasn't great for either of us. Oh, I did not have a smartphone and no way to get online, not readily.  When I made my impulsive invite, I had gone into a free wifi coffeeshop to do it before going to my writing class.

Then I walked to the class, downhill on University almost to Sacramento.  And the class ran over, not ending as scheduled at 4 p.m. I had to get up and leave to be at my suggested meeting point at 4:30.

He showed up. We went to Jupiter's. I remember telling him that I didn't want to tell him why I was in Berkeley.  I was very excited because on that walk, I had experienced a strong, energetic certainty that Berkeley was where I should apartment hunt. I had told this guy a few months before this that I was beginning to look for a place to live in the East Bay and he became upset. We weren't dating. We were never involved romantically. I was flabbergasted when, that August, I told him I was looking in the East Bay and particularly in Oakland. I only considered Oakland because it had cheaper apartments than most places. Geez, I think that was why he was in Oakland at the time, for the cheaper housing (altho this is not quite as true these days!).  I didn't want to tell him I was taking a class in Berkeley, after having retreated from my search in the face of his abusive anger.

Come on, I didn't have any codependent responsibility to clear my life plans with that guy. It's not like he consulted me about any of his life choices. It had never occurred to me that where I moved was any of his business. But he had said "If you move to Oakland,  I will have to severely curtail our interactions" and he said it in loud anger. It shocked me because we hardly saw one another. He might have seen me five times in 2008 and that included attending the same conference in SF.  Months passed in which we had no contact. Why did he think I had to clear anything with him? He did call up a few days later and express regret for his tone but he didn't quite backpedal his angry demand that I stay out of the East Bay.  I was hurt and I stopped looking for awhile.

Feeling tender, I took a new approach. I decided I'd start trekking to the East Bay more often to get a feel for how it felt and where I sensed I should be. That's why I took a six week writing classs, to come here six weeks in a row. But I knew that first day of class.

I told him I didn't want to tell him why I was in Berkeley because I feared his anger.

His angered worked out, in the end, because timing was very important to scoring my great apartment. I got very, very lucky in December 2008 and if he had not blown up at me when I first broached the subject of my oplan to move to the East Bay, I probably would have rented a cheap dump in Fruitvale.

Anyway, this is such a boring post, but as we sat at Jupiter's, with the two of us not having talked to one another since he apologized that August for her abusive outburst over my life choices, we commented on how Obama had won the election and asked one another what we thought of Obama.

I remember what I said. I said "Well, his first staffing choice was to hire Rahm Emmanuel for his Chief of staff. I never felt great about him, I voted for him because Hillary, but Rahm?  He's not going to be about hope and change."  He didn't really say anything.

I see, with the vaunted vision of hindsight, that he hardly ever talked about anything with me, like he was always very guarded, holding himself like a hand of cards, keeping the cards very closely held to hide who he was from me.

I next sat him in Jan 2009 when I came to Berkeley to sign my lease. My building was not yet finished. I was sure I was moving to the East Bay so I decided to tell him. AFter dinner, we walked over to look at my almost completed new building. I remember saying to him that I owed the apartment to him, that if he had not been nasty back in August about my wish to move, I'd be living in a dump in Fruitvale.

We had a great visit that day.  He asked me, over dinner, a very personal question about myself that I immediately began to answer. Then I stopped and said "I can't imagine you ever talking to me as openly as I am talking to you, talking about such a private thing. You asked a very private question." The question was so private that I don't want to post it online. I don't think anyone I know reads this but, just in case, I don't want to reference his intrusive question.

I am open and trusting.  I would have answered the question of anyone who had asked it, although I can imagine some settings in which I would not have been comfortable talking about it.

so I met my man

Yes, I met my man. I am still sure I spotted my man, the right man for me. But he did not see, feel or want what I saw, felt and wanted and now he is no in my life at all.

But I am more sure as time passes that he was the one.

Some meet their karmic destiny partner and stay together for forty, fifty and even more years.  Time is relative. I met my destiny and he passed on me.

I can love him as much as I want. And, more and more, thank goddess, it doesn't hurt like it did. For the first year, I was only wound. These days, I feel whole again. And I am able to enjoy the love I have for him.

He is wonderful.  I will wait a longly lifetime since I have no choice.  I might find another 'my man' but I don't think so.  I guess the work I was supposed to do with him can go on without him.  I have learned so much as I have struggled in the years since he shunned me. 

These days, I am loving myself and trying to love myself as much as I loved him. And guess what?  I can do it.  I can be bedazzled by me.  Not a bad gift from my man.

baby bliss

When my daughter was born, I kept her with me in my hospital room instead of having a nurse bring her to me to feed. I would fall asleep with her sleeping on my chest and a nurse would usually come by, wake up tired-new-mother-me and warn me my baby could fall off, telling me I couldn't sleep with my baby on my chest.

The bed had sides, I pointed out to those nurses. She would not fall far plus the instant my baby moved, I was awake and attentive.

I remained keenly awake, attuned and attentive to my baby throughout her infancy.

I don't think any time in my life has been more blissful than the time I spent with my baby. The bliss never ended for me.

How I miss her.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

and fear is an illusion

We are always safe. Only love is real. Any other belief or perception is illusion. Fear is the most powerful illusion.

I wanna wear Prada and Gucci

When my daughter Rosie was about fifteen, deep into anorexia but, as she had been from the time she could communicate about what she wore, she cared a whole lot about fashion. Fashion is a realm that has never really captured me. I like nice clothes and when I have been feeling flush, I have bought nice clothes but designer labels never registered with me until my daughter started talking about them.

I just remembered a time when she was not yet three, and we were visiting my mom, youngest brother and only sister in Chicago. I was down with the flu, brother was at work and mom took my sister, then in college, out shopping, as mothers do. My sis was always more of a clothes horse than me, also, but I don't think she was struck by the designer label bug. So the three women of my family left me home with my flu and went clothes shopping.

When they got back, my sister got us all laughing hard as she described how Rosie had behaved. Sis had been looking at dresses and Rosie was short, not quite three so, what two feet and maybe a couple inches? But Rosie went through one dress rack, pulled out each dresses, scanned it up and down, then scanned my sister up and down and shook her head yes or no, indicating whether or not my toddler thought my college-age sister should try it on. My sister said Rosie had an unerring sense of what would look good on her aunt.

Then, laughing hard, with my mom and I also laughing and Rosie laughing because that's what toddlers do when people they love are adoring them, and we all were, my sister exclaimed "Where did she get this thing for clothes?  she sure didn't get it from you."

I had to concur. My daughter did not get her focus on clothing from me.

So when Rosie was about fifteen, one morning just before she left for school, she said "I don't really care what kind of job I have after college as long as I have to wear Prada and Gucci to work."

"Then you better prepare for a high income career, my darling."

My Rosie always attracted what she wanted. Always.  I could write many examples but I'm unwell today and won't write much more, just finish this one story.  I was reminded that she always seemed to attract what she wanted because I just remembered that I made a friend, another Waldorf mom, who was also designer obsessed and a very small woman. Once, she asked me if it was okay with me if she gave some of her hand-me-downs to Rosie.

Rosie was thrilled with all the secondhand clothes from that very fashionable conscious woman. And one of the clothes my friend gave her was a Gucci blazer. No kidding. the kid had manifested herself some Gucci by age 12 or 13.

So when she said she was always going to earn so much money that she could buy lots of designer clothing, I was sure she would.

And I believe she does wear exquisitely beautiful clothes. That was certainly always her goal.

I used to comb clearance racks in designer shops and departments to score at least some designer things on deep clearance. One of my best scores, while she was at a fancy prep h.s., was a Donna Karran sweater that had originally, in the late nineties, cost about $180 and I got it for about $17.
I spent a lot of time shopping for clothes that were beyond what I could afford by combing clearance racks. I used to think of that time as comparable to earning money. I earned a lot of money for the half hour I had spent at clearance racks the day I scored that Donna Karran!

The best part of my bargains, from my perspective, was recounting the hunt for the bargain, rejoicing with friends over the super duper low price I had scored. To Rosie, who wanted everyone to think she had bought designer Donna Karran at list price, she was mortified if I ever told my bargain tales around her friends. I didn't. But I wanted to.

I loved her just as she was. I don't think I ever once said anything to her about how I thought about heer focus on expensive labels. She knew I didn't wear them myself. And I might have talked about my clothing preferences. I won't think she gave me enough credit for how hard I tried to give her what she wanted with what resources I had.

I miss her.

a tough loss when I practiced law

Long ago and far away, I practiced law in a red state. In the early eighties, gay rights were on society's radar but there were few inroads of success. And in "my" red state, gay parents had a hard time finding representation in divorce custody matters.

I was hired by a gay man, who had been rejected by many lawyers, after his divorce judge gave him no visitation rights simply because the man had come out. I don't know who initiated the divorce. That happened before I repped him. I would have known it back when I repped the gay father but that details has faded for me.

What stands out is the guy loved his daughter, was shattered that he could not see her.

He hired me to get him some visitation rights. He was willing to accept almost any conditions to visits with his daughter, such as formally supervised visits.

I did what I could. Petitioned for visitation, prepared for the hearing.

As soon as that hearing opened, it was obvious my client was going to get shut out of his daughter's life again. He blamed me and angrily fired me before we could leave the courtroom. I understood his anger. And it wasn't due to any of my representation that he was denied visitation with his daughter. It was good old fashioned bigotry.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

trees are social beings.. .

My maternal grandmother started calling me Tree as soon as I was born. And my mom had traveled by train, ripe with me and accompanied by my 1.5 year old brother from Chicago to South Dakota, so my grandma knew me from the very beginning.

I loved how she called me "Tree, dear". She never said merely "Tree".

So my family nickname is not related to tree. Tree is part of the pronunciation of my given name, which always felt a bit formal and stilted to me. My 'real' name is beauatiful but it never felt like me.

Tree no longer feels right. I don't want to ask people to stop calling me Tree after they accommodated me by calling me Tree in the first place.

Only in recent years, I have begun to, irrationally, identify with trees, like trees in a forest, with myself, but the phenomenon of trees is unrelated to my name.

Of course trees are living beings and of course they feel. Anyone who has camped much, and I used to camp a lot, living outdoors more or less, knows trees are beings.

I did not know until I read this FB thing that trees will keep ancient stumps of long felled former companions for centuries -- centuries -- by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots.

Tree is a good name for me. I try to feed those in my life and those gone from my life. I have an invisible sugar solution I send to people I love who have drifted away from me.

Some friends tease me for remembering just about everyone I ever knew. And sometimes, a guy here and there, has been bothered when I remember things from my interactions with him that he iether doesn't remember or wishes I didn't recall.  I don't choose what I remember.  I jsut remember. A guy in my writing group, who has said lots of very nice things about my work in recent months, recently said that he is amazed by all the detail I remember. He said that when I had read something about myself at age 4.  Right now, I don't remember the me-at-age-four story. I only remember my friend's compliment.

As described in this quote, and who knows where the quote came from or whether it is reliable data about trees, trees sound like moms, nurturers. 

Parsifal, Fisher King or Cundrie? or?

Ten years ago, I met a radiant light being who happened to be a male. I was struck blind, in a sense for I could still see with my eyes, by his light.  I confused my experience of this man as a dazzling, radiant light being with romantic love. And I made the mistake, a grievous one, of also believing this an represented a Parsifal, a young, royal knight who, upon gaining wisdom and consciousness, ascends to the Grail Throne as King of the Grail. The Grail is love.

He may be destined to be a Grail King, for all humans are, but I saw him as a kind of enchantment, already arrived to his highest self.

Now, ten years later and about three years since he chose to shun me forever, I am reconsidering. Today I think this man was the founded King, the Fisher King, the perpetually wounded and that I was Parsifal.

If this is true, then it was, and continues to be even as he remains committed to shunning me, a grievous mistake.

Mistakes are okay in this life. Parsifal teaches us that, if nothing else. He stumbles into the kingdom of love very early in his life but he fails to convey empathy for the Grail King's perpetual wound.

I mistook this man for Parsifal, which he likely will become, but he was a woundd king when we met and I treated him much like Parsifal himself treated the wounded grail king when P first met the GK.  I did not voice empathy for him. 

When Parsifal fails to voice empathy to the wounded Grail King, he is cast out of the Kingfom of Love and it atkes a lifetime for him to find the kingdom once more. He was always destined to find it, as all of us are. It can take many journeys, battles, baths, plots, twists and turns but, inescapably, we all eventually get it, even if it takes several lifetimes of endless learning.

I did not voice my empathy for his wound.

But could I ever have done so?  He never showed me his wound. In fact, it still seems to me, he worked very hard to hide his wound from me and I, the enabler maybe, went along.  I saw his wound but I did not voice that I saw it.  I did feel empathy for him and his human imperfection, his wound, always, but I did not voice it because I believed he would shun me if I did.

So, instead, I showed him my deep woundedness and he fled, slashing a great sword, clashing angrily and calling me a fucking bitch.  I wasn't being a fucking bitch.  I was showing him my wound.

There is only one right way to respond to another human who honors you with a glimpse of who they are.  If anyone reads this, perhaps they will post a comment to share with me what the right way to response when someone honors you by allowing you to see them as the imperfect and flaw human we all are. 

a world without businesses? cogitating

I am not quite able to assume organizations will always exist. I believe humans will eventually become more and more attuned to the energies whorling through this cosmos and within and through us and we will all come together as needed to achieve common goals. Like anthills, which appear to have no hierarchy.

For those familiar with Schermer's Theory U, or Presencing, the essence of Dr. Schermer's work is human beings co-sensing and then co-moving together.

Rudolf Steiner, found of Anthroposophy, Waldorf, biodynamic farming and many other initiatives, wrote extensively about a healthy Threefold Social Order, and especially wrote a lot about a healthy economic life. He indicated that the economic realm of a healthy threefold social order, or human culture (the threefoldness is thinking, feeling and willing) exists solely to meet the needs of the other realms. A threefold social order has artistic realm, social realm and economic realm. The economic realm should, and someday will if we don't snuff ourselves out first, in perfect equipoise with artistic (art/spirit/feeling) and social realms (roads, schools, healthcare). The economic realm exists solely to meet need, never to accumulate more than is needed and never to deny need so some might have more than they need.

Nature works in equipoise, when humanity does not interfere. When something becomes overgrown, nature cuts it back. If water runs low, nature adapts.

No 'organization' is needed in nature other than the organization of living in balance. It is hard for me to envision an economic realm of human culture that exists in perfect equipoise with need . and as I have written these comments, I have grown mindful that some of my comments do not include animals, although by invoking nature, I am including all life forms. The Earth itself is a life form, one humanity should treat with great reverence, as most indigenous traditioins always have and as animals do.

So to answer your question: can I envision a world without businesses? I can imagine a world without capitalism. And I can imagine a world in which initiatives form to provide for what others need and from their efforts they receive their livelihood but there would be no profit in the world I long for. Meeting needs would allow the person doing the work of meeting others needs to meet their own. Is that business? Not to me.

Monday, April 18, 2016

I am the Bread.

Here are some words about I AM the Bread, by Kristine Kaine, available free on Amazon for a few days (as an ebook).
"St John is emphasizing that Christ is food and we must feed on him. If we take this bread into us we receive life from it. Unless we give our I AM its rightful place in our being we will always remain hungry. This is the yearning we see all around us. People know that there is manna to be eaten, but they think it will come from heaven, from outside, as a gift. They don’t realize that the manna is within them and only through their own effort can they unwrap it and eat it."

I don't think I give my I AM its rightful place in my being but I am working on it.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

destined to be a supernova

I don't recognize the box

worried, maybe be experiencing diabeticketoacidosis

I have been having a wicked hard time managing my glucose.  It is increasingly my experience that no matter how much insulin I inject, after I have become more and more careful counting my carbs so I can properly dose insulin, my glucose just goes up and up and up.

I are, this morning,  a breakfast I have nearly every day so I know the carb count is about five carbs (I try to start off my day with a protein breakfast but I add fiber and raw cacao and spices). For a few weeks, I was dosoing an extra unit of insulin, above what my endocrinologist has prescribed. Still, my glucose rises and rises.

Today, two hours after my five carb (or less) breakfast, my glucose was at 140, which is slightly above my ideal target but below the amount I was toldd in my four-day insulin class was okay post-prandial. In that class, they told me my glucose could rise to 180 within two hours and that was okay. So 140 seems all right, right? It has been my recent experience that the movement of walking to my pool will lead to my glucose rising so I injected two units, a dose I made up on my own because I knew my glucose would rise before I got to the pool.

Then i get to the pool, maybe 3 blocks away (actually a bit less than 3 blocks, I think . . .), test again and my glucose was 220. I dosed a ton before getting in the pool, like four units, 3 as prescribed to bring it down when it is high and one for the swimming.

When I got out of the pool and shower, I checked again and my glucose was over 240. So I dosed several units. After that, the downhill walk home frightened me.  I sat and rested at every possible place. At one point, resting on a kind of cement bench along the outside wall of UC baseball stadium on Bancroft, I realized I seemed to be at risk of losing consciousness. My vision fading in and out. At tha tpoint, I'm barely a block from home. I had forgotten my phone but I would have feel silly calling anyone for a ride. Funny, when I left the sport-rec center, my instinct told me to hop on a bus that was right there. There is one bus that stops outside my pool and right on the corner where my buildilng is, but I shrugged off the bus ride. i was out to get exercise, taking a bus 3 block seemed wrong.

I wished I had taken the bus when, several times, I thought I was about to lose conscousness.

I had intended to pick up an insulin prescription awaiting me at the pharmacy, which adds a total of two blocks more walking.  I was surprinsgly torn, debating if I should first go home and rest and then go ot again to get my insulin refille, but that would, over all, add more walking.

Plus if I was at risk of losing consciousness, of passing out, and I know this eems sad and weird, if I collapsed on the street I'd be more likely to get help. Plus it's a nearly flat block extra to the pharmacy and back home, although the finall approach has a very very small uphill grade. I have to be feeling very weak to think of the street I live on as uphill. But these days, the slightly, most subtle incline can defeat me.

I know I was close to losing conscousness. When i did get home, I tested, injected and ate a banana for the potassium. Low potassium can lead to diabeticketoacidosis but I had eaten what is suposed to be more than  a day of needed potassium in my breakfast.

I tried to describe my health to my primary doc last Monday. She said it is fatigue and she dismissed my side torso pain as constipation,e ven after I told her I am never constipated. Which I am not. I explicitly eat a ton of fiber every single day. I have smooth, soft stools always because I eat carefully to avoid constipation. my primary care doc demonstrated, yet again, that she doesn't really know much about diabetes.

My ketone test strips indicate moderate ketones, which, for a type one with my other symptoms likely means a problem.

I almost didn't go swimming today because I felt so bad physically. I forced myself to go. I toild myself going would evelop my will force. And it was an act of will, every step, every lap, even the shower and every step home:  acts of will.  I'm frightened.

And I am glad I see my endocrinologist tomorrow.  I have been told to go to ER when I suspect diabetic ketoacidosis but going to the Er seems like dramatic overkill. If I am right, what is going on could be lathal.

Tomorrow. My diabetes doc.  what to eat in the meantime? I'm going to barise spinach and poach a piece of salmon.

if we lie to the government v. government lying to us

trust mobius loop?

I don't believe it is ever right . . . .

I don't believe it is ever right to sever relationships

eating differently

I had a visitor from out of town at New Year's. I found out his idea of a vacation is eating out and drinking in bars. I offered to take him to Big Sur, Yosemite or even Point Reyes (not nearly as far as the other places I just mentioned) or maybe Muir Woods. Even though this was his first visit to California he shrugged and said "I've seen oceans and I saw redwoods as a kid traveling with my parents."

So we ate out. Breakfast lunch and dinner nearly the entire week. I did have dinner for him in my home the day he arrived, but I think he mostly agreed to eat in because it was salmon that I said needed to be cooked that day, for I had thawed it times for his arrival. 

I almost never eat out. Partly I avoid dining out, which is a lot of fun but really is a part of our consumer culture. And so much hipster dining makes food too precious for me.

However.  I saw how much my food habits have changed in the past ten or more years.  At every restaurant we ate, for any meal of the day, I zeroed in on the entrees with the most greens. And, I am happy to report, everywhere we went offered lots of greens.

My guest did not always go for greens. And he had said he wanted to try 'real' California food trends. So I tried to persuade him to eat one meal in an award-winning vegan restaurant, some place in Fort Mason. I forget the name at the moment. That place has been around along time and won lots of awards, not vegan awards, just great restaurant food awards. He would not consider it.

That week showed me that I make much better choices than I used to.  At once place, I actually ordeed a side of braised spinach. I just had to have more greens.

I did not make any of my baked kale crisps for him. I wish I had.  To make them:  cut kale into bite sized pieces, toss lightly with a very small amount of olive oil and bake at 325 for about 20 minutes but keep an eye on your kale. It might need less baking time. You can eat kale crisp hot, like hot popcorn. Or store it for anytime. Oh, I also salt mine when I take it out of the oven with Himalayan salt.

I am going to bake some kale right now.

Once, when I had another houseguest, I had a large bowl of kale crisps for dinner. She had eaten out without me. When she came in, she exclaimed "you can't have nothing but kale for dinner!" like I wass actually doing something wrong, revealing her food choices could likely use some improvement.  I said "Yes I can make kale my whole dinner. I just did."

I recall a time when my mom, a great aunt of mine (my mother's aunt) and I went out to eat at the Loring Cafe in Minneapolis. It was my then-favorite go-to dinner restaurant. I didn't go often but whenever my mom came, we ate there. My great aunt Effie asked to join us. Also my daughter was with us. We settled into our table and opened the menus. Effie was appalled by the prices, which were moderate at most.  She closed her menu and said "I won't be eating anything. And I won't pay for this." She was wealthy and usually treated. But my mom was wealthy and always treated when she took my daughter and I out to eat. Mom said "Effie, I'm treating. Order what you want.  My treat."  Effie said "Food is not this important to me. I won't order anything. You go ahead, I'll wait and eat when I get home."

Of course we left and went to the awful, old fashioned all-you-can-eat overcooked steamtray buffet that was the only restaurant Effie ever really went to in those years. I opted not to eat there, just keeping my loved ones company.

It was not a successful outing. that must have been around 1990. Effie died a few years later. My mom died a few years ago. My daughter considers me dead to her and has an eating disorder. I am sure my daughter knows a lot about good food. She used to be in the fancy eating business after graduating from Cornell Hotel school. An anorexic, she said "Anorexics love food. It is all we think about. It makes sense that I go into restaurant management. I love food." Her words sounded okay and I did not say what I was thinking. I was thinking "If she loves food so much, why does she starve herself?" But she anticipated my question, I guess, because she added "My relationship with food is damaged but I love food."

When I ordered that side of spinach a few months ago, I thought of my daughter. I hoped she was eating lots of greens:  low in calorie but very nurturing. One can eat a whole lot of greens and not many calories. I guess my hopeful thought was a prayer that she is healthy and well in her relationship to food these days.

think differently

make America kind again

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." - Plato

Saturday, April 16, 2016

solitary poor brutish and short

The title of this post, of course, is a quote from Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, which I read in college for some class. The only take-away for me was his line "Life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."  I remember sitting in the student union, overlooking the beautiful river down below, and shyly suggesting that when Hobbes included the word short, he was admitting life had some positives. Otherwise, why would a solitary, poor, nasty and brutish life ever be short? Such a life could never be short enough, unless one is a masochist.

I might be a masochist.  I have a long history of thinking unkindness is friendship.  Not just unkindness from men, although my tolerance for abusive behavior from men is even higher than my tolerance for abusive female friends.

It is as if I never developed an off switch, never learned that if I feel bad when I interact with someone over and over, the relationship is abusive and I can, indeed I should, walk away.

And life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and way too fucking long when I tolerate emotional abuse.

Winter Stars

“Winter Stars” by Larry Davis. Winter Stars is name of one of his books of poetry.

My father once broke a man’s hand
Over the exhaust pipe of a John Deere tractor. The man,
Ruben Vasquez, wanted to kill his own father
With a sharpened fruit knife, and he held
The curved tip of it, lightly, between his first
Two fingers, so it could slash
Horizontally, & with surprising grace,
Across a throat. It was like a glinting beak in a hand,
And, for a moment, the light held still
On those vines. When it was over,
My father simply went in & ate lunch, & then, as always,
Lay alone in the dark, listening to music.
He never mentioned it.
I never understood how anyone could risk his life,
Then listen to Vivaldi.
Sometimes, I go out into this yard at night,
And stare through the wet branches of an oak
In winter, & realize I am looking at the stars
Again. A thin haze of them, shining
And persisting.
It used to make me feel lighter, looking up at them.
In California, that light was closer.
In a California no one will ever see again,
My father is beginning to die. Something
Inside him is slowly taking back
Every word it ever gave him.
Now, if we try to talk, I watch my father
Search for a lost syllable as if it might
Solve everything, & though he can’t remember, now,
The word for it, he is ashamed…
If you can think of the mind as a place continually
Visited, a whole city placed behind
The eyes, & shining, I can imagine, now, its end—
As when the lights go off, one by one,
In a hotel at night, until at last
All of the travelers will be asleep, or until
Even the thin glow from the lobby is a kind
Of sleep; & while the woman behind the desk
Is applying more lacquer to her nails,
You can almost believe that elevator,
As it ascends, must open upon starlight.
I stand out on the street, & do not go in.
That was our agreement, at my birth.
And for years I believed
That what went unsaid between us became empty,
And pure, like starlight, & that it persisted.
I got it all wrong.
I wound up believing in words the way a scientist
Believes in carbon, after death.
Tonight, I’m talking to you, father, although
It is quiet here in the Midwest, where a small wind,
The size of a wrist, wakes the cold again—
Which may be all that’s left of you & me.
When I left home at seventeen, I left for good.
That pale haze of stars goes on & on,
Like laughter that has found a final, silent shape
On a black sky. It means everything
It cannot say. Look, it’s empty out there, & cold.
Cold enough to reconcile
Even a father, even a son.

the only answer to this solitary, bleak, brutish and short life

The only answer to this solidary, bleak, brutish and short life is to love, especially to love those we perceive to have caused us pain.

Other people don't really cause us pain. We cause all our own pain in how we choose, albiet often unconsciusly, to interpret those we interact with.

If we want someone to love us and they don't, that person is not causing us pain. we cause it by being unwilling, perhaps unconsciously able, to give all others complete freedom to be who they are, want what they want, love what and whom they choose to love.

If we choose to remain in relationships that steadily leave us feeling wounded, we are responsible. We are accepting things we should not accept. Some would characterize a relationship in which we feel chronically hurt, unvalued, dismissed, ignored as abusive but we are choosing to interact with who we interact with.

There are some situations that don't quite fit this somewhat new-age-y concept of total self responsibility. I have had people in my life spew their self responsibility preaching at me when it seems to me that they are knowingly behaving badly towards me and offloading their responsibility for how their bad behavior affects me. Or others they are abusive towards.

The only answer is to love. Love those who have caused us pain, or we think have caused us pain. Love those we love. Love those we believe love us. Love strangers, neighbors and everyone.

I am a work in progress.  Today I feel love for all, even the few people I tell myself, with no right to do so, should love me.  My daughter should have a relationship with me, I tell myself all the time and it always hurts to think of her.  I am not going to stop thinking of her. I will never stop longing forconnection. I will never wish she might even talk to me about her choice. This wound, my Grail King wound, will never leave me.

Friday, April 15, 2016

proud flesh

For What Binds Us by Jane Hirshfield
There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight.
The way things stay so solidly
wherever they’ve been set down—
and gravity, scientists say, is weak.
And see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
more strong
than the simple, untested surface before.
There’s a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,
as all flesh
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest-
And when two people have loved each other
see how it is like a
scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

messing with girl power in the 8th grade

I graduated from the 8th grade in 1967. Our 8th grade class held 'elections' for a class president. It was some kind of lesson, but not a very well thought out one because we had no class government. But the teacher had us form two parties nominate two candidates - of course they were both boys in 1967 and then each party got to hae a convention. Our group met in the music room. Our presidential candidat was a guy named Matt and he assumed he had all the girls' votes. Matt was well liked by all the girls and our group was mostly girls. I think Matt was all set to win and be our class president. . . until, at our party convention to plan our election behavior, I asked to be matt's VP. We had been told by our teacher to pick a president and a vp. Matt did not miss a beat -- he spoke way too quickly. He gasped and said "You? Not you." I said "Why not me?" and in that moment, I became aware of my popularity. I didn't give a damn about being Matt's VP but I understood most of the girls in the music room liked me, and many loved me, having gone to school with me for 8 years, 9 if we count kindergarden. When Matt laughed at my request, I realized he was a goner.

And he was. I don't remember who the other candidate was but Matt got almost no votes. And the guy who did become our empty-bessel class president didn't earn it. My strength, my popularity, was affronted, all the girls had witnessed it.

Matt immediately saw his mistake and tried to backpedal. I was a stubborn thirteen year old and I had dealt with four brothers picking on me all my life. All I did was remove myself from the room and left Matt to accept his new reality: that he would not win.

It was not a good class exercise but it taught me a lot about myself. And, I imagine, but do not know, that it taught Matt some lessons. He never really talked to me again, blaming me for his loss, never seeing, I believe, that he had brought the loss on himself.

He could have finessed his way to a male VP candidate. It was his shocked blunt reaction "You, are you kidding? You as my VP?"

And our 8th grade teacher had just recently announced to the class, proud of me, that I had the highest IQ in the whole school. that meant higher than boys and higher than my brothers. I never quite believed I was smart.

What I sensed when Matt rejected my wish to run for the empty role of his empty job VP was my intuition.

In the same moment that Matt realized he had blundered badly, I think I felt some of my personal power for the first time. It felt good.

Matt tried to save himself. As I marched out of that music room, he called after me, making an even bigger blunder "But you will still vote for me, right? You nominated me."  I called back, as I stepped down the two steps to exit that music room, "No, Matt, I am voting for Tommy Cecil." And as I said it, I knew almost no one would vote for Matt. All the kids in the other caucus would vote for Tommy and all the girls, which was most of our caucus, would vote for Tommy because Matt had said a girl could never be his VP.

It's not nice to mess with girl power.

Contrast that to my daughter's 8th grade. She was widely seen as the smartest, funniest and most gifted student in the whole class. The class teacher had the children vote to select their 8th grade graduation speaker and they chose my Rosie.

She composed a really great speech ,and it was not off the cuff. She was always a good writer. She had told me she had begun working on the speech in one of the two large vans the 8th graders rode to the Grand Canyon and back for their big 8th grade trip. She said the whole thing came to her all of a piece.

My friend Victor attended the graduation. He was friends with several of the 8th graders parents, including me. After Rosie's speech, he said "That kid is going places."
And so she has. I think she has risen far in her career. I hope she is personally and professionally happy. It is hard to imagine she could be happy while being so unkind to the giver of her life, to me, the mother. I nursed her. I made sacrifices for her she has no awareness of because she was the child and I was the adult. I gave and gave and gave, like Shel Silverstein's Giving Tree and when she, wrongly, concluded there was nothing more for her to take from me, that she didn't need me, she dropped me dead.