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If I am posting it must be insomnia. They’re go the 2:00 am Baptist bells, two minutes late, like clockwork. It seems somehow unBabtist to be two minutes late, two minutes early maybe. But these aren’t your parents Baptists, judgmental and strident, but bland with projection screen throwing up bland hymns. Yawn. A little of that and I could sleep. Instead I have Organic NightyNight tea, still to hot to drink. And blogging my thoughts. See if I get them out of my head to make room for sleep to come in.

I didn’t end up calling in sick the day after I was up posting in the middle of the night. I did sleep in and take some time to wake up. Got my mumps vaccine. 43 years old without getting it, not to bad. The vaccine used to only last 7 years so I never got it when it became available. Now with a booster it lasts your whole life so it makes sense. I didn’t want to kick that can down the road when I would be even older when my immunity failed.

Today started early. I had to get going early and take Fido to a dog park friend’s house to spend the day with Ru the Standard Poodle who likes to hump. I think all poodles do. Fido likes him though, he’s pretty tolerant of such things. He’s easy going to a fault. I had to get there early so Cindy could get to her exercise class but she skipped it to have coffee with me anyway. I brought her some of the dark roast Sumatran I had made. It was good. Best of the lot at its peak this morning. She had broken out the French press for the occasion. I was a little sorry to have given it all away. I roasted a light roast Rwandan tonight so I’ve got something to look forward to. Cindy was dog sitting for a spastic little dog. He humped Fido too.

Tea’s still to hot to drink, had a sip anyways. I came home and dealt with returning some of the phone calls I needed to make. I started to write most but some is more accurate. I still owe my friend Amy and brother Bob a call. Still have an email to family to write as well. I called and did an interview on crime in the second ward with the Trib political paper. He had a 12:00 deadline but it wasn’t in the paper tonight. Maybe tomorrow. That Friday night to Saturday morning is a compressed news cycle. Saturday would be better anyway. It helps door knocking to have been on the paper that day, though you pretty much need to be on the front page and/or have a big picture if you want to get into people’s consciousness. My doors tonight I’d sent them 2 pieces of mail, been in the paper twice a week for a month, and had already knocked on their doors before and no one knew who I was.

Made an appearance at work, mostly just checking email and messages and off to Uprise to meet with the Fire Department Association president. He was meeting with the incumbent from another ward but I got to update Scott, an early supporter who owns an ice cream shop downtown and touch base about not having an event at his place. To much to do not enough time. Its hard to beat doors for voter candidate as far as efficient use of time.

I met with the Fireman, didn’t get endorsed but got a donation and the promise not to be organized against. Still a victory. They don’t want their endorsement to be meaningless and their candidate got beat last time. Drove down to Jefferson City for a meeting of the Missouri Cadre for Co-Occurring Excellence. Been a minute since I’d seen those peeps. I was late because of the fireman thing. We’re planning a peer review process in conjunction with the state. Promising. I picked up a committee assignment again and bragged up my campaign. They’re very proud and miss me on facebook. Nine days and I’m back.

Tea’s yummy. I put in my Michigan honey, the honey of my youth. Sleepy now, but not enough. I drove back to town and caught a couple hours in the office. Not real productive, tired and mind racing. Picked up Fido, he’d had fun and sacked out early and didn’t even get out of bed when I got up to blog so he had a good day. I’ll do it again next week.

Did doors with Ann. Drank the last of the Sumatran dark roast. It threatened rain and had a whole street of no one at home. I wondered if there was a tornado warning and everyone was huddled in their basement. Got a couple signs on the next street. “Bitchin'” a young woman said after I gave her my spiel. The listening tour is over, I’ve been to all 13 precincts and asked what was their concerns. Now I’m pitching myself. Starting back where I started so long ago was interesting. I am a different person. I have a comprehensive knowledge of the neighborhood and its issues, a confidence and a huge array of talking points.

Getting back my old walk sheets for my turf tomorrow. Will be nice to have my notes when I follow up with people for a second time. Even just to know if I talked with them before or not. Stopped by Jeff’s when it started raining. Did a couple houses in the rain but then my sheets got damp and its no fun any more. Got a better tour of his awesome house. Built in 1906 by a biologist who testified in the Scopes trial. Its a 3 story built of concrete forms 1′ x 1′ x 2′ with rock facing on one side. He has a pond with frogs and his fruit trees are in bloom. Very lovely.

Gave me the night of, and I do what my advisers tell me. That was a good strategy. We’ve had remarkably smooth sailing.Allowed me to do dishes and clean my kitchen. I’d had ants, so it needed to be done. No more stacking up dishes for days. Flow has a scrubber that holds dish soap and will start washing them as I go. Ants are God’s way of telling you you are a slob.

Made some fried rice. Was going to do salmon patties but had leftover rice to eat from Fido’s party. Waste not want not, Grandma Trapp always said. Watched a little news and went to bed. Now its time to try that again. A little sleepy and some Spiderman ought to do the trick. I’m down to the Annuals so soon there will be no more. I also finished The Order of Things, only took me 7 years. Have to pick  a new book out. Maybe finish that book on the origins of intelligence I borrowed from John in the Spring. I could return it on my cross country odyssey.

Hope to mow, do a load of laundry, straighten the house, do an interview with a Missourian editoraiist. He writes on issues of religious liberty (the freedom from not freedom to do perspective [hope he’s going to slam my stridently Catholic opponent who criticized Catholic politicians who don’t act like Catholics claiming they’re following the will of their constituents] all before 10 when Vicki comes over. I have a public radio interview at 10:30, oh and I’ll need a shower. Seems ridiculous when I write it all down but you never know. Oh, and I saw a rainbow.

good morning america

February 22, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve been spending some mornings with Good Morning America. Plus side I get a little national news, a lot of pop culture nonsense, and some local weather. I have trouble staying up past 10 to catch the evening news and so far haven’t found anything else worth watching on ABC. The digital 2nd version has some classic TV I’ve been watching a little of that when I want some background noise. The Odd Couple is as preposterous as I remember and without the gloss of nostalgia its probably as crappy as anything on now. It drowns out the sound of the woodpecker out front.

The campaign continues to go well. Hitting doors every day, people more tuned into the election as we get closer and the weather gets warmer. Sun staying up later each day so I can get more time in. Got caught up on follow up calls last night. three hour and a half sessions was all it took. Of course meeting tonight and tomorrow so I’ll be behind again. I still felt confident enough to get back into it to try to go out Friday or Saturday night.

Big day today. Housing inspection in 1/2 hour and going to have to jump in the shower momentarily. Last step before refinancing. Probably won’t lower my payment but taking 12 years off the mortgage is huge. Also getting my broken step fixed. They have a big lip so we are going to reinforce the others and make it more sturdy for the long run. Kicking myself now for not getting them all refinished when Jamie offered. To many decisions to make them all right.

The inspector is here now and after I outlined my modest improvements to the home, kitchen tile, 1/2 a kitchen counter, new windows, fence, and though you can’t tell it in February landscaping he is on his own, photographing my messy house for inspector posterity. After work I have the Labor Meet & Greet, knock on doors, and then I am going to a new group CIVIC. They have organized to oppose the blight designation of about half our city as part of this thing called an Enhanced Enterprise Zone to lure manufacturing jobs, which we desperately need, back to the area. I am still studying the issue so have a little trepidation. I have a meeting scheduled with REDI (public/private partnership that is spearheading the EEZ) next week so I feel I am taking a balanced approach to learning more about the issue. It will be my first vote as a council person.

The other controversy raging in the city is our 6th shots fired incident in recent weeks with the last one taking out a window at Chuck E Cheeze’s. That has our sleepy public up in arms. The police made 2 arrests last night which I am thankful for as politicians who pander to people’s worst fears irk me some and move us in a direction that is not helpful. I wish I could tell people we can manage every scary situation they see on the nightly news but we just can’t. Having some police drive by their house ain’t going to necessarily help. My approach to community safety is to increase neighborliness and “eyes on the street” by making our outdoor spaces more user friendly.

Shots fired though that’s different then the property crimes that more people keeping an eye on things can realistically help. That has more to do with the relationship between the police and the communities of people who have the information that allows crimes to be solved. I think our current Police Chief is on the right track with a scientific approach to police work and a policy of Unconditional Respect to generate trust and manage unconscious biases that can creep into even good hearts.

The real reason I am blogging even though the inspector has moved outside and I could go to work and attack a nagging project that came out of nowhere is I had my most interesting door knock ever last night. Ann was driving and I was door knocking in a pretty sketchy trailer park. We passed this bombed out trailer with the yard strewn with debris and a bird flying out of a windowless section. I marked it “abandoned” and we turned around to go to the next and Ann says “Wait a minute, I see a light on, you gotta go in and see what’s up.” “No lets skip it”. “Come on your a social worker for God’s sake he might need some help”. “OK”.

I see him laying in bed and almost just leave a flyer but I knock. An old guy, looks pretty good, comes to the door and starts rattling on that he is moving tomorrow to some senior housing in the country which will allow him to continue his academic studies of Amish life. He runs on a 10 minute stream of consciousness rant on the Amish, the CIA drug smuggling and pediphilia, his struggles with the publishing industry and their CIA connection, the documentary on his life “Conspiracy of Silence” (4 copies at the Columbia Library), and many other topics. Since he’s moving he gave me the flyer back but I give him a card in case he wants to contact me. My life can always get more interesting, but I hope never as interesting as Michael Zielinski.

Categories: books, community, insanity, politics

Peak Experience

February 12, 2012 1 comment

Wrote this yesterday morning but it didn’t post so here it is now:

Looking at all that is going on in my life it has really been one of the most dynamic and positive periods that I’ve ever had. The campaign is going really well. Then next door I hit will be number 500 the days are getting longer and I have upped my goal from 2,000 to 3,000 which means I will knock on every door of every voter whose voted in any of the last four April elections. Fundraising is lagging but we put some energy towards that and got some hits. We’ll see if checks start appearing in the mail again.

There was a raise on my paycheck I didn’t expect. Its not a lot but its the first since the economy went to crap. I am enjoying my new work in program development. Thursday was an especially cool day. I went from doing general research to a brainstorm session with the boss and a grant writer on speaker phone and we kicked around some ideas and something went from a thought I had to a program description with a budget by the end of the day. It might exist in the real world in September.

It was pay day and I like to get a paper check and go to the bank. Remember nothing is worth doing unless its worth doing like they did in the 19th Century. That inspired me to finish my paperwork and gather my documents for refinancing the house. Took a look at the numbers going to lower my payment by a buck fifty and take 10 years off the mortgage. I am well on my way to having the place paid off, easily in 10, possibly in 5 and then we’re talking serious financial freedom. Work one year in five. Write the great American novel. Finish the Appalachian Trail, whatever.

I also have a date tonight. Yesterday at work I was talking with a client about her follow up with a family doctor I had set up and she said she was supposed to quit smoking on account of her asthma. It hit me it was February 10 and I was two years cigarette free. I called my no smoking coach to thank her and left a message. She called me back last night and invited me to dinner, since I’d eaten, we made it for tonight. Things just continue to fall in place.

I read Marcus Aurelius every night to keep me level. This time will pass like all the other times that have passed. Stay in the now, listen closely, act with honor whatever your station. Don’t be afraid.

Categories: books, feelings, health, politics

step one part three

January 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Welcome back faithful reader. Its been a busy week and I am to tired to work on the campaign or clean house and the rabbit ears only get in the Christian channel tonight, its encouraging me to tell people about Jesus. I do want to talk about God. I’ve been excited about my literacy project of breaking down the 12 steps of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) into simple, concrete English, with hearing references removed. Its my second pass at the subject, the first in writing and I feel its going well. Glad to have good feedback from my sister Brenda who is steeped in recovery. As a full disclaimer I am not, I am a treatment person not a recovery person but knowing the steps is a good thing for everyone. I feel like a good translator in that I haven’t agreed with everything personally but am trying to capture the spirit of the test which is powerful and has more beauty then I first gave it credit. (I prefer the AA Big Book for sheer literary power).

Anyway I was talking to Chris about the project as an NA guru and genuinely good guy I appreciate his input and I was telling him I had to throw out Higher Power when I was getting down to concrete English and explained God was concrete but Higher Power is abstract. He said “OK, just so you tell him God is other people”. Early recovery people identified Higher Power to make it more accessible which is cool and essential for a lot of folks. But when people believe it just makes it easier to stick to the more real “God”. Its early so I hope to finish the first step tonight and still give my DVD player one more shot at playing a movie.

If we think we are our problems and don’t see our problems are part of being sick we won’t be able to see things right. Addicts are overly sensitive to what is going on. We can’t leave things alone. We have problems because we want to know stuff and fight for stuff but we believe things that are not true. We forget how confused we were when we started to use drugs. Forgetting stuff, confusion, and having trouble doing stuff is normal when we first stop using drugs even if we used to be good at stuff. We get back into life when we stop being confused.

What we see and how we feel is still controlled by drugs when we first get clean. People in NA say, “Give it up to God”. “Take it easy”. “Keep coming until God heals you.” “Keep coming back”. Things like this help us not to be selfish and to accept life as it is.

Recovery helps us live. Recovery is like food. We get into trouble when we don’t let people be free. Addiction keeps us from seeing that what we do makes what happens to us. Recovery is looking at the world as it is. We stop fighting and life is fun and interesting. We can finally be happy because it seems real. Not looking at the world as it is keeps us sick. Only if we admit we are powerless over drugs and give it up to God can we feel better. People who plan on using drugs and won’t admit they are powerless over drugs will keep on lying to themselves. Some people are not addicts and they should get help somewhere else. Addicts can learn about recovery at NA.

Addiction has been around a long time but recovery is pretty new. At first it seems normal and right. In meetings we see other addicts who have stopped using drugs. Then we have doubt and think it is to good to be true. We are trapped because we are afraid to change. Doing drugs makes us think bad things about people, gets our feelings hurt and tells us we can’t be better. Everyone in NA goes through this. We give things to God and then go back and act like we used to. If we don’t want to use drugs we figure out what is going on before we use drugs. If we stop wanting to be clean we will use drugs. If we use drugs we have to  get back in recovery.

What we say and what things mean to us makes us do stuff. When we give things to God we don’t have to act on our desires. Going to meetings and hanging out with addicts makes us stop thinking like a drug user. We can look at things in a new way because we are living different. In recovery we try to be sane. Early in recovery we do what people suggest because our thinking is crazy. We need to trust more. We have to accept other people to be in recovery. Then we start calling anything that keeps us from God “crazy”. If we feel bitter about the past we have to make it better. We have to separate fixing ourselves from trying to fix other people. We have to have peace about the past.

Peace can’t come from other people but they can help us have peace. We are a tool of God when we care about other people. We feel like we are connected to people again. Being sane is letting God do things we cannot do. When we run away we take our problems with us. To really escape we have to change.

When we change better things happen to us and we learn new ways to do things. One person said, “We are thankful for this step it means hope, commitment, honesty and freedom. We have to understand this step to understand NA. Knowing God is important in NA. NA makes us free to learn.

If you have problems you can call someone in NA for help. Try not to get discouraged or feeling like you are not doing enough. Ask questions to more then one person. Talk to everyone and learn from everyone. How you understand this step and NA is up to you. You have to own it for it to work.

Every step has helped us understand better and we want it to be great for you. If you get angry or depressed or want to be a rebel, pray, go to a meeting, make list of things you are thankful for, or call someone. Thank you for joining us in recovery. We love you totally with no exceptions.

 

 

 

step one part two

January 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Living alone has forced me to really think about food. Its really inconvenient to live by yourself if you like home cooking. Been making tasty soups I can eat for days and days and realizing I need two thing, because I can’t eat lunch and dinner. The minestrone soup has been good. For lunch on my late day I made hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes so I added some peas, corn, and brie and am baking it for shepherd’s pie.

I have as long as it takes to get done to post. I am going to go back to my paraphrase of the NA Steps in clear, concrete, simple language with all references to hearing removed. Original text is also beautiful, spare and powerful,  from Cyber Recovery. I read the first part to get into the flow and it sounds really good I think. Maybe I’ll strip down all my writing, its kind of powerful and adds to clarity of thought.

In recovery what we call success changes. When we were using drugs we were planning to get high or getting over being sick from being high. Success was staying out of trouble. In recovery success can be staying sober and going to meetings. Some people just do that for a long time. Staying clean is success. Working the steps can be success too but really its about knowing God. That way we can get clean physically, mentally, and spiritually. If we know God we learn how to live. We are honest, help other people, and learn how to love. We love people who don’t even love themselves. Going back to school or getting a job can be success too. Some people think money is success. Recovery does not depend on what we have or what we know. Recovery is being free and not thinking about drugs or wanting to do drugs.

Being sad over not doing something we said we would do teaches us about failure. Being curious about what we can do helps us grow. If we can let ourselves fail we can try to do stuff. When we are clean we have to be brave and try new things. Thinking things are better then they are or worse then they are is like when we were using drugs.

Wondering what other people feel and think, especially about us looks  like a problem. This helps us think things over and get advice. It helps us learn about God. Learning more about what is good and what is bad helps us know God. We don’t believe old lies we heard or be afraid of things we don’t understand. Learning about God is important in NA.

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getting tired, looks like there will be a step 3. Thanks for checking this out and sharing it if you do. Its cool stuff and I am blessed to have been asked to get to know it more deeply. Your comments are requested and appreciated.

sublime day

December 28, 2011 1 comment

Well we made it back safely from our holiday travels and I have successfully transitioned back to going to work everyday. Starting the week on a Tuesday certainly helps, after all tomorrow is Thursday already. Its kind of compensated for getting home late in the rain and not really having an easy time getting the car unloaded and things put away. An empty house needs attention, a dog with a day in a car needs some exercise. I tried to stop at an Indiana state rec area west of Circle City as Dad liked to call it, astute readers may recall, but I couldn’t find the entrance and spent our hiking time driving around some fake lakes.

We stopped at a hunters check in and walked down to a dock but I kept hearing all these guns going off and then it dawned on my road addled mind that I couldn’t really be walking Fido through woods full of armed strangers hoping to shoot who knows what. Fido didn’t understand why we would drive all day get to the woods and then get back in the car and drive all evening. If that dog would learn English I would explain shit to him. Easier I guess just to do things that make sense. All in all he’s a pretty reasonable critter with a healthy philosophy of life. A little more but sniffing and shit eating then I care for but he seems pretty well adjusted and less estranged perhaps then I usually am.

Fido is being pretty chill for it being my late night because Olive has been over all day. She is Amy and Michael’s dog and Fido’s best friend. They’re the same age and have been playing regularly since Fido was 4 months. He is thrilled to death and doesn’t need much from me at all. A little dog butlering please and he wouldn’t say no to a treat but he’s content. Olive is a character, closer to a default dog her mongrelism is hard to classify. Probably some pit because she’s brindle and has some muscles in her forehead, but she’s got a boxer’s chest and stance, some floppy hound ears with a bit of a bay to her bark as well. She’s a good dog. Energetic and pretty good with Fido. She does hump him some, but he puts up with it and sits down or lays down if he gets tired of it. Plus he was doing it to this puppy at the dog park yesterday. I try to stay out of dog politics, they generally work it out better if left alone.

Being my late day they had several hours to work out their biggest exuberance outside. I have a nice sized yard and first thing we did was put a fence up [white picket even, I am so conventional these days] so they have a good space to play. Got to have coffee with Amy before work. I had slept in a bit having Malavika and Isaiah over last night to play some games and get caught up. It was fun wish I could remember the name. Amy got to see my before coffee demeanor which you usually have to live with me to experience.

I roasted more coffee this morning after Amy left. I did an Ethiopian medium/dark and am looking forward to it. Been drinking dark roast Honduran and gave the rest of them away. They were popular presents and got to teach some people about coffee. The herbal skin cream from Erica was a big hit as well. We all remembered my Grandma’s having New Skin by her herb doctor Doctor Kaylor and it generated some reminiscing. Betty has a bit tucked away I wonder if you could analyze it to see what was in it, we all remember it as miraculous. Uncle Mike remembered it was brown and it definitely wasn’t as scenty as Erica’s. I’m thinking it was comfrey.

Busy day to day. Did a suicide awareness/prevention training. I’d done it before with this group so I was challenged to dig deeper into the phenomenon. Normally talk about attempters versus completers and did again but challenged the group to try to address the potential completers who may be passing through our orbits at any time. I read from David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest” with one of his characters being on a psych unit for a hardcore overdose and really eloquently talks about her motivations. Since he later committed suicide I theorize it gives some insight into the mind of a completer, something usually isn’t possible.

He talks about wanting to end how he is feeling versus wanting to hurt himself, the euphemism we all want to use. He talked about horror being the dominant feeling, life turning lurid. I used those points to talk about the sublime. How to connect, provide hope, open the door to talk, provide meaning, normalize. I put my money where my mouth is and tackled the subject head on and tried to do that in my process group. Everything but the sublime part. Everyone is not ready for sublimity. Its an important word that we overuse/misuse. This lamp is sublime. No its not. Sublimity is overcoming the horror to something transcendent. Mostly though I just didn’t have the time, I get very few words in a process group which is intrinsically peer to peer. But I’ll work it in. Maybe do an education group on the topic.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks for reading this far and thank you for your comments and your likes and for subscribing to my rambles if you do and for your own blogs and sharing your stories and your wisdom. It makes me a better person and inspires me to keep doing this.

 

Categories: books, dogs, feelings, travel, work

selenelion

December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

A selenelion is when the rising sun and setting eclipse moon are both visible in the sky at the same time. Its not supposed to be possible because one rises as the other sets but the view is refracted by our atmosphere so you can the moon even after its set. As I write this the nearly full moon is very big and bright and beautiful out my picture window. It was even more impressive this morning.

I don’t use an alarm as a rule, don’t own one and don’t have a cell phone. I just tell myself what time I want to get up before I go to bed and if I really need to be up I drink two glasses of water as recommended by O’ Henry in the ‘Ransom of Red Chief’. I was up late, restless last night but still up way early, 5ish. That meant I had all the time in the world which meant I was late and didn’t get to witness the gradual reddening. I started with coffee, the first of Honduran as a dark roast. Surprisingly good, my favorite one thus far out of the four coffees I’m currently roasting.

Fido was not excited about getting up early but he’s game for anything especially a walk. We walked to Bear Creek Trail park and no one was out to see it except a couple of joggers who didn’t look up. Had a nice view and there was a reddening of the sky on both the moon set side and the sun rise side. Very cool effect, my second favorite lunar eclipse ever.

Ended up walking Fido down the trail almost to Cosmo park and found the side trails where you can have dogs off leash. They’re really cool trails and we walked 1 1/4 mile before we got separated and I had to go back and find him. Used my Louis L’amour knowledge to know lost folks go down hill and found him. He was happy to see me but still kept taking off so I put him back on the leash. We stopped at the off leash park and he played with this standard poodle. I was proud of him for initiating play because the dog had tried to hump him so bad the last time he was there we had to leave.

Got home and went to The Winter Market. It was more then twice as big as last year in its new location at The Parqaid Center and its also in my neighborhood. There was a large festive crowd and a nice selection for winter. I got bell peppers, candy onions, purple cabbage, my first celeriac, and some goats milk lye soap. That was my only irritant, shelling out $11 for 2 bath sized bars and the guy trying to go for the add on sale of hand lotion. That irks me paying a premium and then trying to hit me for more. My irritation must have shown because the guy got very defensive and I told him I knew the add on sale was a common part of commerce. He gave me a stamped loyalty card which also irked me because if I would have bought my two bars on separate weeks I would have gotten two stamps. Last time I buy more then one I can tell you that.

Then I finished decorating the tree, decked out the ficus and put out the santas. Fido was pretty funny when he saw the one on the table in front of the window and started barking at it. Not going to get on the nice list that way Fido. Actually I have his presents bought. I got him a velvet scrunchie with bells to wear on Christmas, a stuffed donkey, and some duck treats. When I called John and told him Fido was full of burrs from his walk in the woods, he told me I  should tell him when Fido doesn’t have burrs. He is a bit of a burr magnet.

Also gathered some milk weed seed. Going to sow those by the fence row tomorrow. Today I raked some leaves out front. I want to finish that tomorrow plus plant the rest of my bought late at discount tulip bulbs. Other then that been fighting with atheists on another blog. In Santa Monica they traditionally had a series of nativity scenes. After adding a menorah and Kwanza display to the dozen or so nativities they added an atheist display and then put the spots up on auction when there was more demand for inclusion. Atheists won almost all of them and are leaving them empty and only 3 nativities got to go up. It just seemed like a bully action and subversion of the process and I commented to that effect on an atheist blog crowing about their victory. No one dealt with my points and they just made  attacks that had nothing to do with my critique. Fundamentalists are all the same, whether they’re Christian or Atheist. Can’t listen and respond but just launch talking points with no nuance or subtlety.

Made a boiled dinner. Brats out of Hermann (the town, not a name of a pig) turnips, potatoes, carrots, purple cabbage, green beans, garlic, onions, and green pepper (all local) with some fresh ground pepper and caraway seed. Pretty yummy. Going to make vegetable soup out of the leftovers.

All in all a most excellent day. Tired though so probably an early night. Going to try and watch Clockwork Orange. Will see if I can get past the rape scene that it opens up with.

Categories: books, dogs, gardening, hiking, religeon

Krampus Day Eve

December 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Happy Krampus Day Eve. Krampus, if your unfamiliar with him is the Swedish anti-Santa. He beats bad girls and boys with birch twigs and has kind of a demonic cast to him. I have been wishing people Happy Krampus Day Eve and telling folks about him all day.

I have done mine up in style making my biggest splash into the spirit of the holidays yet so far. Kevin and I went and got a tree from the Optimists. I got a longleaf pine this year. I like firs and don’t mind paying a little bit more but I got one last year and thought I would mix it up. Its not my first but we never got them when I was a kid because Mom thought the short needle ones were less of a mess. I like it because it has a shaggy look like something out of Dr Seuss.

I didn’t have it bagged because the truck was close and I thought waste the plastic and that was the right move because it was pretty easy. The Optimists cut off the bottom for you too. I have two tree stands, struggling with crappy stands is not worth the trouble. I used the big plastic one because it will hold like a gallon and a half of water so I usually only have to water every other day to stay out of trouble.

I am going to have a New Years Day party so I will want it looking fresh through that long at least. It has scented up the whole house, much more than the fir I got last year. I considered going to a cut your own place but the Optimists are close and it goes to a good cause. I have the angel on top but haven’t put up lights or anything yet. I still may do that tonight. I will also decorate Mom’s ficus and moved it to the other side of the living room instead of the corner next to the tree so it should be more prominent.

I also went to the Odd Fellow’s Christmas banquet. It was fun. I played door man and wished people  a good afternoon. It seems early to wish people a Merry Christmas and the fellahs who go to meetings I’ll see twice more before the day. Tomorrow is the meeting and I didn’t walk the dog today, maybe I’ll do that instead of decorating the tree. Getting some dinner and a walk would be a struggle.

After the dinner I went to Amy and Michael’s so Fido could play with Olive. They had a good time and Fido is sacked out. He’ll get up for a walk though. Although since he got a good play in he’s probably fine to wait until Tuesday for his walk. I worked pretty much a full day on Saturday so with the abbreviated weekend it might not be a bad idea to just chill. Curl up with a She Hulk comic and relax. I’ve been reading a stretch of hers lately starting at the beginning. Pretty crappy but they’re getting better in the second year, the character is fleshing out and becoming a little more interesting. Watching this growth process has been interesting, certainly a lot more to it that I didn’t get when I was reading them as they came out.

I’m also continuing to read Foucalt’s archaeology of modern thought. I’ve been reading the book off and on for like seven years now so I am certainly savoring it. Currently reading about the dualism of man with the Cogito no longer proving existence because what we know rests on this foundation of the unknown and we know enough about thought to know a lot of it is unknown to us. I’ve been reading 2-4 pages a couple times a week and taking time to let it settle in.

I’ve also been talking about dreams. I did two groups on them Saturday, what they are and how they work and am working it into conversation so I learn the stuff. PET scans have shown which parts of the brain are active, visual and feeling motion, deep centers of emotion with a deactivated volition, propriety, and logic centers. Explains a lot about dreams. To sum it up dreams are thinking but they feel different because of chemical changes in the sleeping brain. We think in dreams about the same stuff we think when we’re awake. You need dreams to solidify memory and they can be used to problem solve, hence the old saw, ‘let me sleep on it’.

What does all this mean and have to do with Krampus anyways? I don’t know, let me sleep on it.

at least kittens still work

November 13, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve had a pretty relaxed weekend going into it with a sick day. Gave me permission to take it easy even though its really nice out there. Its been a beautiful Fall and I am thankful, also for seeing gratitude lists start to come out. Its a nice time of year for a lot of reason. I devoted yesterday to crushing a novel which is something I haven’t done for a while. I knocked out most of “Peshawar Lancers” by S.M. Stirling. One of my favorite authors, I like his novels on The Change, post-apocalyptic fiction.

This is straight up alternative history. Set in modern times but in a world where a meteor broke up over the Northern Hemisphere in the mid 19th century, leaving Europe and North America in a three year winter and decent into cannibalism. The British Empire makes an Exodus to India, South Africa & Australia mostly with the heart of the Empire in India. So you end up with sort of a steam punk world with slower advancement airships, Victorian culture with a nice cross pollination of the cultures of the subcontinent.

Nice setting for an adventure story with the villain being the Russian cannibalistic Satan worshiping state church with girls they have bred who can see the future. Charming and fast paced story and I learned a little bit about Hindus and Sikhs. Can’t beat that, but it killed my productivity yesterday.

I did get some laundry hung and started turning the second half of the cold frame. Finishing that is my next project. Today I’ve devoted to puttering and cleaning house and the house certainly needed it. Got the place swept out, could have used more but I gave it a ‘lick and a promise’ as Grandma Trapp used to say. I find everything is connected to everything else and start cleaning and it can suck up my whole day. I miss Amee’s whirlwind where she could just knock stuff out. I am stuck slowly plodding along, stopping to ponder what I find, stymied on where to put stuff, etc, etc, etc.

Today though I did find a steno pad with some poetry I haven’t posted. I wrote this riffing off of Ignatius of Loyola’s bit on humility out of his Spiritual Exercises, which I still haven’t completely read. I was at a conference at some type of Catholic institution and they had a library and I pulled it off the shelf and read a random page on humility that shook me to the core pondering it. It heavily influenced this poem as I tried to assimilate its implications.

Ignatius was a bad ass and a powerful dude. I later bought the book but read how your supposed to be coached through them on a retreat and its better to not know what’s coming. I took it and a bible with me on a 2 1/2 week backpacking trip and worked them in a bastardized way. It was life changing. I felt I had to back off (I was going for the whole deal in a 30 day give or take deal) or risk making a permanent severance with the mundane world. Wasn’t quite ready for that nor did I feel it was necessary.

But setting all that aside I had only read the one page once when I wrote this which I guess I’m calling “Like cigarettes speak for the dead”:

Like cigarettes speak for the dead

They always have

Even since before the world was broken

But at least kittens still work

And many other Sunny Things

Fly high, some higher

Than they’ve ever flown before

Icarus wings perhaps

But at least we’ve known the Sun

And the Son remembers

Someone’s got to decide

If when, if then

I remember, am remembererd

I live, I live, I live

Humility in a poet takes reading

Ignatius of Loyola

Spelling it all out in 3 paragraphs

A thinking man can understand

Humility is the exercise of the will

For the purpose of promoting the will of God

As you follow the pursuits

Only accepting material gratification, social standing

Yea, life itself in a way compatible to the GOOD.

A noble path of humility indeed

Which only the best of us abandon ourselves to

And know the bliss of a clean conscience

In a world gone mad

With violence and control

Ego projection, ego projection, ego projection

Of course you haven’t forgotten

They were the happiest days of your life

We will always be one

And other evil lies said in the language of Action

In the real world

The real fucking world

Fucked up shit goes down.

Its happening right now

All around us

And the deeper path of humility

Cries out for us

For us to walk the path

(To)For the perfect world

That’s coming

Or walk away

And heal and mourn

And watch and pray.

When the final destruction comes

Lurches closer to being

Both or either

I don’t know

But all 3 demand

Us walk the past of

holiness and we’ll

take riches or poverty,

Happiness or unhappiness,

Respect or rancor, as

Secondary to the quest

For the perfect world

Knowing god

As only two loving

Beings can love

Hugging, not being hugged

Remembering and remembered

Image reflection

You know the Kingdom of God,

At hand, within you,

Many mansions, many mansions, many mansions

And real life with its

Treasures and responsibilities

And pleasure gratifications

Are all set aside

Treated as the same

Whatever occurs

In our place in the unfolding of divine will

The few that walk this holy road

For exercise if nothing else

Can choose a third path

Of striving for the divine plan

With all your heart, mind and soul

For so is love perfected in us

And whenever possible

To follow the path of the low

The poor, the reviled

The ignored, until even our

Death serves the divine will.

 

 

Categories: books, gardening, poetry, religeon

11/11/11

November 11, 2011 1 comment

Happy Armistice Day. It commemorates the ending of The Great War or the War to End All Wars, and if only it did, it wouldn’t have morphed into Veteran’s Day. I like the old version better, a day to celebrate peace which is a glorious thing and well worth fighting for. Today is an extra special day with the trifold elevensies. I was telling the agency psychiatrist that numerologically 11 meant “magic”. Kabbalistically 1-10 is a progression from the source at 1 (Kether) to the material world at 10 (Malkuth). Eleven is magical because it goes one further, “this one goes to eleven”.

I find myself with time on my hands because I called in sick today. I had tummy troubles and unsettling dreams and woke at one and could not go back to sleep. Don’t have it today and rest is obviously in order. I will attribute both to peperoni and sausage pizza perhaps, could be a virus or something as well as I’ve got a bit of scratchy throat. I hope to nap and feel better, read some more John Byrne era Fantastic Four maybe more of my Stirling novel the Peshawar Lancers which kept me company through my long night of stomach upset.

My dream was vivid, I have been having vivid dreams throughout the night with increasing frequency and intensity since I read a couple articles on dreaming in the latest Scientific American Mind. There are articles on using dreams to problem solve and lucid dreaming, which I was always doubtful of but they can see it in f-MRI so it probably exists. Its a useful technique for PTSD so I have been trying to learn it and have definitely increased my dream awareness, which has been largely cool. My dreams are banal things of petty frustrations, ennui, and little anxieties mostly.

Last night I dreamed I was visiting the homeland and was feeling very out of sorts. There was some holiday or parade or something and I decided I needed to go the hospital. I went to Boone Hospital and after a long journey through white tile corridors I ended up in this cafeteria and a psychiatrist invited me to eat lunch with him and we talked. He had a large platter of bacon, which was good at first but became increasingly cold and greasy (see why I think there was a pizza connection?). Before we were done there was some kind of break for prayer or meditation or something and everyone in the room got into a big circle and put their arms around each other and prayed or meditated or something involving droning and people rubbing other people’s heads. I found it all very weird but was glad to be a part of it and it broke up and the doctor and I walked down a long corridor and he asked more questions. He asked me what I was feeling and I told him that I felt like a large crystal a picture of this became the dream a complex crystal structure but that I felt very fragile. He surprised me when his tone went from a convivial camaraderie to the voice of authority and he told me he wanted me to go to University Hospital for an evaluation. I thought it odd already being in a hospital but I asked him why I needed to be in a hospital. He said because you said you were fragile.

Usually for dream interpretation the question to be asked is what was the overall feeling of the dream. Bewilderment. I chalk it up to being sick as any larger meaning, but its made me think. Which is one of the points of dreams to look at things differently.

In the spirit of 11/11/11 I wanted to share an older poem I wrote about Solomon, our preeminent magic man. It probably goes in a series with my Biblical Biopics with a Twist with the one about Jesus and John and Salome.

Wise Old Solomon

Wise Old Solomon was an old soul

Walked closely with the Lord

But he could still rock -n- roll

From time to time

He had a thousand wives and concubines

Was courted by the Queen of Sheba

He drank her wine

He was a wise man

He won the prize to understand

That if one is ever truly wise

One sees through child’s eyes

He knew the names of a thousand angels

Never known before

He knew the names of a thousand demons

And what’s more

He put them down

Into the ground

So they never got up again

He bound them for their mischief

He bound them for our sin

He was a wise man

He won the prize to understand

When one is truly wise

He can fell opponents of any size

Solomon built a house

Where the Lord did dwell

And the dead went to Sheol

They’d never heard of Hell

And the Lord won’t dwell in a house

Built by human hands

And what Solomon built with

Few can understand

He is a wise man

He won the prize to understand

That if one is truly wise

One never dies

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Categories: books, insanity, poetry, religeon, the mind Tags: