Sunday, November 30, 2014

Jim the contractor is in the basement with a shop vac vacuuming out a small ocean of water. A pipe burst {{{{sometime}}}} today and when I got home from lunch/dance/etc there was the distinct sound of water, lots of water coming from the remodel.

The partly dismantled back bathroom was spewing water all over the floors and flooding into the basement.


Now the water is off so I brought in all my water bottles so I can brush my teeth.

He just came in and told me he's coming back with tools to cap the broken pipes so I can have water back on tonight.

I asked him if he'd consider being my ongoing maintenance man once the job is done and he said he would.

This is certainly working out better than having a partner.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Today is the seventh anniversary of my youngest brother's suicide. Today the roofers are here with their compressor and hammering. The wind last night was so fierce, I thought the tarps I've been living under would shred and fly away. Two days ago the ruling came down from Ferguson and that night there was gunfire in my neighborhood all night. This morning I went to my community gym where a cross section of ethnicities come together to exercise. This morning the seniors were doing their calisthenics while four of us grunted and sweated through our workouts.

My neighborhood is primarily Asian. My block is white and black and Filipino and Chinese. Just down the hill from my house the grocery store suffered a few broken windows. Frustration. Fear. Anger. The justice system doesn't treat us equally, does it? Of course we know this.

What to do?

Am I part of the problem or part of the solution? I sold my house last summer and moved here because my old neighborhood had become too monochromatic. Too wealthy. Too smug. I feel more comfortable in this little house among cultures and colors than I did there. And I know more of my neighbors than I did after thirteen years in my old neighborhood.

I know the man two doors down is living with AIDS. I know that Cliff is a retired vet and he DJs on the weekends. And he has a collection of beautiful vintage cars. I know the Filipino man who I bought this house from has a wife and twin daughters and his father lives in the house next to mine. I've met the retired nurse who planted an English garden that she could tend in her retirement but her back is too bad to work outside at all. I've met the man who loves his pit bull. The elderly Muslim family has welcomed me to the neighborhood. I attended the wedding of the couple on the other side of my house. She sold me a gas stove she had in her basement. I gave her the water fountain from my back yard. All in four months.

The Sun this month is focussing on caring. What it means to care.

"The friend who cares makes it clear that whatever happens in the external world, being present to each other is what really matters. In fact, it matters more than pain, illness, or even death."

                  -Henri J.M. Nouwen, Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life

What I've noticed is the courage it takes to be awake to 'the cries of the world'. I think of Rebecca offering coats and food to the hookers near her home.  Or Mary's tender care of her Florida patch and the family and friends she cherishes. My sister midwives who go the extra mile for a woman or her family in need. There is no price tag for that kind of compassion. Indeed, it is priceless.

To care for this broken world takes great courage. And the willingness to be heart broken daily. And to stay with it instead of withdrawing.

As for my brother. Geoffrey, my darling. Please forgive me for being flawed. Forgive me for my anger and judgement. Your wicked ways came from your own unendurable pain. Forgive me, dear baby brother.

Thinking of you, Dirk and Annie, on this bad ole day.

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy just as you are. May you be well. May you be free. May you be free.

May we all be free.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I am making coconut maple syrup cinnamon granola and my house smells DIVINE. This is what heaven smells like and I don't even believe in heaven.

 A former client died last weekend. We delivered her two girls in 2007 and 2009. She was beautiful and sweet and kick-ass. She got sick, went into a coma and never woke up.

The memorial is the 29th and I'm going with a few folks from the clinic who knew her.

Ms Moon is rescuing kittens under her porch. Whatever we can do, we must do.


                   "We'll learn that much of what goes on in our minds is not our fault and certainly not our
                                                                 Paul Gilbert, Ph.D The Compassionate Mind

you can learn to be compassionate
just not all at once
you may want to be compassionate
but what you really want is a small cabin by a river

there are books to read about compassion
I'm reading one now
the dog is eating pieces of onion
stupid dog!

the brain has many departments
the department of eating
the department of fucking
the department of slaughtering your neighbors

you can study this in compassion school
people sit quietly in rows
they sniffle and fidget
they ponder their synapses

you feel your brain heat up
cells jumping with ecstasy
around you people topple over with a bang
stupid people!

science has won again
you're better than the animals
it's obvious
you can bring home the bacon!

Friday, November 21, 2014

I'm listening to Dave Egger's book, "What is the What?" on tape. Engrossing and horrifying tale of the war in the Sudan told from the perspective of a 'lost  boy'. Sometimes I sit in the car outside my house so I can finish a chapter. Sometimes I sit in the car in silence. Human cruelty, greed, brutality on one side. Kindness, generosity and compassion on the other.

We're made of all of it.

The anniversary of my brother's death approaches.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My dears-at a birth now on Milo's birthday! The young man is 12 today. This baby coming is a girl and her momma is outside walking and making a great racket for the neighbors to hear. With her mom and an doula in attendance.

Milo and his momma a few years ago on the beach.

Our mom is yelling. Better bring her back inside.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Today I remember Thich Nhat Hanh. beautiful teacher. He is recovering from a stroke. May he be well. May he be at peace. May he be free.

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything - anger, anxiety, or possessions - we cannot be free.” 
― Thích Nhất HạnhThe Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation

Friday, November 14, 2014

BTW, the photo is a swimming pool in some swanky mansion. I'd swim there. I would. Watch me. Especially if they have a hot tub and you KNOW they do. I praise all the god and goddess forms for my local swimming pool RIGHT DOWN THE HILLL I CAN WALK THERE for their heated building, heated pool and hot tub and sauna. Oh yes I do.  Enough of capitol letters.

Last night the compressor kept going on. I finally called Jim and he told me to go unplug it in the basement. Ah-ha! I could have figured that out if it hadn't been 10 at night. I thought perhaps someone was trying to steal it. Why I thought that I have no idea. It would be too hard to steal anything around here.

Now the men are out there completing the roofline. They'll be putting up plywood and then the roofer people will come over and give me a new roof. This is very exciting. No more tarps to flap in the wind. No more crashing rain sounds. I don't think the warmth factor will be improved, however.  I've had the furnace on ever since the blanket wall went up so I'm warm-ish. Polar fleece and giant slippers were designed for this weather.

I've looked at my money situation (hahahahahahahahaha) for signs that I will have enough cash for the completion of this project. I never feel safe. And there are good reasons for that. Being homeless for a while is one reason. Being alone is another. Then there is cosmic insecurity which I suffer from. Global anxiety. Meditation helps some.

The guy selling the Real Change outside the co-op chatted with me a while. I asked if he had a warm place to sleep and he said he did. And he has katz. Mine make pockets of warmth around my knees. Lola likes to swat me in the face in the morning. Just for fun.

The sky today is the clearest blue.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cold out. Time for hot chocolate with a slug of whiskey. Jim the contractor nailed up some heavy blankets in the kitchen so the draft isn't quite so, um, drafty.

Sitting by the fire, surrounded by stacks of wood bits left over from the building people. I love me a good fire.

And chocolate.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

I will not speak of the hike Holly and I attempted yesterday. Suffice it to say that when others post that the road leading to the trailhead is dreadful, believe them. It was dangerous with rocks and gullies and only fit for 4 wheel drives with high axels. My wee Fit was no match. And it was 6 miles straight up. Holly said her palms were sweating.  I turned around.

The day was gorgeous so we sort-of salvaged ourselves with a pretty hike near a roaring creek while the dog tore around chasing imaginary squirrels.  We were way out near Rainier Mt and there was no traffic and no other hikers.

Today all this happened:

I am the master of all I survey. And there is the beginning of a roof!!! This is truly exciting. I brought the men cookies. I might be using the loft for sleeping eventually. As long as I can get up there...

I looked at plane fares for the UK, about $4500. Whew. I have been saving. We'll just have to sleep along the road. In sleeping bags.

Tonight my neighbor came over to ask if I liked cinnamon rolls. Who doesn't like cinnamon rolls? Even though I've been exercising like a fiend and actually counting my calories. The roll even had icing on it. It was delicious. The thing about dieting-you can always start again tomorrow.

And getting up in the early morning to go swimming is heavenly; quiet and peaceful.

Fall is well and truly here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The whole truth

I'm going to reveal the whole truth of my current life. I figure it's time. Don't know why. Perhaps it's the dark and the rain. BTW, I just heard the term 'dark money'. Might be a poem.

1. I live in squalor. I used to  pride myself on a clean house with order and minimal fur. No longer. If I sweep once a week, it's only because there is too much shite on the floor and it's starting to look like mushrooms could grow in the living room. The dust in my house is admirable.

2. I washed the kitchen floor last week. It was FILTHY.

3. I wash clothes only because I have limited underwear and I refuse to wear the flowered ones from the cheapy store.

4. My 73 pairs of shoes (don't ask) are scattered here and there and I fall into despair if I can't find the right ones on any given day.

5. I no longer cook, an activity I used to enjoy. Refer to #1. Besides there is no counter space in my kitchen. I am eating yogurt and making green smoothies because no cooking is involved.

6. I don't bathe regularly. If you can smell a rather unwashed person, it's probably me. The partial bathroom is gross and black debris is falling into the tub all the time.

7. I don't get under the covers on my bed. I sleep on top and cover myself with my comforter. And I wear the same shirt for three days, including to sleep in. I just take off my bra. If the shirt looks ok the next day, ta-da, I wear it again.

8. I wear my hair in a ponytail because it's easy. I know I'm beginning to look like 'that sort of older person' but I don't even care.

9. I sleep on the couch until I'm too uncomfortable and go get under the comforter on the bed. I just brush all the cat detritus off the bedspread and lie down.

10. I voted in this election but I don't really care about the electoral process right now. Democracy is a figment of our collective imagination. It's all about the money. Lots and lots of money. We're living in an oligarchy. And that's a big problem I can't fix.

11. My house is perpetually cold so coming home is rather grim. The fireplace throws out enough heat to warm my socks.

12. I'm becoming feral.

13. Pretty soon, I'll be barking at the mailman and hoarding random trinkets and bits of junk. Then the hoarder program on cable will be coming for ME.

The End

PS. My contractor brought me a hatchet today to make kindling. My neighbors better not get on my bad side. I mean it.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

One of my clients gave me some solar powered thingys to stick in the front yard. One of them makes a beeping noise every 3 minutes.

Why, you ask, am I doing this?


I have gophers or shrews or moles that make those piles of dirt here and there and make the ground wobbly with their tunneling. The noise is supposed to drive them crazy so they go live next door. As my house is now effing freezing and I'm refusing to turn on the heat as it will just pour out the back where all the gaps in the kitchen wall are, (breathe) I've decided to concentrate on rodent activity as a distraction.

I am burning leftover bits of wood from the construction in my fireplace and if I sit right next to it, there is a bit of warmth. And if I'm wearing all my clothes and a blanket.

I have no idea that a stake in the ground emitting a beeping noise will actually work but perhaps the neighbors will think I have some sort of elaborate monitoring system and they won't break in. My friend Holly wondered about the security of the back area that's held together with a few screws.

What would they take? The katz? If I have anything valuable, it's buried under boxes or in the basement under a serious layer of concrete dust. Besides, if Felix is here, he'd bark his big dog bark and jump on the intruder until the person gave him a bone. Very intimidating, I can tell you.

We fed kids last night. It was a cold night and our hot cider was a hit. There was a baby with her parents there. She kept smiling at us from her car seat. I wondered if she lives in her car seat. Homeless young parents with a baby. Wrong. So wrong.

It might actually be warmer outside than it is in here.