Greetings from Idaho!
Another holiday season! Time to get out the ladder and replace the dead section of lights I never dealt with last winter. While others charged off to the mall the day after Thanksgiving, I propped up in bed on "new used" magnetic pillow and opened Fragments of Grace. Woke with glasses still on (no reflection on Fragments--my choice for learning about "South Asia"--remarkable book). Listening to Nadine Gordimer's The Pickup simultaneously (in the car) makes for a good short course on Islam.
SHORT FORM 2004Jan. g Same snow waiting when I got back from Seattle the Sunday before New Years L Long, cold, gray inversion continues L Miss stars and moon L Beautiful, fresh light snow T one Saturday J Scanning Hemphill history :. Snowy yoga retreat. Prison w Bill!
Feb. h Snow still here L Gospel workshop #2. Mexico - rain when I left, rain on return, snow gone J Blind Boys of Alabama J Philip Glass evenings with Chan at Wok Inn Noodle J Pen pal! Dead Drs in les bois
Mar. i Judith Lasater workshop. Memorial return to Illinois. VT sugar shack, qigong [ Professional haircut with Carla!!! Homeowner assoc.
Apr. ^ Overdid Easter. Retreat with Larry and Peggy.
May _ 40 Days of Purpose K Gardening. Folklife; Breitenbush; Puget Sound campsite. JJJ
June ` Gold panner! J Church camp out J Prison alone! J Garden.
July a Bear Valley paddle. Garden. Fiddle restrung; bows rehaired!!
Aug. b Prison Fellowship training, Workshop and friends in Canada J Garden.
Sept. c Travel Q Tassajara & Colorado; Degas sculpture/ William Morris glass JJ Completed yoga project J Neighbor's apples start dropping... more gardening.
Oct. d Writing workshop. Travel Q New England [ I Ching. Meditation w Leslie James. Ceiling fan up; hot tub fixed! JJJ Tomatoes ripen. Apples, apples, pies, pies.
Nov. e Home ?? : writing J Red state blues L Sunday nite car camping JWorld community for christian meditation. Apples freeze. Chiropractor. Email photo of dad as pilot arrives Thanksgiving.
Dec. f Home. WA/OR visit.
" MISSING this year: spanish class, raft trip, hive/stings; long stretch of heat; hospice
> SAME: yoga ( fewer classes, community ed defunct); book club; Prairie Home Companion; Red Green show; church; Blue Bunny ice cream (no Knee Deep in Chocolate this summer; BB's not in Seattle!!!). Pies by Donnas at Volcanic Farms produce. Adjusting pictures and frames. Brandywine tomatoes. Mind and body fed at Chan's; hot tub--sigh.
M NEW! Prison regular; fiddle fixed; homeowner board
& Wild Ivy; Theroux's Dark Star Safari; Gordimer's The Pickup; Constable's Fragments of Grace; book club - Kubler-Ross autobio; Life of Pi;
N Worst new addiction: cheetos
Winter - Boise home front
Experiment in night photos, with the new digital camera
Wok Inn Noodle regular Dane
Chan's entertainment center in background
Vineyard garden harvest food bank bound
Scenes from Vineyard garden
Posing with crazed master gardener Dian (R), openhouse Sunday
Thanksgiving. Ace pie makers - Las dos Donnas
Donna (L) primary baker, embroideror and gardener
Donna (R) XLNT Mexico tour guide Señor Don's esposa
Camas-filled summer meadow
Payette Lake, McCall - October writers retreat
March. "Hemphill" house, vintage 1870s, Jacksonville, Illinois
owned by Don and Nancy Jolly since ~1982
Acadia Natl Park, OctoberJanuary. Notes say lotta old snow. Recall laughing because it snowed so many Sundays it was a joke at church. When it didn't snow, a gray overcast/inversion hung over Boise, everyone's excuse to be crankier and sicker than ever! I didn't think missing stars and full moons, week after week, from hot tub soaks was very funny. No watching Orion move overhead this winter.
(UNCONSCIONABLY) LONG FORM 2004 (no one has to read it but me)
Headed into new year with digital camera (another surrenderer to tech world, December). Took class. Bumbling away fairly happily ever since--not with sunsets though--ugh. If I applied myself to learning Spanish the way I do to the computer, I'd be hablo-ing.
Deep snow, ice sliding off roof during Idaho City weekend at B&B reminded me of Colorado. Terrific history tour by retired judge Byron Johnson decked out in period top hat and tails.
Turned inward, reading and scanning copies of grandfather Hemphill letters from Jim Hemphill--correspondence about Scotch-Irish Hemphills. Haven't been able to tie the line of Hemphill brothers that came over, with anything on the web yet. Studying those charts and letters, for the first time realized I'm linked to many, not alone, as I often feel.
Friday or Saturday evenings, enjoyed moo shu pork at Wok Inn Noodle, book or Christian Science Sentinel handy, sometimes chatting with fellow regular Dane. Stayed after closing, listening to Chan's latest thrift shop record, or swapping books/authors. "Met" Philip Glass after all these years. Experiencing Chan listen to Glass/ Ravi Shankar collaboration on his most excellent (pawn shop) music system was unforgettable. Chan's passion for music is only equaled by his passion for art, which I understand even less than music.
Chan's my best pie appreciator. Always take him a slice or bowl of whatever I bake or stew. If he doesn't like what I bring in, he passes it on to the bar folks at the Navajo next door, who stagger in to order chicken wings from time to time. (He sure didn't like fresh apricot pie when spring came!) He's is a primo cook, perfectionist; "Too sweet" he sometimes says. By the end of his long days, though, he generally appreciates anything. How he stands all day I don't know; his 6 decade old body is as light and loose as a teen's! It was a difficult year for Chan, running the restaurant solo much of the summer, until a former waiter moved back to town. (Tried my hand at pinch hitting as waitress-- disaster for all.)
After years of wanting to visit prison in some "do good" capacity, got through hoops and found regular who welcomed me to accompany him into medium security monthly: Thich Nhat Hahn practitioner Bill Woodall. Since I can't get in to share yoga--yet-- Buddhism it is. Whatever.
February. Escaped same old snow, mid month, for México una semana (all the Mexican food I can survive). Old Illini buddy George Fredericks went south too this time; he began classes de espagnol after a stay in hospital!
About now, after years of being interested, acquired via Liberation Prison Project, CA, a buddhist prison pen pal, who's the light of my life,
March. Back to back travels. Sudden trip back to hometown, Jacksonville, Illinois. Can't figure last time ~25 years? Brother Scott organized headstone memorial for mom. Deeply touched so many folks came out on a bitter cold Illinois afternoon to greet us, share stories of mom. So much so that my head spun with thoughts of returning to roots. Loved seeing folks who knew family, touring house we grew up in. Good, rare, chats with brothers Stu and Jamie. Took opportunity to snap pictures of Hemphill-Smith headstones around mom, dad and dad's parents. Roots!! Now in touch with more classmates and real resident Charley F.
Trip east--qigong workshop and visit with Nancy and Alan to working maple sugar shack--grand, though overshadowed by 48 hours in Illinois.
Attended homeowners association meeting knowing I'd be willing to get involved. Appreciate our subdivision of modest folks content with basic small homes. Board member at large.
Dead Doctors/nutrition evangelist Joel Wallach spoke at the Holiday Inn one evening. Couldn't miss an opportunity to hear this salt of the earth veterinarian turned health missionary from my root region, Alton, Illinois, whom I heard on a thrift shop tape. So empowering, so hilarious. The Ralph Nader of health in my opinion.
April. Overdid Easter at the Vineyard, participating in "everything": walk to U, evening seder service (4 of us danced; got so nervous I'll never do that again to the leader); our small choir sang at Sunday dawn bonfire and morning service; even ate pancakes with congregation this year--oops, not exactly, took plate back outside to stand around bonfire. What a church. However, never again, so many rehearsals.
May. Early spring Dian rousted us out to begin preparing the church vegetable garden, doubled in size. Bill gathered a grand crew at Boise Rescue Mission, several of whom still man the grills for Feeding Gods children every Sunday. Met with several 40 days of Purpose groups. Enjoyed getting to know neighbors; appreciated Rescue Mission group best. Endured book. (In my opinion) it pales in comparison with books like Rolheiser's Holy Longing or Nouwen or...
Annual Memorial weekend pilgrimage to Seattle/Oregon included Folklife, plus Portland's Chinese garden, camping on Puget Sound the closing hours of a clear stretch of weather.
June. Relocated sleeping quarters onto back porch June 23.
Sometime over the months, Chia invited me to tea! Turned out she's a musical folkie and planted the seed and kept after me to dig out the fiddle. She practices, keeps rhythm, knows standard dance tunes. Eventually ordered strings, had bows rehaired; no excuses left...
Wed/Sat mornings at church garden. Tagged along on fun church study group camp out in Bear Valley.
When Bill suddenly quit going into medium security, continued on my own. Big sounding decision, turned out ok. I seem to relate better to locked up guys than to "normal" folks, what ever that is! The guys and I have a few things in common.
July. Mornings, sometimes cooler evenings, in church garden--weeding, picking lettuce, spinach, then beans with Dian and others--a pleasure. Another Bear Valley kayak camp and paddle with outdoor club; stayed upright this year. Back camping Sunday nights near Sage Grouse reservoir, reading and writing. This season's special was a front row view (although end of daylight) of coyote leaping and hollowing in the meadow!
August. With feet and hips sturdier this season, joined outdoor club on ridge hike above Snow Lake, followed by dip in heavily over loved lake. Puffed and panted severely, not quite as bad as one of the companion dogs.
Having admired dancers and Degas since kidhood, made sure to seeing Degas' little dancer sculpture/exhibit at Boise Art Museum, twined with William Morris glass. Such an ecstatic afternoon that I vowed to return in Sept. Don't "do" art often, so when I do, what a treat!
Bumper year for fruit, neighbor Sally's apples began clonking on the shed, while I slept on the back porch.
Birthday surprise--letter from old Spokane friend Anne Edmonds after years of silence.
Road trip north to Alberta to restorative yoga workshop; camped and met up with old Illini buddies. [See travels page]
September. Jetsetted/flew to San José for Labor weekend at Tassajara Zen Ctr, enjoying Paul and Christina's hospitality en route. End of month: Colorado--visits, Lorrie's birthday, fall aspen. (See Travels page for more.) Oregon spiritual source, Living Enrichment Center, folded. [See Travels page.]
October. First writing workshop--McCall; new friend Sandy knew of it . Hmm. By the end of the month, Sandy had dropped out of my life to finish book. Bittersweet taste of friendship, reminder of impermanence.
Final fall trip: East to ask the I Ching for assistance making peace with the notion of returning to Illinois. Hexagram 24: Return, did so. Camped along coast of Maine. Visited CT cousins. Standing qigong again, what's with right shoulder? Started ~monthly choir rehearsals for Cora Jackson's (awesome Seattle gospel composer/director) Concert of the Cross. It's a gift to be in Cora's presence.
Perfect Halloween meditation on Hungry Ghosts with Tassajara zen teacher Leslie James, raised in Twin Falls. After facing the Log Cabin Literary Center wall awhile, turned cushion around and gazed at rain bouncing off gold leaves. Fall day too beautiful to turn back on. Life would be easier if I heard the same drummer. Last March Ken Cohen suggests meditating minds should be like blank walls, not necessarily "facing" blank walls. I've always questioned sitting with backs to each other, especially in prison! Since Bill left, we no longer do!
November. Strange mild, damp fall, inversions over Boise began early; returned to car camping Sunday evenings, away from town, in hopes of seeing stars. One starry night noticed faint clouds flickering when I got up (no color). Taste of Aurora. Cool.
Learned not to overdo Easter. Now I'll know better than to get snagged into being in the adult choir of a kids' play. Only a parent should... "Dr. Goodheart's Christmas Cure" was delightful, but watching motley little darlings that can barely be seen or heard, night after night after night after night, missing all other seasonal possibilities, is not for me. I have such a bad attitude, I might do the director (whose attitude is in the ball park with mine--humpf) a favor by disappearing. If I survive, I promise myself no more kids plays. One by one, adult choir slipped away, leaving me wondering who has "issues"? Touchy volunteer that I am, might disappearing and creating excuses be related to not wanting to be told what to do?
Benedictine oblate Paula, who I met last summer, buying a tv from my unitarian neighbor, the trader, wants to establish World Community for Christian Meditation here. Best Christmas present I could have was to meet others interested in interfaith meditation at the intro evening.
Thanksgiving--Not many laughs, perhaps due to the war and election. What I'll remember longest is opening an email to see a photo of dad in flight suit with arms around buddies ~ 1943, kicking off correspondence with military historians and dad's flight mates. Kinda erie seeing notes in his handwriting about a chapter of his life closed to family.
December. Enjoyed hearing Cort Conley update his fine book Idaho Loners one noon at Eagle Public library.
Heading to Breitenbush and Seattle vicinity for solstice, with unopened copy of Hazelton's biography of Mary (ordered last summer), pile of unread yoga magazines, books on tape. Even when it comes to things I "can't wait" to enjoy, the lag time grows and grows.
Inner journey continues. As Jerome monastery monk Selby put it at the World Community for Christian Meditation gathering in November, I should have been institutionalized. (Then I could have complained about that experience rather than complaining about living in the world!)
BOOKS. Lots of good reading, beginning with more van der Post last winter, continuing through God's Secretaries (complete with the London plague).
BODY. Except for a noon class, yoga classes down in number and attendance (esp at fitness club). Community Ed has more or less folded. I'm a yin yoga student in a yang society. Not a lot of interest in yoga other than as exercise--not my niche. Put home classes on hold last spring; recent interest in reviving Thursday evenings. I'm grateful for the folks who show up to keep me involved, learning and practicing. I try not to worry and fight trends--the right people will appear; all is as it should be. I'm not in charge & I don't know the big picture. Breathe. Like a predator, I'm always looking for folks to share qigong warmups with!! If only John comes to "the club", we do qigong; or neighbor Gary pops over.
Yoga--like sitting like a mountain in meditation--challenges my body and breath big time, not to mention presents golden opportunities to learn, understand and practice relationship. Realized pilates is way beyond me! Finally phoned Betty's beloved chiropractor for help with shoulder. Dr. A is just the ticket, helping retrain shoulder and neck, held wrong since elbow break 30+ yrs back! First feet woke up, then hips, now shoulders; maybe neck next year!! Brain ahead?
MIND. Challenged by going into prison. Usually, fun. Mediation and buddhism help me observe compassionately, I hope, and plant seeds. For sure, I learn. "Sadly", I know where the men are. Luckily I know that's not mine to judge. What a practice--love, not judge.
Writing, writing, ever my "Knee Deep in Chocolate" fix.
SPIRIT. Church - Still fulfilled and challenged at the Vineyard; incredible leadership; lotta fun. Any church, anything, that can get me there week after week, year after year, has something figured out. We "fight" for seats in the front section! Continued to drift more out than in of buddhist circles; what would I do without buddhist teachings and silent meditation. Gospel singing at any opportunity. Nature - Occasional greenbelt river walks; love slipping off to car or tent camp. Qigong - my anchor is Ken Cohen's Taoist teachings on integrity and learning from nature/harmony with and respect for environment.
Prison, death and religion are my favorite subjects. If you know anyone willing to talk about these, point 'em my way! Tell me your stories!
COMMUNITY. Still big challenge, Idaho. Not sucha good fit, too comfy to leave... What would I do without Chan's Wok Inn Noodle, hub of food, culture and conversation! Connecting via subdivision board.
FAMILY. A year of exploring deep family roots, bringing warmth up from the past. Since mom's death, enjoying email exchanges with Ohio brother Jamie. Delighted to visit east coast cousins again this year. Looking for opportunity to revisiting Tucson cousins.
Lao Zi, Dao De Jing, Chapter 40
May All Beings be free
May All Beings be fed, clothed and sheltered
May all beings know peace
From Wu Jing-Nuan's Yi Jing Hexagram 24: Return
Turning back is the Dao's motion.
Yielding is the Dao's usage.
The ten thousand creatures are born of being.
Being is born from non-being.
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