Archive for July, 2010

old dog, new dog, feel alright

Its been a strange time, very busy lots of changes, lots of talking to very bright people whose first language is not english. it stretches your mind, as does the new job at work, as do the canine changes at home. Wednesday I met Belen downtown and we went for icecream at sparkies. it was good i had a wafflecone. we stayed for 4 hours talking about psychology and metaphysics. its been ages since i’ve had such an intense talk about stuff. i didn’t get home til after ’10 and if you know me lately that’s my bed time. going to bed at the same time is one of the things that keeps me sane, but sometimes there are higher purposes than mere sanity and i headed for bed at 11. i was devastated to see oni had pissed in it. thursdays my long day, jamming from 7:30 to 8:30 and i don’t mean an hour.

i stripped the wet stuff off, the good news badnews was she had hit the comforter, and tossed it in the hall, grabbed a flanel sheet and closed the blinds in the living room and laid down on the couch. sometimes when i can’t sleep rather than do progressive relaxation i take the easier route of zoning in front of the tv to manage rushing thoughts. but after asking dad to turn down the tv and turn off his lamp i explained his dog had pissed my bed. he seemed mad at me about it and turned off his movie right before the end and went to bed.

said he was taking oni to the humane society and i didn’t tell him not to. just tired of it. lowering the quality of my life. it had come that close so many times before i couldn’t get up the motivation to give her a final farewell goodbye but knew it was happening so i said something. “take care now” or something.

they were both gone at lunch. didn’t mean anything. enjoyed the quiet.

after the day job dad was subdued. dog was nonexistent. i was apologetic and sad. for 10 minutes and then i had to go. i was already 10 minutes late. my life is too hard.

group was alright but last week had been super great. therapeutic and meaningful, cool because we had an intelligent observer who gave good feedback, a therapist from Taiwan in a PHD program in an exchange program. this group was not quite perfunctory but more educational and less deep. but had made it through a long day.

friday, work was work. its new reality is do one thing after another from the time until you leave and leave some things undone. jamming all day. home, change clothes, weed the garden for 10 minutes and go downtown for the 100th anniversary of the wabash station. toured the artrageous gallery 1st floor which had been a storage building for supplies. its a cool old building with a neat rehab into studios. train art and toy trains. no tour of old underground train repair space in the catacombs as promised. there was a ’26 model t, they had three petals i learned from dad and an old dude who’d wandered up. brake, clutch and shift. never noticed the windshield was two small windshields on pivots. i added the fact they got better gas mileage than the ford explorer.

we met amy and some friends of hers at sycamores, we sat at the bar. christina was one of them and we talked about her friend the harvard professor whose study that showed happiness and sadness followed disease models of contagion (you’re 11% more likely to be happy if you have a happy friend, twice that for a sad friend). more people showed up and there was a shortage of bar stools and a surplus of weirdness so we split. probably should have just got a table.

dad and i were going to go to the casino but we had words and i said i didn’t want to go and didn’t. mowed the lawn and ordered pizza and felt a little bad. i was deadheading the roses when he arrived and pointed out the beautiful sunset i was oblivious too and what it was doing to the tiger lillies til he mentioned it and asked to take a picture. i said “sure, in the sweet light”. and we talked about that, the hour before sunset and the hour after sunrise when light comes in obliquely and makes for better photos. softer, less glare. he hadn’t heard of it but had sorta discovered it. sweet.

today was up and do dishes. drink coffee with sarah and talk about sociopaths. i think its a curable condition if they’re motivated. we went to the market. they’re awesome this time of year. melons are out and got a nice little watermelon, plus peaches, concord grapes, this and that.

home to meet the new dog. dad had found one in the free classifieds. a cockapoo four months old. named him fido. he’s barking at the cat right now, first peep i’ve heard out of him. he’s a little black and white fuzzy guy with big paws and goofy eyes. shy and charming. i put away my stuff and left (after having swapped vehicles with sarah) to pick up the girls from taiwan.

we went out to devil’s ice box trail at rockbridge state park. more of its open and everyone enjoyed climbing down to anderson cave where it was cool and very cool. watching the little ones play, the real little ones sitting down on rocks because they didn’t want to cross the underground stream.

after stopping by the Pierpont Store we went back and hung out while dad smoked a pork loin and grilled some chicken breast on the grill. we had the watermelon as well as red potatoes and corn on the cob. they took almost as many pictures of the meal as they did the cave.

needless to say i was bushed and coasted through the evening. through it all i’ve been re-reading neal stephenson’s anathem. brilliant book, i’ll post on it.

Categories: dogs, feelings, friends, nature, work

Taiwan wins the World Cup

Its been a pretty good day. I got up early and got a little house cleaning in and made a couple of dishes for my world cup brunch. I made a fruit salad with half a cantaloupe, 3 peaches, an apple, and some raspberries. What made it special was the Gorgonzola cheese and walnuts. I also made a cucumber salad with of course cucumbers, yellow bell pepper, sweet onion, with a dressing made of sour cream, balsamic and white vinegar and some light brown sugar. Its not the best cucumber salad but it was good. Apple cider vinegar works better but i am out. I also chopped up some purple tomatoes and shredded some cheese ahead of time.

I had invited some Taiwanese psychology grad students in town for a month in an exchange program. One of them was sitting in on my batterers intervention group and we had hit it off a bit. Once I got them in and settled I browned some tenderized round steak sliced them up and then made fajitas in honor of Spain.

Lunch was a big hit (it was even photo worthy) and the game was a good one, in spite of what the commentators had to say. There were tornadoes south of us and they interrupted the coverage a bit but we didn’t miss anything important. Eric came by as did Sarah who brought the pickles we had made. They all sealed nicely and are looking very pretty. We did close to 20 lbs. dill and bread and butter. I can’t wait until they’re ready for eating, perhaps a month or so.

After the game the exchange students and myself went out for coffee and talked a little shop. In Taiwan batterers frequently divorce the victim because of family pressure and the shame which they place on the victim. A lot of dudes in the rural South buy mail order brides and then they just buy a new one if things don’t work out. Mostly though we all had similar experiences. Patriarchy is patriarchy.

It was a lot of fun having them over and showing them around town. We made vague plans for a cook out. Dad enjoyed having them over and invited them back. We talked about hiking. My first thought was Pinnacles but we had a lack of appropriate foot wear so I think we will probably go out to Devil’s Icebox and the Pierpont Store.

Categories: cooking, friends

risotto & taco chicken

What a roller coaster day. All my clients came and a counselor was out sick so it made for a jamming day. My meeting canceled so i was able to go to dad’s doctor appointment and we were all pleased to see he gained 3 pounds. The gluten free thing seems to be working. In the waiting room we watched some kind of closed circuit cooking show on healthy eating and decided to make the chicken dish. Its bastardized enough for me to claim as my own so i’ll share the recipe when i get to dinner.

One thing about being busy it makes the day go fast. I worked late wrapping things up and plotting some strategy to help a few folks quit smoking. I am adjusting to my new role but its a bit grueling and i don’t think it will ever let up.

I did come home to a fresh pot of french press. Starshmucks house i would guess. And Harry had scored some half & half. delicious. He also got some spinach and some fancy brown mushrooms that needed to be eaten so i decided to make risotto.

All of the broth had poison wheat so i used an organic Better than Bullion (2 teaspoons)and I added a little fresh tomato and zucchini and set it to warming in a quart of water. I cooked an onion and a half in olive oil added 3 cloves of garlic and cooked the mushrooms. I added the cleaned and de-stemmed spinach put a lid on it and let it wilt. I pulled out the solids and set aside. I added 1 1/2 cups or so of white rice with just a bit of the fancy itallian stuff your supposed to use. When the liquid would cook off the rice i would add more warm broth and gradually added another quart of water to the broth although 1 1/2 quarts is enough liquid. When the rice was almost done I stirred back in the mushrooms and spinach and there it is.

For the chicken i cubed up 3 breasts with a poblamo and a red bell pepper. I added a teaspoon or so of ground cumin and a teaspoon of tumeric (it called for chile powder but was out). Cooked that til the chicken was done and added frozen corn, a cup of taco sauce, a cup of feta and half a cup of sharp cheddar and heated that til it was warm. topped it off with corn tortillas fried in a little olive oil in the cast iron skillet. Forgot to put out the sour cream.

After dinner I was pretty cashed but Dad and I got a game of horse shoes in before dark. Busy but nice. Looking forward to the weekend, making pickles for my first time. Of course you’ll hear all about it.

Categories: cooking, Uncategorized

Walking in the Rain

Last night I was restless and a little angry and took off on a walk. It was a good decision. It was raining and I can’t remember the last time I took a walk in the rain. It had been coming down hard and when I got to Bear Creek it was roaring like its namesake. I’ve never seen the tranquil little town stream so big and ferocious. The trail was flooded but I walked on (tivas have their uses). Dusk came early because of the heavy cloud cover and an owl flew across my path, his feathers were ruffled and he was of good size but i couldn’t see his head to know what kind. A good chunk of the trail was water covered and their were crawfish, frogs & toads enjoying the shallows. The water in the woods was flowing like a giant brown stream in some places. Of course I had the trail to myself, best thing about rain is it clears out the crowds.  Down by Garth the trail was flooded where I had to lift my shorts and their was a current. I could see getting swept away. I couldn’t find the path that led up to the road I was going to walk home on but just plunged up. There was a lot of pale cone flower still holding up their little heads in the now downpour.

Categories: feelings, nature


A friend requested I tackle the topic of power. In the absence of clarification I am going to assume she meant that sense of personal power that allows us to change the world. I am talking about more than confidence though that is a natural by product of personal power. A heightened sense of your own efficacy. An awareness that you can do things beyond the pale of ordinary reality. Most of us live lives of quiet desperation because we are chained by our own limited sense of reality. We may live in the universe but we exist in our conception of the universe.

Changing our conception of reality is the truest path to increasing our sense of personal power. Our changes in belief can translate into changes within ourselves and with changes in the world that increase our personal power.

Neitchze talked of a will to power. Our will, our motivating force is in some ways the part of us that is the most true. What we want and what we are willing to do to have it is who we most are. Mao Tse Tung for example had a conception of a China free from dominance of foreign powers or the traditional elites and he set out to make it so. His army was decimated, twice I believe to a handful of men but he persevered through his indomitable will and the world was changed.

Paolo Coehlo teaches that our world is as large as our vision. Most of look at our feet as we walk making for a very small world of possibility. He advises looking to the horizon, enlarging the world to the maximum of our vision. This is not just metaphor but a practical exercise anyone can do to enlarge their world.

Power in its most basic sense is the ability to make change in the world. Our biggest limitation in making change is our inability to believe that change is possible. Our basic decisions on what things mean, who we are, and what is the nature of reality will largely determine what change we can make and what is outside of our power.

Categories: philosophy, the mind

4th of July Memories

July 5, 2010 1 comment

I am a lover of Summer and have many fond memories of the fourth of July. My dad drove truck and I started going with him since as long as I could remember. A lot of Fourths we would be out in the country somewhere and we would climb up on top of the truck and watch fireworks out in the distance. Sometimes we would see them in several different towns. I remember the anticipation of waiting for true dark when they would begin. I can only think of one time when we just came up empty.

My most memorable Fourth we were in St Petersburg. I was maybe eight and John would have been eleven. I don’t remember what Dad was doing but we were out on our own playing. They shot the fireworks out over the water and we were swimming in the warm Gulf pretending we were storming the beaches of Normandy or whatever.

As an adult the Detroit fireworks would sometimes draw me out. Impressive display. I would also catch Toledo’s over the river or in a pinch Monroe’s could be seen from our house on Roeder Street. Mom always kept the dog in, concerned about malicious children and explosive devices.

In 1994 I was with Sarah and Christa at our abandoned house (headquarters for Ozark Summer) in Black Missouri. It was nice to be away from crowds of people and we spent a leisurely day hanging out in the hammock. We drove down to a small town and watched their display. We took our kitten we had found and later lost again. That was such a bustling time of frenetic high jinks it just stands out as peaceful.

On the Fourth of July 1996 I was living in Berkeley. Phil and I dropped some acid and walked down to the Marina to watch the show. We were seated near several different groups of folks and some were speaking Mandarin and some Spanish and other languages and it started to freak us out. We moved to a quieter place and enjoyed the display. Walking out someone began throwing fire crackers into the crowd. Out of nowhere a squad of storm troopers in full riot gear game trotting in and snatched up some brothers. Very freaky.

Seven years ago I was in Mesquite Nevada. Dad was in the hospital in St George Utah with a necrotic kidney. I didn’t even go outside to watch the fireworks. Just sat in the crappy casino hotel room watching their crappy cable. Nevada is the only state with universally poor hotel cable. They don’t want you in your room watching TV. Gotta get out there and lose some money.

The last several years I have gone with friends to downtown Columbia and watch the fireworks over Faurout Field from a parking garage. Pretty fun and usually run into people I know.

This year I agreed to have people over. Dad and I took a morning trip to Boonville and had their crappy brunch buffet. We stopped and got some fireworks at a tent outside of town. Mostly cones that shoot sparks since I live in town. When we got home I cleaned up the rose bed. They have been sickly and was concerned about disease so I raked out the mulch, broke up the clay a bit, and planted a new one i got at the grocery store for six bucks. It came with a packet of fertilizer and I sprinkled it around all the roses because I put in a lot of compost when I planted it. I sprinkled more compost about.

After getting cleaned up guests began arriving. Eric not only brought Dad a six pack of gluten free beer (pretty good actually) but did chicken wings in rice flower. I didn’t have the heart to tell him there is gluten in Worcestershire Sauce. We pitched some horse shoes and more people came, around a dozen. I kept winning and we had some good first time players which was fun. Other folks broke out the Boccie Ball. Dad did the grilling smoked a turkey breast and did some local hot dogs and ground pork patties. Other folks brought brats. We did up a dozen yellow and a dozen white sweet corn. Pretty much the first of the season.

We broke up the party and most of us caravaned to Faurot Field to watch them up close. It was very fun being close and firework technology gets better and better. We were so close flaming debris fell around us. We shot the shit and shared some Fourth of July memories.

Categories: childhood, friends, gardening

“Village Burner”

With the 4th of July upon us once again I saw a post about Indians and the Revolutionary War. We like to think the war was about freedom and self determination or even taxation but one of the biggest causes were the colonists impatience with the British’s more moderate policies towards Native Americans. The British agreed to close off settlement West of the Appalachians and the Colonists were eager to steal those rich lands. Washington himself was a surveyor and land speculator eager to seize Indian lands for his personal profit. Besides being the cause of the war the ruthlessness of how the Colonist insurgents prosecuted the war against the Native Americans took warfare to a whole new level. Unable to track down the warriors causing us such trouble Washington ordered the villages attacked, the women and children killed and the corn burned. “Village Burner” is my attempt to tell the truth on this awful event in American history.

They didn’t call him the Great White Father

They didn’t call him Dear Old George

They never talked about no cherry tree

To the Mohawk he was a scourge

They called him Village Burner

He invented Total War

To make war on the women and the children

They’d never seen his like before

And Washington was a land speculator

And not just a holder of slaves

He surveyed and sold much Indian land

To many a worthless knave

And long before Adolph Hitler

Came to his Final Solution

Washington sought to rid the land

Of people he considered pollution

And they called him Village Burner

We must not forget his sin

To make war on innocent civilians

I hope we never see his like again

Categories: history, poetry

“Letter to a Sunday School Teacher”

July 2, 2010 2 comments

I thought I remembered posting this one. I wrote it after going church with a friend, but the story sort of tells itself:

Hey Teacher, Hey Teacher

I went to your class and I heard

What could have been the Holy Word

You know beauty, truth, and love

And Heaven up above

And Jesus and forgiveness of sin.

Well we had some of that

And you didn’t even pass the hat

And we talked and prayed in beauty truth and love

But on more than one occasion

You said of the gay persuasion

The Church is way too tolerant of Them.

Well I didn’t even know there was a Them

Because I thought there was an Us

You know every single human being

And the call goes out to all

And its the same Spirit that falls

Upon every heart that turns to God in prayer.

And I’ve been to a church in San Francisco

And another across the Bay

Where the congregation was less straight then gay

And the same Spirit filled the hall

That it does when I pray with you all

Surely God does love Her children all the same

And I call it a new circumcision

When you say you know with precision

Just how God does view every right and wrong

For if a law was good enough

Surely Jesus wouldn’t have it so rough

To make salvation a free gift for all.

And like meat sacrificed to idols

Lo, all is permissible

If its done with love to the glory of God

And Everyone who knows to do good

And does it not, that is sin

Love and only love is the highest law

And Everyone who loves is a child of God

That’s how God’s love is perfected

Love and only love is the highest law

And by their fruits we shall know them

And yet we must never judge

Love and only love is the highest law

In case you missed it,

Love and only love is the highest law.

Categories: poetry, religeon