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Happy Holidays 2003!!Greetings from Idaho!
What!! Another year! Feels more like I've being steam rolled than gone with the flow! My third, at Glencrest as I call home in Boise 'burbs. Horses still in pastures 'tween me and Hill Road. I'm working on a crude shade (pleased when neighbor Gary immed. recognized its gorilla--er guerilla--style--bamboo poles set in buckets filled with rocks, pvc pipe lashed horizontally) around the hot tub to deflect headlights that shoot straight from the road, as well as lights that beam when leaves drop from shade trees around homes in the foothills. Last year I wrote holiday news as leaks plopped into yogurt cups along the bedroom window sill--down to just one cup a year later. Neighbor Paul--bless him--helped me troubleshoot. Caulked around the outside of the new windows of the first summer's remodel. Recently chimney sweep Greg Duffy added a storm collar to the redo of the wood stove chimney that was part of August's major remodel. I optimistically removed the buckets by the stove. No rain/no leaks for practically a half year!--if 1/2" counts. My angst over leaks paled in comparison to the deep funk that overwhelmed me during last summer's adventures with bees (see August). My attitude towards our tiny winged "friends" that make honey will probably never be the same. (See: barred teeth.) "Winged friends" is now up there with serious misnomers like "friendly fire". Ach! What with major deaths, a rather heavy duty year.
SHORT FORM 2003Jan. Non winter. Mexico!JJ Framing and matting J. Regular at Wok Inn Noodle. J.
Feb. Missed gospel workshop while in Mexico! L. Non winter continues. One cold week. UU's Our Town J. No home improvements continues. Me nombre Elena.
Mar. Concordia Choir. J Hot tub meltdownL. Mom dies March 14th-- Minneapolis; Durango; Nevada.
April Snow! Dan potluck #2 J . Easter in Boise: Journey of the U ; women'sí tea; Ralph Nadar; espagnol con Laura. Discover Wendy's oriental salad.
May Retreats. Char dies May 5. Rain, rain, cool. Folklife/Seattle - National Living Treasure Pat Wright's Total Experience Gospel choir.JJ San Jose!
June Tassajara; camping under oaks J. Home J PeasJ; bok choy lost, earwigs won.L Home. More power outages; neighbors Tom and Linda move L way north! Silver City geology field trip! Sage Hen Meadow; writing. Time for chest openers-- where did all the yoga students go?
July 4th of July paddle/dump. Green nose; communion. Heat, heat, heat L; summer hibernation; more writing about mom and Char. Blue Bunny Knee Deep in chocolate J. Outages continue. NYC? ha! Rosalie at the Botanical GardensJ.
Aug. Remodel with Bill! J Blueberries missing again. Lesbian loop. Sawtooths, Diamond D; Mars peaksJ. BEES. L WASPS L. Prison! Birthday wake up.
Sept. Another awesome Buddhist raft trip J. Bozeman JL. Still warm, moved inside, upstairs, after East coast trip; resumed hot tub. Leslie Field's; Eisley revisited. Yoga downstairs. JHS--Russell Hicks.
Oct. Diet alert. Zinnia and honeysuckle finally bloom J! Last of rhubarb J. Leslie James retreat.
Nov. More floors, more yoga, more framing. Chan meets Bose. Double Thanksgivings. Messiah back at NNU.
Dec. Presario updateJ. Solstice at BreitenbushJJ. Honoring the Medicine. Laughter--Bremerton; BellinghamJ.
LONG FORM 2003
January. Kathe wandered over from neighbor's Gary and Cindy's this New Year's Eve gathering to burn resolutions in the wood stove. Recall enjoying the fire and talking to myself reasonably well. Just ain't the good old daze!
While normal homeowners rip and paint, I began digging out a lifetime of rolled up and stashed prints, framing and hanging. At the bottom of the family round top trunk were Degas prints from childhood and watercolors from Aunt Peggy I had no recollection of whatsoever. Every frame's different for a set of Muir prints acquired during the '70s through High Country News. Framing my life, as it were. Ongoing again this winter as I write. Prints now march up the stairs. (See photos below) Could be the number one customer of thriftshop frames; tried many to find a few winners (only to change mind again and again).
Even though this was more or less a winter that didn't happen, recalling my promise to take a sun break from Boise gray skies, headed south to México for dos semanas(?), on one of Emmett farmer Señor Don's informal tours. The produce and pies at his produce stand in Horseshoe Bend, Volcanic Farms, are my "local" favorites. The two Donnas make awesome pie crusts.
See "Travels page" for the full adventure. Unlike others, didn't get sick 'til I got home... Comida de México no esta/es por moi. [Mexican food ain't me.]
February. Since I missed the gospel workshop while off in México, visited Miracle Temple one Sunday--small black pentacostal church en route to Eagle. Mercy, did I hear singing! But I'd already been to the Vineyard that morning. Several more hours was more than this white girl could handle regularly!
When I recovered from México, began Spanish classes through Community Ed. Me nombre Elena. Grateful for two excellent, compassionate instructors. Listened eagerly to Sandra Cisneros' Caramelo. In inglais, naturally.
Went down the street one winter evening to see a wonderful production of "Our Town"; the Unitarians have found their calling. Little did I know I was being prepared for March.
Notes: cold week; yoga classes bigger.
March. "Concordia Choir"--neighbors Tom and Linda and I made a grand evening of it; I was smitten! Not long after, Tom troubleshot my melted down hot tub--he'd just installed theirs. Little did I know they'd take theirs north by September.
The middle of March was eclipsed by mom's death; travel to Minneapolis to meet brothers; to Durango to scatter ashes. The rest of the year I've waded and wandered through the experience of losing the final parent, in a heavy fog, working through thoughts, now on a new web page to Mom.
April. After such a mild winter, a spring snow. Basque Buddhist Dan hosted another fun potluck. I was traveled out, glad to spend Easter in Boise at my increasingly fond of local church. Boise Vineyard's Easter agenda included a last supper with pastor Mike, a Friday sunset walk--no, definitely a hike--to the cross on the mesa behind the penitentiary, complete with re-enacted dramas-- impressed by Barabas. Told myself if I survived the hike, I'd treat myself to dinner at Chan's. I'm in year #? realigning feet, limping. The bribe barely got me to the top; hobbled down while folks sang. Sunday-- sunrise bonfire with full moon and appearance by Mary Magdelene. Powerful week.
After all these decades, heard Ralph Nader speak to crowd of BSU students. About time!
New Spanish teacher, Laura, teaches at the prison. Hmm.
About now, discovered Wendy's Oriental salad.
About now began bringing home starts of heirloom Brandywines, my favorite tomatoes, from Toby's nursery in Eagle. The first group froze, huddled by the hot tub, later ones nipped.
May. Not done with death this year, my dear, complex Boise yoga master Char died after a long, long journey. Hosted a small circle for her daughter and students 10 days later.
Notes say rain and cool. Little did we know we'd scarcely see rain again until late fall.
Another church singles events; delighted at the strange combination of folks.
Lovely meditation retreat at Boise's Nazareth Ctr with Thich Nhat Hahn students/teachers Peggy Rowe and Larry Ward. Opening afternoon I celebrated "selling" the beloved corolla wagon after a year of renewals, ads, maintenance. What a deficit project! The weekend before we sat with Zen teacher Layla Smith, San Francisco. Raining Buddhists!
One day as I drove along preoccupied, chewing on the anger that caused someone to vandalize all the statuary in the nursery I'd just stopped in, one of the world's slowest drivers managed to get a school zone ticket with no kids present. Immediately understood how helpless we can feel. Fun breathing through that one, writing $130 check, about two weeks of yoga income. Guess this explains my passion to do prison ministry.
The night before I left to spend Memorial weekend at Folklife in Seattle, planted the frost nipped Brandywines (tomatoes) with a prayer.
Another Folklife with National Living Treasure Pat Wright's Total Experience Gospel Choir, Marli, Marcy, Susan and friends. Particularly enjoyed the Maritime theme--films documenting Italian seafaring tradition brought to Boston; life on Cranberry Island. Met Gloucester MA fisherman/museum beneficiary Sam Novello. Tom Lewis back to sing. Poems by fisherman Leslie Leyland Fields (see favorite below); tales by seafaring men and women riveted me. Once again shrieked with laughter at Johnnie Moses' stories. My feet can resist contra dancing (but not the music); but nothing can keep me off the Balkan floor except for falling all over myself trying to remember Elena Mome, etc. End of each day hostess Marli and I ran into each other as we limped onto the #16 bus north. Sunday morning I always enjoy stopping by incomparable Kathianne Lewis' memorial service. "Her" CSL choir sang at Folklife this year! By Monday evening I was utterly spent. Seattle's such a treat that I was exhausted having a year's worth of fun in one weekend! Watching Ballard Sedentary Sousa band with sitting baton twirler Edith Farrar, droll as ever, is hard work! Fortunately most of the acts are one of a kind--couldn't take another like 'em, or more than once a year!
Recovered at Marcy's new digs in Bremerton before driving onto San José, for adventures with old friends and workshop at Tassajara (See Travels).
June. Great visit with Simian co-webster Paul and mate Christina in San José. Fine yoga/meditation retreat at nearby Tassajara. Followed by blissful camping under California oaks. [See Travels] Home to harvest first ever garden peas. Earwigs subdued even rhubarb! More power outages (sprinklers down; lost newly transplanted lavender that had been doing so well--no water while I was out of town). What a neighborhood!
Alas, no 2nd annual neighborhood yard sale (my garage probably couldn't have taken it). News that homeowner assoc. lead Tom would be heading north sobered me. Delightful Mining Museum field trip to Silver City. Just like the geology days of old, being with rock hounds (and their hounds). I've missed hearing terms like pegmatite and rhyolite! Added later: but I learned the sound of crunching mormon crickets--first saw them in NV; crunched miles of them on the way down from Silver City.
No June visitors this year! What! Boise not a major destination! Family'll never drop in! The only hope are friends.
Rehung mosquito net tent on the back porch--relocated bedroom for summer.
Yoga world--chest openers sound good; but where are all the students?
Returned to camp in Sage Hen Meadow, full of magenta shooting stars and blue camas. Carcasses have been scattered, vegetation recovering slowly from abusers. Began sorting and writing through the experience of mom's and Char's deaths.
July. Heat, heat, heat. Went into what felt like hibernation, except, of course, summer. Cowered inside, air conditioning running unprecedentedly long hours, attic fan working overtime; writing, writing, making sense of two big deaths.
Beets won't sprout; earwigs did in bok choy; none to take to Chan this year. Barely enough arrugalu to flavor Wendy's salads.
4th of July Bear Valley campout again this year with Helen and friends. More confident in the kayak this time; dumped immediately, losing water supply! Highlight of the day--maybe summer--suddenly realizing Helen and I were about to paddle beside two river otter! Shushed and pointed frantically. By the end of the day, could barely climb out--so dehydrated. Pasta and tea were a miracle recharge. Left campers and their beers early to witness yoga and dance buddy Ted's wedding mass back in Boise. Two strong memories: inadvertently picking my nose with the ink of an exploded green ballpoint on the way to St. Mark's; and not being able to resist getting in line for communion from Ted, holding the wine. Hopefully Father Jiro forgave me; didn't have a clue what to do.
While mom's outdated, faded to pink plastic kayak was still on the car (making me look like an outdoor jock), enjoyed a 2nd late night moonlight paddle near Montour, with friends of Idaho Outdoor Sports.
Scoffed unsympathetically at New York City's outages. Idaho Power trucks idle around our Gary Lane Meadow subdivision routinely!
Discovered Blue Bunny Knee Deep in Chocolate.
Mom's Durango friend Rae swung on the back porch one evening while traveling through. A year after Evette visited with her nose in Tolle's Power of Now--I got it. Wow! Also enjoyed Botany of Desire; potatoes and apples will never be the same. Notes say we heard ever wonderful Rosalie Sorrels at the Botanical Gardens, one hot evening. That night and others, beautiful sunsets from all the fires in the West again. Ironically, some of the most breath taking sunsets I saw were from the parking lot of the new Walmart down the street. Often dashed in on my way home, under cover of darkness to avoid day crowds. More than once thought of snapping sunset with Walmart photo. Confess hiking in and outa Walmart's my primary exercise.
Favorite waitress/friend Christina at Chan's took another job; gonna miss her.
August. August was consumed with contractor Bill (overheard him at church saying he remodels) redoing the downstairs; making decisions, writing checks. (Since paint bubbled and peeled in August's relentless heat, never crossed my busy mind to inquire about heating new floor, which has since become yoga space. Much as I love having hardwood, deeply regret not seizing the opportunity. Dena wears gloves this winter!)
One hot, hot weekend, ran away to McCall to camp again with Unitarians at Ponderosa State Park. Payette Lake was pure bliss, perfect temperature. Stayed in hours. This time I was assigned to the Lesbian Loop. Interesting, measuring my words around a fierce, shaved headed, tattooed young woman in grad school, her buddy and the usual beloved furry best friends. The campground huckleberries turned out to be the only ones I saw all summer.
Yoga students saw to it I seriously overdosed on birthday cake and ice cream after class. That night, in no uncertain terms, my body threatened--cut it out or die painfully.
Birthday outing to explore Sawtooths. Listening to New Dimension tapes, took the RAV onto new mountain roads. Camped 4 nights. Mars, as close as it gets, loomed huge. Coming upon the Diamond D Ranch--might brother Scott's family ever stay there?--reminded me of my magical childhood memory of Water Valley dude ranch in Wyoming.
Back home it slowly dawned on me bees were beelining in and out of the garage eve--to a hive somewhere in the garage walls. After I semi successfully tried to caulk and board up the entrance, I learned how angry the bees were. They chased and stung. Being nailed by the eye was particularly painful and memorable. In the past stings have been no big thing; this time, immunity was down; body reacted strongly, swelled, knotted and ached; nausea, depressed. Whatadrag! Oh, how I hated home owning, missed renting. Worse than leaks! True, the week I moved in, I realized I'd signed up to patrol wasp nests the rest of my life--now this! No wonder women marry, I thought! On the net, read only a beekeeper can remove bees once they've chosen a home. (Neighbor bee keeper Tom had just left for Alaska--leaving me his bees perhaps?) Moved yellow "Warning, toxic fumes" banner from front door across sidewalk so the unsuspecting wouldn't be attacked. Began using back door, wearing hooded coat, heavy pants, gloves, socks, black net mantilla over face--this, in the 100 degree heat--as I went from house to car, car to house. At night, covered from head to toe, nervously slipped out front with flashlight and fly swatter, murdering bee by bee. Hated warring, feeling like a hostage, what seemed like lack of sympathy! Condo friend chuckled; another expects boss to deal with such things. The beeline slowed.
Not only bees, but wasps, attacked/stung as I scuttled along the fence to the back. People insisted I didn't know a bee from a wasp or hornet; little did they know I had a world class bug collection and Mr. Emrick for junior high science. This, in regard to why wasp spray does not affect bees.
Likewise, I know a squash bug from a lady bug. Until I had a garden, though, I did NOT know what squash bugs do--unbelievable! This year, the instant they appeared, I squooshed, defending a volunteer squash of unknown variety, then used a tad of Safer spray recommended by a contractor. Held squash bugs at bay, but not earwigs.
Compared to coping with bees, visiting prison was a piece of cake. Some time in August, finally arranged to visit my spring Spanish teacher's English class at the private prison! The felons, as she calls them fondly, were at least as attentive as yoga students when I did a mini song and dance presentation about relaxation. For whatever reason, I relate to folks who screw up and get caught. Not long after I was in the same classroom on a Sunday night with a Unity Church volunteer to observe how he teaches Cady's Lessons in Truth. Since one should only visit once, I'm working on official orientation and forms. Months later Laura emails that the felons ask when I'm coming back.
September. Another early Sept. awesome Buddhist raft trip below Cabarton with Mike Tonesmeier, just-as-the-weather-shifted. Mike's got a lot to share. Camped over at Sage Hen that night, awoke to fog. No owls, 'yotes or elk heard. But out in the meadow when I'd arrived chomped two moose! That's a first! Glad they could find something after cows moved in.
Following weekend, dashed north to Bozeman--such a fine drive--to hear Zen teacher Reb Anderson again. My local host turned out to be a fellow I'd worked with briefly at Harper-Owes in Seattle, spring 1989, before heading up to Kodiak! A newcomer to meditation, Clain dropped out of the retreat early; I lasted longer, wondering where Reb "was at"! He lost a bunch of us!
Mid September, proudly picked my first 2 scrumptious if heavily cracked, giant Brandywines, which survived the slight frost nip in my especially arctic backyard. (Everyone else harvested tomatoes all summer!)
Flew to Massachusetts, visited Hemphills and more (see photos) and recharged with qigong master Ken Cohen at Kripalu Center. The first morning, we experienced more Buddhist meditation than a weekend in Bozeman. Live and learn. Returned inspired, with recharged body, mind and spirit (despite Kripalu's severe vegetarian food).
Back home, although it continued unseasonably warm, moved bedroom inside and upstairs "for the winter that didn't happen for sometime". Turned hot tub back on. Began holding yoga classes downstairs in the new space (photo below).
Tomatoes were waiting and ripening! An especially late stay of frosty execution allowed the bumper crop of late setting Brandwine's to make it. (See photos.)
Found Leslie Leyland Field's online. Now have her book of poems with the stunning "Consolation of Sinking of My Poems" I'd heard at Folklife (see below). On a literary role, triggered by lawn mower Cliff's story about his hands, revisited Loren Eiseley. Dug out collection, finally found favorite story in All the Strange Hours. I'd share the title, but Cliff appears to have split with it. Charming rascals I have known.
Astonished to notice in new high school reunion booklet Russell Hicks and spouse living in my backyard--Idaho City!
Brief moral test when I discovered contractor Bill hadn't fully cashed one of last summer's large checks.
October. Carolyn Sutherland's straight, compassionate presentation about health and diet at the health fair was just what I needed to understand last summer's health wake ups, the damage I've done. She checked off everything on the allergy sensitive list. I've overdone dairy, wheat, soy, corn, beans, sugar and caffeine, sweet vegetables and fruits. No more Knee Deep in Chocolate 'til I get it together! Can I do it? Also inspired by (Spokanite) Heather Ming's Falun spirit and faith; how I wish we had a local qigong practice group my speed!
Foot feeling significantly better from relentless hip work. Back walking some, inspecting late summer on the Greenbelt.
Eerie mild fall. Rhubarb on a roll--2 seasons behind--tasty rhubarb scones and sauce. Thrilled when (the one) zinnia from Tassajara I planted in June, opened one yellow bloom just before the big frost! (See photos.) And, the hardly-bloomed-all-summer honeysuckle I evidently planted in the wrong place when I arrived put out fragrant blossoms! Brandywines kept turning pink! Became a tomato hustler, generally hearing a horrified, "We've got Tomatoes!" until Mary Alice and Dena helped me out. (Mild fall also extended the season of "friendly" wasps and bees.) Chard made a comeback; sorrel was unaffected by earwigs.
Still inspired by June stay at Tassajara, enjoyed Ed Brown's Tomato Blessings/Radish Lessons cookbook; online search for the most excellent bamboo grater he raved about. Though I may used it on occasion, Chan of the Wok Inn Noodle, remains my favorite cook, his unimproved restaurant, my home away from home. I keep a yoga magazine and Sentinel in the car for stops there, but often end up reading Local and Life sections of the Statesman or chatting with whoever's there.
Brian invited Tassajara Zen teacher Leslie James back to Boise for a wonderful retreat. The small group I've sat with more often than not the past 4? years continues to learn/wrestle/practice--currently with generosity. Potent food for thought at this time settling mom and dad's estates.
All year long, weekend on top of weekend, Boise individuals continued to invite favorite "rimpoches" from all over the world to Boise--I swore teachers outnumbered students! I'm part of the communication problem--no closer to being at peace with Boise's assortment of sanghas and Idaho's anti community consciousness than ever.
Another warm October weekend, church singles walked around Idaho City. I gnawed semi wild apples. Some of us detoured through an unforgettably colorful junk shop. All prowled the graveyard for hours, studying markers and getting to know each other--we're from Idaho City; Nevada; Holland... Of course ended at the ice cream parlor-- blueberry and coconut were favorites. Before heading home, found high school classmate Russell Hicks and wife sitting down for pizza in their Forest Service home! We'll re-une another time.
Finally had Carla and Joe over one Sunday evening after threatening to do do for literally years! All enjoyed eggplant (courtesy Vineyard garden) parmesan with tomato sauce (local, nat). Now that I rarely entertain, I'm rather nervous!
November. Most excellent floorman Robert Taylor finished remaining downstairs floors. A true Buddha, Robert chipped away by hand at the bathroom floor for three days.
For a few weeks, folks seemed to be making up for missing yoga all summer, and before the holidays hit (well before Thanksgiving, I'm sure you noticed). Enjoyed the energy of full classes. Regardless who does or doesn't show up, I'm always the one who learns and benefits. Ever grateful to have yoga in my life, to help balance body, spirit and mind.
Another traffic ticket. This time under the seat belt diaspora (wonder if that's the right word).
Although I still have the reputation for traveling a lot that was Before The House. Home, home, home this fall. Among other reasons: to defend house from flickers trying to break into the attic vents--halt squatters who don't clean up after themselves. OK to drum on drain pipe, but not OK to excavate and relocate. Neighbor Matt (who can see that side of the house--I can't--says he'll shoot the ___. Gulp.) Homeowning's bloody biz.
I have a house; the house has me. Sure, can sub yoga Saturday, whenever. Still framing and reframing favorite art and photos, obsessively. Found matching frame for Aunt Peggy largest watercolor. Dug up decades old set of small eskimo prints. Decided I couldn't live without hanging old paneled window frames like Tracy's; found pair. They're upstairs, but may end up down. The house has few windows (none on either side). They'd be nice any number of places.
Almost forgot--yet another home improvement under my XL leotards After only 3 years and months of unscrewing and screwing, selected and replaced all ~50 kitchen/bathroom cabinet handles. (Never came up with definitive count.) More sharp corners, snagging and ripping conquered!!
Another rollicking potluck at hospitable Monasterio's party home. Another pot of garden squash soup--the unidentified volunteers are quite tasty, thank you v. much. (One well meaning visitor to the garden warned they were ornamental, casually picking and tossing one aside! Friends!) I, who also aspires to entertain, often have no one show for mere meditations at my monastery! Of course I don't wait on folks with expresso and wine like maestro Monasterio! Dan has The Benedictine gift of hospitality, but doesn't know it!
At Wok Inn Noodle, Chan and I talk books; he also adores music, has a keen, discriminating ear. One Monday night, I brought by the new portable Bose on the way back from community ed dance class. He's built a music center along one wall of the restaurant, atop large Fisher speakers. The centerpiece is his pawnshop AIWA. It does sound good. "Not bad", he gently evaluated the Bose, the toy I'd waited all year to try out in the Hillside cafeteria. I declared it a stunning success in the big room, just like Sue said. Now I can play Gabrielle Roth CDs loud enough to dance to! Chan's Everything Restaurant. Moo shu pork to Mozart.
As soon as I heard Chan's latest set of thriftshop tapes--Christmas Meditation vols. 1-5, I was smitten. It's cheating, but I dashed to Amazon to order used copies, instead of stalking thriftshops, which I'll do anyhow. As they arrived from distant states, played nothing else over the holidays.
Despite the promise of a big turkey gathering in Bellingham, spent another Thanksgiving in Boise. Neighbor Gary and I attended a strange-only-in-Boise interfaith service in the a.m. That afternoon I took brussel sprouts (always a test), cranberries, table and chairs to a first ever church singles Thanksgiving potluck. Strange too, but wonderful. I like meeting ordinary people, seeing if I can get folks sharing, eating brussel sprouts. That evening, moved to the opposite end of the social/political/conversation spectrum with the Unitarians down the street. After asking the hostess' partner about the recent gay clergy debate I'd missed, learned Woody'd volunteered at the Ontario (OR) prison 5 years--my favorite subject! He told wonderful stories and encouraged me without a moment's hesitation. You'll love it--they'll love you and you'll love them, he said outright. Support doesn't get any better than that. Bless the Unitarians for letting me tag along on their liberal shirt tails and bless the conservative Vineyard folks for letting me enjoy their teachers and passion.
This led to meeting neighbor Ron Coleman, volunteer chaplain at maximum security, Vineyard affiliate, and volunteer with Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship. Ron didn't bat an eye when I said I practice and love Buddhist meditation! Hope to tag along with him as well as go in as a student of Buddhist meditation! Allah is good!
Northwest Nazarene University sang The Messiah that weekend. Missed out last year. What I missed this year was my fault. When I noticed someone slip low in their seat, my yoga posture went out the window and my head lay on the back of the seat. Next thing I knew, alumni were pouring on stage for the Hallelujah chorus. Rats! I love the Messiah! So be it; promised to take better care of myself during the insidiously stressful holidays. No more holiday shingles episodes!!
December. Listening to Christmas Meditation CDs was soothing, but early December was survival, waiting to "escape". Seattle has nothing on Boise's weeks and weeks of gray inversions all winter. Seattle's damp and green; Boise's gray and brown. Baked stollen for neighbors, sonnebakkel cookies for Stuart. Thought about mom and how I'm now the family and female elder. Baked another turkey for a potluck at church, but didn't go caroling, having tromped around the lit up Botanical Gardens in the rain the night before. Ginger from church held a tea; mercifully she didn't care that I didn't want part of the gift exchanges. Mercifully too, the mini cream puffs were about my only brush with a table full of sweets this holiday!
Favorite Kodiak thriftshop cranberry sweater with patched sleeves, and plaid flannel pj bottoms became my yoga and daily uniform during gray December (which extends into Jan., Feb...). This fall our fine fitness club supervisor came to her senses, resigned to focus on private appointments. Life is uncertain. The new coordinator ("has a great body" I was told) asks us to work harder than ever. The image of blood from a turnip floated by. Ha.
Holiday collective unconscious sends me wild. Every year I make sending off gifts (like taxes) into an ordeal. All around folks smugly get it done in October. What's stopping me!
Contractor Bill recommended a techy to update the locking up Presario. Returned to the wild retired Marine (at least I'm an honest
A.H., he says) for finishing touches.
The more I read Jung and Laurens van der Post, the more I crave honesty. Jung, van der Post, Christian Science and cook C.C. Chan got me through the crazy holidays, helping me remember who we really are, what's really important. Not a time to look around for answers. "Avert your eyes" has become a favorite mantra!
Did my part to light up the neighborhood. Matt and Tammy have icicle lights on one side of me; Sally's house and yard are decorated. One warm afternoon just as I was about to abandon trying to hang icicles lights across the peak of the garage, Sally held the ladder. Bless her. On a roll, brought home 2 bags of 1/2 price lights from Salvation Army. The weeping plum in front begs lights. If I can figure out how to use the one and only outlet, some year there may be more.
Finally escaped to Breitenbush Oregon for Solstice. Healthy food--too healthy?--no phones, internet or to do lists (outside of
relaxing). As always, napped, soaked, read. Made it half way into Ken Cohen's long awaited, excellent Native American masterpiece, Honoring the Medicine. For whatever reason this year's visitors (including a couple other returnees) connected above average. The Arcata woman played the piano while the widow from Virginia and I tried to sing along. So fun! Solstice evening my stomach revolved--I mean revolted--did both--too much overeating vegetarian food, bread and such. What I'd give for a bowl of Chan's chicken soup! Missed the program, but woke feeling better next morning. Except for Morning Circle with Jamshed, passed on early classes with young community members. Final morning, cameras, smiles and hugs appeared. Hadn't laughed so much in ages. Never got to the stack of yoga magazines or Jung book! While in Oregon, church with Mary; however sense of uneasy fit this time. Couldn't get over all the fancy clothes. For the first time, realized Boise Vineyard might be my true home church. Gulp. Who's changing?
More sharing and laughter in Bremerton, Seattle and Bellingham. Always hustle--a night here, an hour there, didn't even sniff salt water. As I wrote last year, "Never enough time, but then, who comes to Idaho?" Tasty Christmas ham dinner in Bellingham, lotta laughs. We all agreed, Katy-Carl-Gary-Jo and I were all in rare form! A piece o' my heart's west of the Cascades. I'm soft on open minds, "progressive" attitudes and diversity, yet it's good to live inland, where I'm rooting deeper and deeper, like a rhubarb that'll be hard to dig up!
Good evangelist that I'm becoming (I am?), hustled home to church, not realizing a rather big storm was moving across the West. Made it fine, grateful that years of Colorado winters taught me the non negotiable lesson to slow down in snow and ice. Not so, beau coups upside, crunched 4WDs and trucks. Good practice praying. Roads weren't bad, unless you refused to slow down--America's hardest lesson?
Ever on the inner journey, especially this year. Am giving myself whatever time is needed to work through losing final parent. Perhaps magnified because dad died at my age this year. Strong sense each year is a windfall not to be squandered. Laurens van der Post (Jung and the Story of Our Time) says Jung referred to the inner journey as "a far more difficult and urgent journey modern man was called upon to undertake into the unknown universe of himself". While Idahoans kayaked, jet skied and hunted, enjoying the region's natural assets, for months I hunkered down bigtime, much of it during record breaking heat and fires, with thoughts and "pen", squinting at life and death. It fit with the physical journey to align/balance hips that have twisted my walk, feet, spine and shoulders for decades. Slowly standing straighter and stronger. Maybe someday put the old Kelty back on?
Another round volunteering community ed classes--yoga, occasionally qigong, dance. In the new downstairs home space, two very small private yoga classes; 3 mornings classes at Boise's only still family owned fitness club; bi-monthly noon class on Orchard Ave. This fall began organizing, dusting off, looking through Char's old yoga magazines. Reading and occasional workshops keep me studying, if not teaching, yoga full time. I love it (and qigong). Weekly pilates classes too, with trainer extraordinaire Mary Kay. Between Siler's book and MK, slowly getting a clue "Why pilates?", reconciling yoga and pilates. I like a good puzzle. Meanwhile I'm a most grateful small time yogini in progress.
Books. Inevitable this crazed writer would have mini-reviews on a books page. (See my Books web page) The year began with delightful Siberia Bound. Followed by a martial arts story, Way of the River; both Bo Lozoff's remarkable books. I'm fascinated by American Buddhism, particularly as the story of the San Francisco Zen Center lineage. Dropped back in on favorite travel writer and cynic Paul Theroux. Love of the sea brought around Leslie Leyland Fields. Rarely reread--Curve of Time surfaced, magical as ever. Once I started listening to Grisham's The Summons, looked for excuses to drive anywhere! Love a good moral study. Ach, so many books! As contractor Bill said on another subject-- we're so greedy! Amen!
Fetching books and CDs online with a click raises the uneasy subjects of instant gratification and small is beautiful. Painfully aware of losing the battle of living in the world but not being of it. Thanks to excellent teachers and retrieving intuition bit by bit, I understand the painful Truth of why I'm fractured, lack discipline... Simplicity v. toys, one form of spiritual dis-ease. My prayer for the new year is to practice living and eating simply, from the heart; to mend discontinuities between belief and practice into wholeness.
Another year of sometime Saturday morning meditations, sipping green tea, yakking with coffee drinkers still known as Dharma Bums. Tuesday evenings are now "Floating Cloud sangha", since we can't figure where to meet. Returned when the Clouds began discussing Shunryu Suzuki's Not Always So, which I love. Always need Don Ruiz to remind me: "Take nothing personally".
Buddha to Jesus. Singing and studying at Vineyard church. Crave hearing no nonsense truths weekly. Vineyard pastors continue to endear themselves--I'm both deeply touched and tickled with laughter. I've never experienced such outstanding leadership (and I've been told what to do by gobs of folks over the years)! Why does this work? Something's very right. Call church good enough. (Gotta revisit New Thought's understanding of today's talk on John 5:16. Yikes!) For balance, grateful to socialize with Unitarians, Congregationalists, meditators. "Love thy neighbor as thyself", I volley to all camps, especially my own.
Inordinately (to borrow the great adverb from Kingsolver) grateful for Chan's home away from home. Many a Friday or Saturday night I brought book and waited 'til orders died back before enjoying sizzling rice soup and egg rolls. It's a one man/one waitperson show. Sometimes I'm still there when Chan turns off the exhaust fan and brings over his plate of fried rice--to my table, or another. I sense he misses sitting down with a large staff after a full evening. Years ago he had 3 restaurants, lines out the door! Now there are evenings when only 2 regulars stop in! Although he enjoys cooking family style, he graciously serves fiercely independent Idahoans. Missed Chan (and his cooking) so much after Christmas that I phoned and came down the night after new year's with candles, food and left over hot cider. The waitress left. By candle light, we ate spinach dip and crackers, shared respective travels, waiting for the electricity to come back on! Knowing Chan, is like being with Jesus; he has a host of friends. Treats everyone as a child of God; walks the earth softly. He'd argue, of course.
May All Beings Know Love and Peace; Be Feed, Clothed and Sheltered!
Love and Peace,
"Consolation on the Sinking of my Poems" by Leslie Leyland Fields from The Water under Fish
Author note: Nov 1987 a friend's fishing boat went down. Among the lost, 3000 crab, a dog, and 2 boxes of poems.
Once they swim free from the wreck,
they'll like it down there
where they can breathe, move,
slick and elegant as whales.
People will see their phosphorescence
at night, will want to catch them.
It will be a kind of flattery
to be pursued like that.
But they must not be caught again:
Flee the hook, my children!
Let loose your lines, your shackling rhymes
and ride the backs of the halibut,
visit the cloistered sea-biscuit.
Then, as I walk the beach,
come with the alphabet of coral,
in the voice of the whelk
and teach me the language of the sea.
Wok Inn Noodle - home away from home
Chan on the job - Wok Inn Noodle
Chan and Chrstina, Wok Inn Noodle - my favorite table is under photo
Fall along Boise Greenbelt
August remodel - floor raised, hardwood goes down
New yoga space
After remodel - pictures march back up the stairs with vengeance
guerilla style yoga blocks below
6 Heffalumps in CT - September
Never say Never - Needham Hill, VT - September
Balmy Vermont evening with old desert buddies - September
One and only--October zinnia!
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