Archive for April, 2010

beautiful spring days

Thank god for beautiful spring days. sarah came over for coffee before we went to the market with harry. there was more of a crowd even early and everyone was loving the beautiful days. got eggs of course, the big bag of spinach, brats, goat cheese, everything else i still had from last week. sarah got flowers for amy’s bridal shower and i donated a tulip and a prettier than theirs daffodil. Sarah was impressed with how much stuff i had going when we did the grand tour.

I couldn’t turn up my proof of personal property tax so i went down town to see if i could get a copy and couldn’t. While i was downtown i grabbed some Kaldi’s beans. Got a relationship Brazilian light roast (excellent} and a sumatran. I tried the relationship Montserrat and it was good. Kaldis really knows how to roast a bean.

I also had gotten bacon at the market but it was frozen so i offered to get everyone breakfast at Midway Truckstop. Had the french toast, fair. Dad had the hamburger steak and eggs that i usually get  but wasn’t hungry enough.

After breakfast we went out to the Overton Bottoms and checked on the trees we had planted (oaks, pecans, and other hard nut trees, with the idea over the next 3 or 4oo years the trees would mature and the nuts would wash downstream to propagate along the river banks. The Bottoms are a cool area that got protected after the big flood of ’93, thank you slick willy, and are going from pasture/farm land to wooded wetland. We checked on our trees, the switch grass wasn’t out yet so we couldn’t check in on that and then looked fruitlessly for morels. the dogs enjoyed meandering around the forest. Myrtle soaked in the Big Muddy but Oni wasn’t having any of that.

Since we were shroomless we filled our bags with garlic mustard. Its a pernicious problem there and I had volunteered on a pull last year. There was less of it but the seeds take two years so it was to be expected to be back in force, and it was.

Came home and dad watched the tigers beat the indians, harry finished digging up the spring bed and planted lettuces, mesculin mix, and arugula. I mowed the front yard. Yea. The push reel works with my impaired arm. i felt like i could have mowed the back but decided to be cautious and wait until tomorrow.

Instead i painted the black stripes on the rain barrels. They are closer to being done, on two of them we are going to run the pipe straight into them. One bush will have to be trimmed. On the southwest corner we need to do a flex pipe so we don’t have to move the garden gate. Dad thinks its going to be frost free. He started cutting on the red bud stump but it was thicker than the saw and it still stands. He wants to pull it over with a chain and his truck. We swung the axe at it some. Its fun i couldn’t cut my french toast with a fork but i can swing an axe. weird.

In between those last things i cooked some supper. I cooked up a good size batch of the mustard greens with some local bacon. I fried the bacon in small pieces, threw in red onion, and then the garlic mustard in the water that clung to it when i washed it. I added malt vinegar. When i tried it it was pretty bitter so i squeezed in the juice of a key lime and added some braggs, it turned out good but i wouldn’t want a steady diet of it. Harry is going to try some with ham bone and great northern beans. I also made a pack of the brats pulled in a third of a Mickeys with the rest of the red onion and some amy’s mac & cheese with garlic powder and basil.

We’re finishing up the evening with a little 2o12. Neutrinos shaking up the earths quest. doesn’t bold well with my perennials. I do like me some apocalyptic fiction though.

“Anna’s Song”

While camping in Anza Borego after my separation I did a lot of wildlife viewing. Desert Big Horn Sheep were pretty cool, I never saw a mountain lion in spite of dawn and dusk hikes almost every day. I did see hummingbirds which i have always found pretty magical. The hum of their wings and sheer improbability make them amazing. I am also impressed with how they migrate, flying all the way up until they catch the jet stream. Very cool. In Anza Borego there are rufus and anna’s hummingbirds. The anna’s is a little smaller and a lot more colorful and inspired this little piece:

Flash of Green, pretty Metallic Green

A color I thought was invented by Chevrolet

Flash of Green, shiny Metallic Green

Aquamarine, rose and magenta

But the words that they use to sell automobiles

Won’t take you to the heart of the hummingbird.

Splash of Green, shiny Metallic Green

In the inner ring of her hazel eyes

Flash of Green, Pretty Metallic Green

I swear I see reflections of heaven’s light

But the words that they use to sell salvation

Won’t take you to the heart of another’s soul.

Categories: nature, poetry

holy shit i can shovel

What a beautiful spring day to spend in the garden. I haven’t been doing much out there with the pinched nerve in my c-6 vertebra and all the rain there just hasn’t been much i could do if i had the time and energy. It has rained so much the ground is still saturated almost everywhere and some places water will still swell out of the ground if you walk across it. The grass is getting high and needs to be cut if I am going to stay on top of it with a push reel mower as I have been. Just having to consider buying a noisy 2 stroke earth killer has bummed me out. But besides the pain i can’t lift my arm and my bicep isn’t working in my right arm and I haven’t been optimistic i could manage the push reel when it gets dry enough.

Today though it was just to gorgeous. I walked around and looked at all the spring bulbs. The daffodils are pretty much done but the early tulips are holding up and getting joined by more and more each day. I wish i would have kept better track of what i planted in the fall but lots of bulbs are blooming. I do have one completely bare spot where the squirrels, tree rats as my brother calls them, ate them all. bastards. Stubby, this mostly tailless fat fucker who mostly lives in the front yard has a particular taste for bulbs, especially tulips.

The wildflowers have come back nice but none are blooming yet and the herb garden looks great, as do the strawberries. Thank God for perennials. But i don’t have to totally rely on them because when i tried shovel up the southern most garden bed i found i could do it pretty normally. It was also dry enough so all the organic material and sand i’ve been adding is paying off. I double dug it and put in about an inch of cotton waste compost. I plan on turning in another inch in the top layer tomorrow and planting lettuce, mescalin mix, and perhaps some spinach.

Dad just asked me to make a salad so i’m gonna wrap this up. I might take some time and get some dandelion greens in it. Or perhaps not as i dawdled enough bringing this to close that he asked harry to do it. In that case i will also mention i added the second coat of brown spray paint to the rain barrels. Next step is to paint the ribs black and i hope to have them up and ready this weekend. I’ll keep you posted.

Categories: gardening, health

“Gordon Goes To Heaven”

I wrote this poem on the request of my niece after the death of one of her associate’s with severe developmental disabilities. She was struck by his Cookie Monster doll sitting by his plastic palm tree which she had always meant to decorate with christmas lights but never got around to it. Got me thinking about big questions and i wrote this surrealist thing:

The Cookie Monster sat

Under the seven foot cactus

That though never wore Christmas Lights

In this life for sure

Will shine in remembrance

Where we’ll all live the longest

If we get to live at all

The memory mansions of a communal Heaven

A place across the abyss

That is not alone

Many Many Memory Mansions

Are prepared for us for sure

Life without interaction is impossible

And Jesus said he could do it

And Jesus said he would do it

He might have said we should do it

And far greater things

Less we be swallowed up in the unimaginable

Not remembered Not remembering

Swallowed up in the divine for sure

Through the conservation of energy if nothing else

Can’t be all bad

Some noble folk seek it out

As their ultimate goal

But if its communion versus existance

Independent Existance

I stand to be here

To be Me if not I

Humility has its demands

And the Work has too few hands

And there’s shadows grow across the land

‘Midst the dappled sunlight of growth

And the warmth of gentle decomposition

The cycle turns and turns

But passions churn and burn

In their immediacy

The seeds of apocalypse

Are as easy to see as beauty

And which is more real

Only time will tell

That lying bitch

Mother of dogs

Man’s best friend

Do you remember the wolf

That you were

Or the angel you may be

May be becoming

Was a stop in the suburbs

Of arbitrary confinement

And casual nurturance

Worth a step toward the Celestial Hunt

Murderously vain about intelligence

We are

I have to say to not sound threatening

Though there’s no violence on my mind

Except the violence I see

In the stories I hear

In the papers I read

In the people I meet

Arrogant to believe intelligence

Trumps connection

That God does not preserve man and beast

And yet the socially constructed eternal soul

Of personality in interaction

Shines brighter in imagination

A fuller conception of the divine

Aids resonance

Resonance to dance

Outside the hallowed walls

Of someone else’s memory

Skating across the abyss on a name

A hope, a prayer

To soar amidst the other luminescent beings

And share our light

And shine brighter

We are all stars in time

and I swear I will try to remember

You all

In time.

Categories: dogs, philosophy, poetry, religeon

A Happy Easter

Its rainy, here on an easter evening. My belly is full and the day was spent with family and friends in celebration of the renewal of spring as a herald of resurrection. I slept good, hard at times. Woke up sore, took 2 tramadol and went back to sleep until 10. Finally finished my coffee, the paper and a second cup and i was starting to feel restless. I’ve been lazing around too much and not feeling like doing my most needed chores, organizing my paperwork and cleaning my filthy floors so i decided to see how my impaired arm could do picking up brush. I loaded it all up except the parts that needed the chainsaw doing most of the heavy lifting with my left arm.  Even with half the muscles not working on my right arm its still mostly more useful than my left. I then raked up the twigs so i could be ready to mow if it was dry enough, and if my arm worked good enough. On the flower front the daffodils are still booming, some tulips are up and another bulb that is small and has flowers like little clusters of grapes. I fertilized all the bulbs in the front. I normally go organic but a client gave me a box of chemical fertilizer so its use it or landfill it. When Harry and I took the brush we went for a hike at Capen Park along the creek there. It was pretty in the woods and we got away from everyone and the bluffs were pretty. It felt very spiritual being in the woods. I have been very tuned into being grateful for all the gifts i’ve been given and my pinched nerve has really brought that home. You could look through the trees because they haven’t leafed up yet but it was a vibrant green because of all the buds on the trees. There were a lot of wildflowers, common violets, and several different little white ones. When we got home I put the ham in. I got the butt end of a local ham 4-5 lbs. I rubbed it with mustard, peach preserves, and stuck on cloves and whole pepper corns. I added some vernors ginger ale and popped it in at 350 for a couple of hours. While it was baking I dug out the little white sages out of the time. I put 12 of them up in containers in cotton waste compost. and will give them as gifts if they root up nice. After cleaning up a bit it was back to cooking and i made my second risotto pretty much improvising. I cooked up olive oil, local spinach and some white mushrooms for a minute or two. setting that aside i set some beef broth to warm on low and fried up a mess of green onions in more olive oil. I added 1 1/2 cups risotto rice and fried that 2 minutes and added maybe a cup of mickeys malt liquor and cooked that down and started spooning in the broth 1/2 cup until it was done. At the end mixed in a mess of fresh chives and crumbled in some local feta goat cheese. I controlled the fire so the rice was soft when the broth was gone, dad carved the ham, Harry made a nice salad with some local arugula (very mild) and Grams biscuits, and I thickened the drippings into a glaze. Very yummy meal. Eric joined us and he brought a Pear Tart Suzie made. After the meal we had a rousing game of Settlers of Kataan and Eric sneaked out a victory. It was fun.

Categories: cooking, nature

“Jesus poem”

April 4, 2010 1 comment

Here is my poetic take on the life of Jesus. Some folks have been offended by my take on things so i lead with that disclaimer. I mean no disrespect and am just trying to paint a realistic picture of what he may have actually been feeling on a personal level. Savior of the world is one thing, being a man and struggling with man things is more interesting to me as a writer. Jesus gave up a lot to do his Jesus thing and I like to honor all of that sacrifice. Happy resurrection day my friend.

Jesus had a hard life

When he walked out onto the stage

With his healings and his feedings

And his tempered sense of rage

At injustice and exploitation

At the priest’s hypocricies

And when he gave his life to the masses

You know that he wanted to flee

Into the arms of a lover

A faithful and caring friend

And was it the Magdalene or the Apostle John

That his thoughts turned to in the end?

The Magdalene had been around

She rubbed scented oil on his feet

And it was better than food for the poor

Even Jesus needed something sweet

But the Magdalene had sold herself

Before Jesus gave her a new life

And if Jesus wanted to sample Mary’s wares

You know he would have made her his wife.

And John was the disciple that Jesus loved

It even made it into the Book

And John rest his head on Jesus’s breast

In spite of how it must look

To the fishermen, turned fisher of men

Come to bid their teacher goodbye

But John needed to make one last act of love

Before he watched his Jesus die.

And the other Apostles followed the martyr’s path

Only John lived to an old age

For he was the disciple that Jesus loved

And Jesus wouldn’t give John to the stage.

Categories: feelings, poetry, religeon

“Point Reyes”

This poem was shouted down as hippy drivel by Mike Leonardi the first time i tried to recite it at a party in the Old West End in Toledo. So take it for what its worth, full on exuberance about a really special place. All bad poetry is sincere.

I wrote this at Point Reyes when i was visiting John in the late 90s. He didn’t have a vehicle but we rode out with a mutual friend from CAN, John Davies and the three of us did a five mile hike to a pretty isolated and amazingly beautiful beach/cliff side. John and I camped a few days and then hitchhiked back to Oakland. In addition to what i remember in the poem the other thing i remember is how much sulfur was in the water. We had packed in some, drank sparingly and mixed in the well water when we had too. Harsh. Great trip, the skies in the west are so vast especially with the clean air coming from the vast Pacific. The venerable oak there is still one of my favorite trees, and I wrote this in my head on the walk to and from the tree:

I walked five miles across the ridge top

To get to the beach at Point Reyes

The sun shining over the ocean

Is more beautiful than i can say.

The pelicans fly over the crashing waves

While at camp the kit foxes play

Hide and seek with our apples and t-shirts

While the sun sinks into the Bay.

The constellations shine as we lay on the ground

There’s shooting stars across the Milky Way

The vastness of space surrounds me

Its the perfect end to the day.

We’re out on the trail at the break of dawn

To hike to the ancient oak tree

We sit in the shade of its massive limbs

There is no place that I’d rather be.

I walked five miles across the ridge top

To get to the beach at Point Reyes….

Categories: poetry, travel

“fear is the mind killer”

April 2, 2010 2 comments

Tuesday of last week I awoke on one of the crappiest mattresses i’ve had the displeasure of resting my weary head upon with a bit of a crick in my neck. It was a little sore and I rubbed on it some. The next day more of the same and the next as well, perhaps a touch worse so I really made sure to stretch it good. After my road trip I expected it to pass but it got sorer and sorer and not so easy to stretch all the way. Then it was just hurting all the time and got to where i couldn’t sleep good. I made an appointment with Cori Flaker, masseuse of renown and native plant buddy. After 2 sleepless nights it was really starting to get to me. It was hard to work being sore all the time. The massage helped a bit but it also showed i couldn’t lay flat on my back without a lot of pain so i decided to make a doctors appointment. I couldn’t remember how to spell my doctors name because i haven’t been seen in a year and a half or remember the name of the clinic. I drove there on my lunch hour and it looked closed down. I got on my good old insurance company web site (i have a POS plan, doesn’t give me a lot of faith in their marketing, pos?) and found a provider and got in with the first available. I saw her this morning and what a great doc. Young, earnest, and thorough. So my symptoms today was some pain, but a lot of weakness and couldn’t lift my right arm above my shoulder. Tingling down to the top joint of my right hand. So it looks like its a pinched nerve in the C-6 vertebrae. Its got a spur or its degenerated and its squeezing the nerve. It could also be a torn rotator cup but the tingling belies this. The insurance company mandated approach is x-ray, pain pills (tramadol which is working nicely thank you), physical therapy (3X per week for 8 weeks if i want it and the insurance company will pay[usually the companies will pay for 2], see ya in 4 weeks. I hadn’t expected much better. My talking point has been that i have been trying to be grateful. It has taught me a bit of what people with chronic pain go through, as so many of my clients and friends have to deal with. I have been grateful for my long string of good health and all of the other blessings i have in my life. Its helped me not be mad or sad. Tonight I had my batterer’s group though and i had to hold my arm up to write on the white board. It has made me very sad and a little afraid about the future. It could clear up in a little time and be like it never happened. It could be a new reality in which there is nothing that can be done that will assuredly make it better. I suspect the former but feel i should steel myself for either. Its also dawned on me that its been getting worse every day. Its worse now than it was this morning. I have a new respect for my peeps who struggle with these things. I found sleeping on the futon was more comfortable, i might try laying down and seeing how things look in the morning. I hope i am making a big deal out of nothing and life will go on as it has. I strive to hope that the world will be as it is and not how i wish it to be but i am not there yet.

“Fear is the mind killer, the little death that brings total oblivion. I will face my fear. I will allow it to pass over me and through me. And where it has passed I will turn my mind’s eye, and there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” Frank Herbert

Categories: feelings, health