Monday, July 29, 2019

I don't know why I'm going to Burning Man. It's been the most stressful experience ever. I now have a ticket but no ticket to park my car....I think I registered for the sale for parking tickets but I'm not sure and my computer is no help. Anyway, my last experience with purchasing a ticket was entirely awful after sitting there for 2 hours watching the little wheel go round and round and then the site crashed.

Sheesh. And now I've spent real money on a ticket and a bike to ride around on. I won't believe I'm actually attending until I'm actually there. And my car needs struts, whatever that is, and I should probably get them fixed before I go.

Whine, whine, whine.

However, I made granola today and I'm waiting for bread to come out of the oven. I'm having bread and fake butter for dinner. I promised Felix we would go swim/walk and it might be dark before we get there but, lordy, I need to go de-stress.

There are two rough looking guys down the street who are cleaning out a house so the owner can sell it. They are missing teeth and they have ropey arms, the kind of guys who have worked hard, been homeless a bit, spent a lot of time outside using their bodies. I've hired them to mow down the effing blackberries, nettles, horse tail, etc behind my house. It's a massive steep hill but they're willing to give it a go. They're even willing to cut down the laurel which will spring up in no time. They're very sweet. They witnessed the pit bull attack yesterday and one of them even hugged me.

I could be where they are, except for some luck.

Bless them.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Felix and I narrowly missed a pit bull attack this morning. He ran out at Felix with fierce barking and many teeth. I screamed and the neighbors came running. The guy who was the owner showed up with a big stick, yelling at the dog and got him away from Felix. Felix was completely unperturbed and uninjured. Sheesh. My heart was pounding.

Recently bought a book by Edward Espe Brown called 'Most Important Point'. He's the Tassahara Bread Book guy. I've used that book since the 70's and I still do.

Here's one of my 'babies' Hazel making her first loaf of bread. XXXX She asked if I'd show her and so I did.

Anyway, the book is beautiful and I've downloaded a few of his dharma talks. He laughs all through them because he finds himself so funny and human and humble and full of faults and mistakes. He's not the slightest bit spiritual or 'Buddhist' or anything. Even if he is a Zen priest. He's just a real person.

Well, time to sit with my friends.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Some of my favorite people about to engage in a snowball fight at Mt Lassen in California. The teenage boys did a lot of shrieking and belching. Because they are kinda gross. Ah, hormones.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Off to Manton, California tomorrow. Unaccountably nervous. Me and Felix. He needs heartworm medicine which the vet today didn't have... there's a Costco on the way to the lodge so we'll be stopping there to fill the prescription. This trip has been very costly, between the car shite and the dog so I better enjoy myself!

AND I got a ticket to Burning Man which is a scant month away, another road trip and I have to get it together with clothes and food and a crappy bike to ride around on the playa. As soon as I return from Manton, I'll start planning that trip. Sheesh.

O the trials of this first world person!!

The day I return from Manton, I'm teaching the Dharma for a friend in the evening. The topic is translated as suffering or dissatisfaction. And tanha which means 'thirst'. Thirst for things to be different or things to stay the same. Meanwhile the neighbors are making a terrific racket with a power washer and a hummingbird is at the feeder.

I've lost 7 pounds without trying. Or rather without weighing myself at all for a while. I'm eating so much less. The last retreat reset some kind of inner clock.

So I'll take some Dharma books with me and my computer and write something about dukkha (suffering), rehearse it and then speak without notes. That's how I roll.

Friday, July 12, 2019


a loop of cold lightening
hangs from the lowest branch
as she looks up into the dark
coiling and uncoiling
she lifts her airless body skyward

at the top
a mother bird scatters
chirps anxiously from a nearby tree
chirps chirps chirps
into the silence

at first I thought to stop this story
from going forward
snake unhinging her jaws
to consume an egg
or a chick

I would get a stick
lift the snake away from the nest
restore my version of order

what of the snake and her children
she is doing what she does
to survive
find the pulsing life

baby birds

who decides who lives
who dies
what is the right answer
is there a right answer

do you love the snake too?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Well, I did it. I borrowed money from a credit union who underwrites loans for solar panels and installation and they're gonna be here in September to install. My neighbor gave me permission to top his (ug) arbor vitae 5 feet. I mean, really, they are so tall they are growing higher than the roof line.

Then I'll have a low-interest loan payment for the next ten years, if I live that long.

And I've done my bit for global warming.


My car is getting fixed all up and shite, I'm spending money like I have some. New tires, air filter, new battery, oil change etc. And I need new struts soon (whaaaaa) but I'm saving $ (?) by not flying to California. Maybe. It's the annual Mount Lassen/Manton trip and I'm bringing Felix this time. Me and the dog in my wee car. We're camping a few nights. I hope his nerves don't keep him up and woofing all night. We remember the CBD fiasco so I won't be trying that again. He'll have a blast once we get there, kids to play with and the pond to swim in.

But. I went to a new shop (to me) called Revolution Repair owned and operated by gender fluid folks. Trans men and women, old fashioned lesbians and the like. It was glorious after my time with the dealership shop. They took all day but they were so nice and thorough and did extra stuff like sprayed peppermint oil on my engine to deter rodents. I'm going back there, for sure.

Speaking of rodents, my tenant and I have seen GIANT rats in the garden and they are digging giant holes. Sigh. So Joey, the fabulous girlfriend of my tenant, is buying traps that electrocute them, not so Buddhist, I know. But ew.

Ok, I just saw a tiny bug crawling around INSIDE my computer screen. I think it might be the beginning of the end when the bugs and rats and blackberries take over and humankind becomes piles of bleached bones.

My 'roommate' returns from a conference today. She has three more weeks here and then she returns to New Orleans. And my house will be all mine again.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Today was busy with meetings and meetings and a gathering at my house to discuss (what else?) the dharma which means the way things are, the law of the universe, the teachings of the Buddha. I actually had a realization this week with a definition of dependent co-arising. I won't try to describe here but it helped to understand a bit more the relationship between our actions and their long range ramifications.

In simple terms, we effect our world by how we move through our world. Anger begets anger. Kindness begets kindness. We may not see the immediate results but it is there.

I recently saw a documentary called 'The Biggest Little Farm' which was filmed over 7-8 years on a 200 acre piece of property outside LA, in the midst of their terrible drought. The young people involved brought the land back from the desert by learning (sometimes) hard lessons about the nature of life. Pests, predators, ill animals, all came into play as they learned the balance of nature; brutal, exacting and persistent. They fed the soil and in return, the soil fed them, literally. Without pesticides, without shooting the coyotes (!), holding their anger, frustration and sorrow for the way things are.

We humans are too made of the elements and as we forget that, we perish. As I sit here in my little house, I look out at the trees and the bird feeders and the holes in the lettuce leaves and I think about the way I want everything to look, to be and I'll never be rid of the bamboo in my side yard or the blackberries that threaten to climb into my garden from the greenbelt. That plant is hardy! I do appreciate the berries for making jam but they prick and bite so care is always important.

In a few weeks, I'll be driving through the drought affected California scrub. It is a wonder to see what does live in a dried out area. One of the things the movie makers did was install an infrared camera on the perimeter of their property to try to figure out what was out there beyond their fences. Coyotes, raccoons, cougars, a badger, a weasel, owls, all sorts of nocturnal critters invisible in the daytime. So much to wonder at, what we don't see. The wide world is still full of magic.