Happy Holidays 2000

Greetings One and All!

    It's Thanksgiving in Boise.  My 2 cranberry dishes (raw w horseradish and cooked w cardamom) are ready; green beans set to steam before heading to Marilyn’s to be with “uh, 25, 35, I don't know!" of her relatives this afternoon.  First Thanksgiving I haven't traveled in decades!  Last night, over tea, a friend and I pondered all we're grateful for.
    Feels like my first "real" winter in Idaho since leaving Colorado.  Been cold for weeks now, below freezing.  For once it feels like holidays!  Know it's Idaho because the other evening I followed an SUV with a decal in the back window promoting its website for precision long distance technical--or was it tactical--weapons as casually as Mary Kay cosmetics.  Rats!  Can't find notes in case you wanna check it out!  Idaho!!
    Pulling together the highlights of the year, reminds me what a full, fun and err... challenging year it was.  It'd be a lot easier to just say, "nothing new", like one friend with a remarkable life does!  She's right, life keeps happening regardless!  Fun to re-live the good stuff; maybe even learn from looking back through the cycle of the seasons.

    2000.  Ahhh.  My New Millennium began soberly at Cloud Mountain Zen Retreat in Washington.  Thought I'd try something new.  A large group of us silently sipping hot cider and nibbling cookies under damp skies as the millennium turned.  Several days later I left without knowing with whom I ate, bunked and sat!  The only sociable critter was the resident cat.  On the way home to Boise, at long, long last visited Breitenbush, the lovely hot springs retreat center, where at least a few folks could speak--silent workshops there too!  Divine.
    Still, a few weeks later, I too got the January blues.  They lifted briefly as I shrieked through “Bringing Out the Dead”, playing at the budget theater.  Began serious shopping adventures in Boise Christianity, visiting a number of “Bible” churches, particularly looking for opportunities to sing.  Heard visiting radio ministers and other evangelists, as I continued to wrestle to fit my New Thought consciousness east of the Cascades!
   FEBRUARY.  Little things mean a lot under gray skies with short days.  Like, locals Janelle and Tim’s miraculous winter tomatoes, from the produce stand by the Eagle Fitness Club (where I still teach yoga).  Their fine taste and color of summer brightened salads and long nights.  Terrific tomatoes--not potatoes--Boise area's best kept secret!  Nearly all year long!
    After all these years of reading about her in High Country News, finally read Linda Hasselstrom.  Awesome ranch woman writer!
    MARCH.  Local IRS tax angel, John, again prepared my taxes with their nightmarish partially liquidated partnership.  Enjoyed dinner and an evening at an Adventist Mexican cooking class with nutritionist Sue from yoga class.  Things I never wudda experienced if I stayed west of the Cascades!  Hoping to hear Patch Adams speak at the Unitarian Church, a twist of fate led instead to tree sitter, Julia Butterfly Hill, recipient of a peace quilt.  Deeply moved by the presence and spirit of this extraordinary young woman of heart.  Her book Luna hints at that spirit.  Thank you Unitarians also for giving Rosalie Sorrels the stage one Sunday morning.
    APRIL.  Ever searching for music and peace of mind, attended a “southern gospel” concert, a genre I was totally unaware of.  Wondered if this white-Jesus-disco-karaoke is the red-neck answer to forbidden Black Gospel?  Even with earplugs, my ears suffered, possibly due to the advanced age of the audience.  During an especially rousing version of “This Little Light”, seemingly comatose folks suddenly waggled their redeemed right pointer fingers in the air, suggesting that was about as exciting as it gets.  Absolutely nothing like gospel music I've heard elsewhere.  Fascinated by what seemed like this soul-less experience for those suspicious of other skin colors but wanting in on the fun!  Learned there are cruises featuring top white gospel bands such as this one!  Lord, Save Me!!
    The great car swap.  Read more than you'd ever want to know about the adventure under Journals (link below).  Picked up “new” corolla, the Snow Leopard, in Salt Lake City Utah, Apr 4.

Snow boarder Kotaro saying bye to his Corolla, SLC

    Further April Notes: Enjoyed “Hurricane” (movie) and listening to Frank McCourt read ‘Tis.  New apartment toilet!  Return to Seattle for Easter services in the Opera House and yoga retreat at lovely Camp Indralaya on Orcas Island.  Steady if uneasy regular at the Vineyard, a “radical middle” evangelic Christian church.

    MAY.  Long list of movies and books suggests winter was endless.  "The Green Mile" and "Music of the Heart" (movies); “My Fair Lady”, “Cobb” and “Sound of Music” (plays); Buddhist reading (see below).  Quite by accident, at a health fair, heard young fiddle contest winners, locals Alex and Hayden, ages 7 and just 4, play fiddle and guitar.  Standing easily in matching "Idaho" T-shirts, shorts and tennies (youngest, Mickey Mouse) fiddling in perfect tune and rhythm their unpretentious and natural talent touched my heart.  They were both 100x better than any kid I'd ever suffered listening to, and of course 1000x better than me in my former life as fiddler.  They'll definitely be on tv if they aren't already.  They easily win contests in categories above their own age.  Right then and there, shudda sent my fiddles straight off to Sandy Bradley's final Folklife auction!  But of course, I didn't; they remain dusty.  I remain deluded...someday...!
    Another Ken Cohen qigong workshop, Boulder, CO.  Row of 50 some mailboxes in the “wilds” near Boulder told it like it is: the Colorado I remember is history, even in my lifetime.  En route, several sublime, starry nights of high altitude camping, during unseasonably mild May weather.  After relaxing and jawing with old Illini Lorrie in the high country I was inspired to create a Simian Outing Society webpage to locate old '60s classmates.  Thus far: all remain lost!  [Link below]
    JUNE.  Back to Oregon to tape record and camp with the frogs that enchanted me last July.  Was totally stunned when the following morning Reverend Mary used a parable about sleeping with frogs!!!  However had she known what I was up to!  Enjoyed an outstanding touring one man Charles Russell show.  Began sitting weekly with new hospice woman, Doris, and still am as of this writing.  [Ah, she died yesterday, Nov 28!  The extraordinary sunrise this morning must have been her celebration].  Just LOVE being an advocate for death, listening and being!


    JULY.  Returned to Oregon for the Country Fair.  Walked tender feet into a crisis from which they are still recovering (Listen to Thy Feet!!  That's another story)!  3 favorite memories: 1. Pairs of long plastic listening tubes rigged along the river—awesome; the folks who walked around in an “anubus”, 2.  Walking "bus", touring the fair, watching us fair goers, commenting, “How can they live like this!”  (It is an outrageous event.  Only saw one fellow clearly only there to snap photos of scantily dressed females.)  3. Unforgettable, fresh, fresh, green salad.  Over-nighted with Frank and Emily's friendly family in nearby Veneta.

Listening tube station, Oregon Country Fair 2000

    Further July Notes.  Toyota #1, Cloudy Hands, the Tercel, still unsold, so started driving it more and more, since it was still easier to drive than the new Corolla (and doesn't drag in and out of the parking lot)!  In August a pickup followed me, made a good enough offer, handed me cash the next day.  The wife says I won't even recognize the Tercel once her husband gets it—such a fine mechanic.  He never even drove it; just listened.
    Once again brain fog descended during relentless summer heat, which dragged on for several months without rain (hence: famous fires).  Fortunately my last summer's coke (as in fountain coca cola) habit halted; after a few, switched back to old standard, iced tea.  Swam in nearby gravel ponds until, unlike previous years, my fav. turned way smelly.  Around this time Charlene and I went to see “God's Army”, the Mormon film about missionaries, which showed to packed houses for months.  Terrific!  Good insight into Idaho's mysterious, "indigenous" religion.
    One weekend, seemingly out of the blue, Compassion in Action (my original hospice training) came to the VA in Boise.  Ironically I sat by a Japanese woman.  That evening I drove over to Ontario OR to the Japanese Obon festival (for more about Obon, click "Moments" webpage below).
     Renown chanter Krishna Das stopped a night in Boise!  Wonderful evening.  Powerful teachers coming out of the '60s!  Also in July, my favorite local cat, Patches, and her mom, Mrs. Catt (honest) moved to the country to live in the house she was given by her boss, if she'd move it!
    AUGUST.  Merrill's (egg farm and fitness club owners) large chicken landmark was taken down (per new upscale planning dept.) from main street in Eagle.  Luckily I was there to record the unfortunate, historic event.  How will I know where to turn to the fitness club and to get tomatoes!!

Last stand, Merrill's chicken!!

    End of summer, treated self to LEC's Soul Explosion in Wilsonville and a couple of blissful nights on the Oregon coast (thanks to Kim in yoga).  Time flew as I drove home, gripping the wheel, listening to The Perfect Storm.  Much easier to breathe listening to Under the Tuscan Sun!  My vote for "story" of the month, if not the year, was the chomping of a local zoo board of director by a tiger during the “Feast for the Beasts” fundraiser, August 11.  Said director was then hit/hospitalized by a policeman's bullet.  Stared at the headline in the Idaho Statesman incredulous—this really happened!?  Right here in river city!!
    During the heat and drought of summer, car camped weekend after weekend in the same spot, some 70 miles north of Boise, out of the smoke of Idaho's many fires.  Since low slung Snow Leopard literally scrapes cowpies, no off-roading for us; stick to main roads.  Not necessarily cooler in woods than Boise; however loved hearing coyotes howl, deer clomp and cough, and owls hoot.  Read and sorted through boxes of old letters, burning some, whittling away at my past.  Sometimes swung in hammock; other times hid in tent from the bees which were really excitable this summer and fall.  Once "my" wild spot was found, invited visitors!  Even a birthday celebration campout with a couple o' buddies.

    SEPT-OCT.  Drove to Minneapolis, via MT, ND to visit mom and brother Stu; bro Jamie flew in from OH.  Then up to the UP of MI to see Grandfather Mann's old logging country.  Maybe.  It's not clear where he logged, maybe Canada.  Brought home grandmother Mann's early photo albums, to match up with his magic lantern glass slides, which I scanned (latest high tech toy) into the computer.  [Click Travels link below for more about to MN trip.]
    NOVEMBER. Retreats.  Too many youthful testimonials for this eclectic monk at the catholic evangelization retreat a hospice assoc. invited me to.  But the Saturday zen retreat with Priest Layla Smith from the Bay area was right down my alley.  My first official Soto zen day of sitting!  Luckily I've more or less given up trying to meet sitters...  Silence?  Whatever!  Liked the simplicity.
    Despite times of vigorous disagreement, seem to have settled into attending the evangelic church across the river, the Vineyard.  I'm the woman who sits alone, legs crossed under jumper, sandals on floor, amidst a sea of young families, in church uniform: blondes in denim and boots, holding with babies.  (I've talked a couple folks into coming with, but they tend to bolt, ne'r to return!)  Interestingly, it's a "guy church"--more men than I've ever, ever seen in a church!  Love the ½ hour of participatory music and the grounded pastor's message from his heart.  He may not approve of me, the “unchurched”, but it doesn't keep me from being touched by his heart for God.  Sunday after Sunday, he passes my speaker's test: talking as though mind reading.  When Tri goes off on one of his occasional satanic tangents, I just roll my eyes and know: Forgive them; they know not what they say.  Remember, Love is the Answer, Tri; Love is the Answer.  Fear not!  I leave uplifted, challenged and affirmed.  Tri courageously acknowledges all is not a bed of roses in the "Christian" world.  Indeed!  [Click "All Paths" link below for adventures in Idaho religion.]
    At the rate things are changing, is there even a possibility next year I'd no longer believe all paths lead to One God!!  Ha!  The Dalai Lama will be coming to Portland next spring.  Sense  opportunity not to be missed!  Holy is Holy.  Until New Thought truly comes to Boise, I'll sing at the Vineyard, drop in at gorgeous St John's Cathedral, visit just about anywhere!  Deep community eludes me, but not a local weekly recharge.  Tape subscriptions from beacons of light west of the Cascades keep me sane.
    FAVORITE BOOKS.  McCourt's ‘Tis; Linda Hasselstrom's Seems Like Far --anything she writes; Buddhist Maura “Shoshin” O’Halloran Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind; Ursula Hege's Stones from the River. On the road, I still enjoy anything Maeve Binchey writes, like Tara Road.
    ANIMALS.  Big year for seeing, hearing and watching owls on the Greenbelt.  Big ones, little ones, adults and kids.  Due to resting and respecting feet (and ceaseless flat tires on bikes), plus inertia, excursions to the Greenbelt were down this year, making them more special than ever.

On the Greenbelt, summer 2000

    DECEMBER.  The idea of buying a house began brewing after talking with family in Minneapolis.  2001 could be the year of biting the bullet and owning.  Although I'd like to be closer to spiritual centers west of the Cascades, my yoga teacher remains in Boise.  This is where I am.  Every day I'm grateful to have the right teacher, right here, right behind me.  Plus out of state gigong master, Ken Cohen.  Their teachings mesh perfectly.  Got all the answers my wondering mind seeks; now it's just practice, practice, practice!  Break old patterns, let go, assignment love!
    No end to the learning, then the gift of learning to share.  Still "teach" yoga to the less than aerobic crew (like myself) at the fitness club in Eagle, through Community Ed.  Such fun, this yoga thing.  Brings out the best in me.  Meet fine folks.  Almost time to teach on my own; hence interest in house with space for class.  Physically, I'm finally learning to “lengthen” spine.  At long, long last, hips aligning; shoulders releasing; feet changing, softening, rooting for winds of change.  Altho I get discouraged by the competition and warp speed of the world, I'm graced to have impeccable masters from which to learn (meaning absolutely everyone).  Doesn't get any better than that.
    As Garrison Keillor says, "Be well, do good work and keep in touch!"  Let me know how you are!  Love to hear from you!

Love and Blessings,

POB 33, Eagle ID 83616                                            . WRITE ME  .

Return to current HOLIDAY LETTER

More Holiday Archives -- you could be there!
  2000     1999  1998  1997   1996  1995   1994  1993  1992