Sunday, November 30, 2008

Three babies in the last two days. The air is soft, silky, misty. The babies want to come out now because it is weather between the worlds, soft and dim.

We saw the movie, "Milk" yesterday. I know how it ends but I still cried. What is it about candlelight marches?

In my neighborhood, you can put stuff on the curb and later it is gone, old paint, marginal furniture, clothes, lamps, etc. The people's recycling system. And you don't have to shlep it to Goodwill.

For inexpensive cathartic fun, take your junk to the dump, throw everything into the maw of hell and stand back and feel cleansed. Yes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Today a year ago, my brother left his job, went to his estranged wife's house, unlocked the shed and went in and hung himself. His stepson found him.

My brother Dirk called me to tell me. I was at work. I went to pieces and there were midwives all around me. I remember this. Michelle was there and she said, don't worry, we'll take care of stuff here, you go and do what you need to...'

Today Michelle called me to ask a question. I told her what day it is. She said, 'well, I didn't remember but it must be somewhere cuz I needed to call you...'

It's like that. Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Back from a weekend with J. Love is grand when it doesn't kill you.

The first real day in Nepal, we ate breakfast in an open porch overlooking the street. Streets are narrow, unpaved, dirty and clogged with people, animals, bicycles, scooters, cars, etc. We were spotted by beggars and guys selling stuff. The guys selling stuff are everywhere. They try to sell you postcards, malas, carved thingys like elephants and buddhas, jewelry, etc. They are VERY persistent. We weren't hip to the bargaining thing so we dodged and feinted, to try to get rid of them. They latched on to Charles, a big tall African American guy and would not leave him alone.

The beggars lead with their missing limb, hand, leg, whatever. If they are blind, someone pushes their face into view. Sometimes, people are so bent over they walk in half. Girls with babies on their hips carry empty baby bottles and wave them in your face. The kids are dirty and ragged, they will pluck at you, at your clothes, hands and gesture to their mouths and stomachs. They say 'ma,ma' for rupees, for candy. I have a permanent hole in my psyche where a lot of those memories are now, like a sharp smack to the face. We live like kings and queens. Our little group was grateful for toilet paper, toilets, air conditioners. And water purifiers. Ok, I won't go there but coming back here, I have so much to process, our greed and heartlessness. Ok, my greed and heartlessness. To avoid the beggars, don't look at them. Put up a little wall around yourself. I did give a few rupees to some. But the need is vast...

I bought a white Tara thanka. It is beautiful. She has eyes in her hands and feet and one in her forehead. She has compassion for everything.

Water buffalo are really big. And there really are cows everywhere in India. Krishna rode a cow, I guess, so they are sacred. I'd like to get that gig.

I still tear up when I think about Obama.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I did not sleep at all last night, not at all. Jet lag is so weird. You lie there and tell yourself to go to sleep but your brain in buzzing and sparking, like a bad generator. Speaking of generators, Nepal and India have generators to pump water into the rice fields and for power. It stinks. And all the cars, jeeps, trucks, three wheeled taxis all run on diesel. In all the hotels we stayed in, fancy or plain, the power went off, for a minute, for five minutes, whatever.

Jean was in the bathroom and I heard her gagging and spitting. Apparently, she was brushing her teeth with bug repellent. It doesn't taste very good but those mosquitoes didn't bite her teeth that night!

In India, the heat sticks. My hair stayed in a tie because it was never really clean. Plus add some bug spray and sun screen and voila! the glued to the head look. The first night we were there, we stayed in a guest house. Jean crashed, eye shade, tylenol PM, the works. I desperately wanted a shower after the plane, about a zillion hours. I turned on the water and waited...and waited...and hot water. So I toughed it out under the cold. It was to be prescient. Cold showers are refreshing, actually. The only place we had a real shower was the Hyatt, obscenely opulent. The shower was so strong and hot, I almost fell down. And my hair was shiny and loose when it dried. I'd almost forgotten what that was like. In the countryside, everyone washes under the pump, head, pits, face.

The next day we sent into a thanka shop and spent a lot of money. We weren't sorry. The thankas are gorgeous. If I can figure out how to get a picture here, I will post it.
Next week is the 1st anniversary of Geoffrey's death. When I was in Varanasi, I watched the bodies burning by the Ganges and I floated a candle ringed with marigolds for him. City of the dead, sky full of black smoke. I sat in a boat and watched. All of it. Goodbye, Geoff.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm baaaaack

I thought I would give you stories in pieces because there is too much to tell, all at once. Anyway, I get to do anything I want on here.

Today I am way jet-lagged. And hungry. I'm not sure what to eat anymore and that's a shame because I l0o0ve food (hey, I like the way that looks). But India and Nepal fry everything. If it isn't fried, the microorganisms that will kill you or make you have very unpleasant symptoms will NOT BE DEAD. So-samosas are really good a few times but then after a while your gall bladder starts to hurt. I could hear it saying in a little sad voice---help me, I'm drowning in grease in here---. Then there is milk tea and I'm sorry, but there just shouldn't be oil circles floating in my tea. It's wrong. And I know the whole world eats white rice but, well, I'm done with it. I broke up with it, no more for me. Food snob that I am.

The Aussies 'go for a wee'-translation, to pee. Candy is lollies. And their marriages break down, not up. Also, they 'bonk', not the other word. I will tell you how I know all this later.

I was told not to eat fresh vegetables but I did. And I survived. I couldn't stand it anymore. I had to break up the samosa/while rice thing.

Oh, I am a total vegetarian now, even a vegan. Believe me, headless goats will put you right off the flesh option. I actually made a chutney/curry dinner last night and wondered what had happened to me. What was I doing anyway? But no animals were munched on, well, maybe a few microbes. *sigh*

I am so glad to be home. It's cold here. Just delicious.

PS. I am madly in love with J. Madly.