Thursday, October 29, 2009

Diaphanous Noodles

It first became apparent with Denis Leary, in his comedy No Cure For Cancer. Besides that being hella funny, it hit on how different adults are from children in what is acceptable activity in any place at any time. If I were Shane Rocket or someone remotely adept at splicing a piece of that skit here, I would. Find and view when you can.

But to paraphrase, kids can stand in the grocery store and act as if they were on the playground, swinging arms about, thith-puth-puthing unthinkingly, and show joy or anger at a moment's notice, maybe even in the same moment... those of you with children or have been around any know what I'm saying is true... they are not hiding any emotions when their disappointment becomes apparent by throwing a fit on the floor, even as it escalates to rolling on their side and running in circles, "Curly Stooge-style" and embarrassing the funk outta anyone who knows them.

So, as funny as shit as I think that is, it does spill over, in my raucous mind, into the rest of things I've heard, read, and seen about "child-like" behaviour that we adults have stopped appreciating. I've heard many a philosph(er)(y) likening the true awareness of being to the mind of a child, mainly in our view of things as always new, before the cares and burdens jaded us into such structured modes of thought. Before we decided the us-and-them, I-like-this-but-not-that that makes our lives easier by predetermining our actions, and reactions, to the gifts the universe gives us (even when they don't immediately appear as such).

But beyond this, observe in yourself your reactions to many things, and compare them, if you can, to similar stimuli in child-land. In your hands, can mud and rocks really become chocolate pie? That giant piece of kelp, the whip of the Gods and you, Neptune, running down the beach in your invisible chariot? When was the last time you watched clouds? Not, I'm on my way to the car from work, gee that cloud is cool -- uh uh. I'm talking, blanket out, give it half an hour, look at the shapes-kind of watching. Have you word-smithed lately? made one word into a perfectly legitimate cognate that didn't previously exist, using normal rules of grammar? Or on the freeway, in the parking lot, in the park, called someone a dodohead instead of the other colorful things we consider more adult-like? and are they really?

And when you are scared, can you scream without feeling that you are unnecessarily bringing attention to yourself? Jump up and down, wave your hands? What about crying in public? If you become frustrated with someone, how much more readily do you grin, bear it, and stew on it for a completely arbitrary length of time? Rather than tell them that they are behaving badly, and that you may be forced to stop sharing lunch with them, stop being their friend, and not give them candy at Hallowe'en? Because then, the lost art of laying blame at the feet of the problem shows it's mighty magic: the offending situation is addressed right away, letting the responsible party(ies) deal with it as they will, potentially showing their true colors, and potentially highlighting a heretofore-unknown behaviour that they need to address, and the offended party goes home without the shoulder and neck strain that usually occurs when, as they say, the mind overrides the body's urges to choke the shit out of some asshole who desperately needs it. Justice is served, in either case - you find out who your friends are, or who they aren't... surely we can amend this logic and response to apply to situations with our mates, or bosses, our community...? Who would we be if everyone could be completely real?

I have recently begun a new read on a very old book called The Feldenkrais Method, in which movement holds the key to our conscious - both in having it "written" in our muscles and ligaments, and also how moving can help us deal with emotions. To wit: the child, having been caught doing something they oughtn't, is face-to-face with the authority figure (parent, teacher, man driving the car with the egg on windshield) and is looking down, ashamed, swinging arms like Maypole streamers from side to side, body twisting, possibly stepping from one side to the other - moving to help ease the unease created in the body by being strapped under the microscope, dissected and naked in front of another.

Conversely, now imagine (or remember) as an adult, being called into the boss' office at work, or being pulled over for that emergency three-lane change you did to keep from having to go thru that pain-in-the-ass turn around that next exit... one thing or another - and how still you sat; how you wrung your hands under the table til your knuckles were nearly bleeding; how tight you held your lips to keep your mouth shut; how your guts inside squirmed to make up for how you couldn't; what can POSSIBLY happen to all that energy pent up inside? It has to go somewhere, an outlet - into your joints, your myofascia, your jaw, your neck... and how many other, little, smaller upsets do we experience in our day? They have less impact, but add up. No wonder the 'experts' say exercise is key for not just mental health (the cobwebs really do clear fast) but that it forces your tissues to get these pent-up experiences OUT. Literally.

Which brings us back to playing hard, drinking lots of water (try kool-aid! it makes everything better! especially if you get unsweetened and add Stevia!! guilt-free!!) and eating a gazillion times a day. Let our tongues be stained for an afternoon. MAKE FACES. Buy - and use! - crayons and drawing paper. Take that Sharpie at work and make hats and mustaches on faces in the magazines. Everywhere you go. Develop a signature work! And take some time to scream. By yourself, in car, whenever you can - if you feel like it.

I tell you what, I discovered this whole notion of child-like thinking and behaviour (as opposed to child-ish) a couple years ago, and it has freed me of so many things... I believe my overcoming fibroid tumors and polycystic ovarian syndrome and the related insulin resistance syndrome is due to this one, simple thing. I may not have written a blog about it, honeys, but yes I received just a few months ago a clean bill of health, from blood to ultrasound - a lifetime disease, disappeared without a trace.

All due to the joy (I believe, plus the pseudo-regimen I describe in an earlier blog here) that comes from being 100% honest with the world. No more facades. No more taking stress home from not being present or willing to say things that needed sayin when they needed sayin. As in one of my favorite movie lines ever, from Regarding Henry, "Just say when." Well, like Harrison Ford's character, I said when. And haven't turned back.

Just try it on for a day - see how it fits.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Just for Fun

Here's some shots I've been collecting the last month.

The horses made it into the yard...
I was compelled to rename the place to Spotland Yard in honor of the occasion.

I always love these on my bills. It sometimes seems like an appropriate idea for some people, too. As in, can we make T-shirts?

So whoever thought of chocolate-covered bacon is either a genius, or has a deficiency issue in their olfactory system...

What a comfy dog, Opal!

I call it "Morning Tail." Not nearly as exciting as any other rendition of that term.

And, the sleeping child. Who could resist snapping a pic of an otherwise impossible feat, sleeping at right angles.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What is it?!?

While having a big education about multi-culturalism during my time at a non-profit, there were so many things to appreciate and enjoy about people we hardly get to see in our institutionalised society. So much so that I have fantasies of going to places like India, Japan, Morocco...

But why is there always a flip side? Don't go there, you'll get AIDS... or there, you'll be kidnapped and sold into the slave market. Oh, they don't view women fairly there, oh and there, they hate that you don't speak their language so everyone is rude. Then there are the conditions in which the inhabitants live. Where poverty makes OUR poverty look not so poor. Where people are maimed by their own governments, or killed, through either crooked/unjust means, or sometimes sanctioned. Why, why, why?!? Does it have to be that way.

My shameful optimism just wants to take all the vivid colors, all the beautiful rituals, all the good things that people of means in those countries enjoy... I think even if I had the chance I'm not sure I could visit all the places of my fantasies, for fear of inadvertently supporting nasty regimes. And so I continue living in the sky. Always looking at the beautiful places from afar.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Our House

There was a yellow house.

In this house grew a little boy.

He had great times in the backyard, climbing on a boulder and eating the fruit of the pear tree.

Once he ran into a BIG cobweb in the back and nearly bounced off of it, it was so strong.

And across the street there was a lady, she had a dog named Simon. He was a very good dog.

Simon and the little boy played in the lady's backyard too, it was so big, and there was so much to do for a little boy and a dog.

The lady even had a horse which the little boy rode once, except the horse ran under the branch of a little cottonwood tree and knocked him off! And stepped on him, too! But he wasn't hurt.

But now the little yellow house is gone. The backyard has been cleared, the boulder moved. Four new houses now stand in its place. The lady across the street is gone, along with her dog and horse, her house for sale. The lowest branch of the cottonwood tree is 2 stories off the ground.

This is what it looks like now. And the little boy is all grown up.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lions and Horses and Bears... Oh SHIT!

1) Lions
So yesterday the Grove Girls - which is what we called ourselves from a party invitation and the moniker stuck - were grooming, blanketing, and turning out some very eager horses back to the pasture from being in for three days. One was due to the weather, the other two days were waiting for the farrier, to give all our beauties their manicures. He ended up not showing up either day. So we were giving them back to the wild... more wild than we anticipated!

Clare says, looking up the road/hill that goes up to the far pasture, "Hey, look - someone's cat is chasing a deer." I jumped out of the barn in time to see, running across the dirt road from the fenceline into the raspberries, a deer indeed... followed by a puma chasing it, swiping its front paws at the hind of the deer in an attempt to knock its legs out from underneath. Just like you see in the Wild Kingdom shows. They generally attack from above by jumping and biting prey, I guess something went wrong with that plan.

There was a second deer, who WAS running along with his buddy until he went and got himself in trouble... but he was confused, ran across the road after the cat, so that it was deer-cat-deer, but something must have seemed wrong about that particular order to him, because he turned and ran back across, but turned again and looked after his buddy, obviously wondering what to do? Yeah, that can get pretty confusing, buddy, chasing the guy who is trying to eat your friends.

We saw the tracks in the mud today, and measured from one set of deer tracks to the next... 20 feet. Someone was in a hurry.

2) Horses
OK, so like I mentioned above, we had to take each horse out one at a time, brush it, pick the poop n stuff out of their hooves, and blanket them before sending them out. It has begun the rainy season in earnest, and there is something called RAIN ROT that happens sometimes up here on the horses, and other livestock I'm sure. Wet coats + mildew and mold in the air + warm bodies to help them grow on fur = lots of itchy skin and multiple baths with medicated shampoo. Great if you can avoid it - bring on the waterproof blankets.

Except Monty decided he didn't want to have his hooves picked clean. Spoiled brat that he is, all 1500 lbs of him - he is a jumper breed and extremely tall, and OH SO full of himself. I lifted the first of his back legs - did I mention he was bred to JUMP? - and the little shit kicked me off of it.

It wasn't the typical HOOF to the BODY and... the ribs are broken. Or collarbone, in most cases. Sometimes face, where plastic surgery comes in handy. No, this was quite the angelic-rescue story (and I have a few). Imagine me, standing with my right side against his rear end facing the opposite way he faces, bent over with his leg in my hands - his hock (flat bony part of the lower leg) caught me under the left ribcage, and just... kinda... lilted me into the air, and back two feet. Now, at three feet, we are talkin' - into the back wall of the barn. No good. Two feet - still on the mat, not on concrete or 2x4 beams... better. And to top it off, I did a 180 somehow, whilst flying through the air, only to land on the mat face first, arms out, kinda on the knees for a split second but immediately pretty flat out, limbs and all.

I didn't feel a thing. I got up, and I think he even surprised himself... but, yes, a little discipline was necessary. Not what you might think though. I was surprisingly not angry, scared, or ruffled in any way. Just took him out of the barn and made him do a few circles using the lead rope. He was still flustered from being inside so much. Later on I ached a lot and needed a hot shower.

I did tell the owner that his back feet are going to be pretty dirty until he gets to the trainer.

3) Bears
The farrier shows up an hour early today to trim feet. A day late and an hour early. So absurd it made us laugh. He had to wait on US to get the horses in. Now THAT was funny. We told him about our wildcat story. He said he was going to report it as a sighting to the fish n game service here. They like to know where the cats are, to keep eyes out for missing livestock etc. I guess they may have something to worry about once the deer run out. Like it evidently has in Eastern Oregon, where hundreds of big cats are reportedly killed by the government for overpopulation. Unresearched stories...

He discloses he is a hunter of many a wild beast. We decided to escort him to the back door of the barn, where not ten feet from the door there are large diggings in the soft soil, which is laced with barn shavings and horse poop from years past. That's no deer, no cat. No, he says. Definitely bear. Digging for ants, grubs, mushrooms... this time of year they 'load up' on anything they can find to prepare for the ultimate nap.

Yeah. Bear. Oh my. What if it tries to come after one of the old horses? they are penned up at night like TV dinners! Well, it happens in the movies! And one night this week, about 10 pm, I went to check on the horses but couldn't make it past our little fenced yard, let alone to the barn. Something was watching me, you all know that feeling I'm talkin' about... it was starin' HARD, too, I got the biggest willies... I had to have an escort, just 25 yards or so to the barn door, but damn, it is dark out there, and so many places to hide... not that it helped when we got back up to the house, let the dog out to pee, and it barked a ferocious little storm up. Geez.

Well, out of the frying pan of desert snakes, into the zoo...

Some Cool Stuff...

to make up for the last few blogs that have been a bit lacking in the COOL department...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

This Conversation Has Been Moved to the Trash.

How is it some people find it so easy to trash relationships?

Is it that they are unable to trust or be trusted... or unwilling? Why does someone find it easier to lie to a "friend" - maybe it isn't easier, but habitual. Self-serving. Pre-serving.

And how is it one little questionable interruption in a conversation can turn into a full-blown blow-out? Can a relationship actually end over something so slight, like "I have to get off the phone, my food is burning on the stove..." ???

Which turns into:
"Your food isn't really burning, you took another phone call. "
"No, really my soup was burning and I just spent the last 10 minutes scrubbing the muck out of the pan."
"I may be paranoid, but I'm not stupid. I didn't hang up right away and heard nothing on the other end. Don't you think burning beans makes noise?"
"It might if I had taken the phone with me to the kitchen instead of throwing it down on my knit hat on the dresser in the bedroom. I don't imagine you'd hear anything."

Why the hubbub, bub? If you don't want to make a certain effort, don't tell me one thing and do/think another. And worse yet, return to your original story and think I won't remember what you said a week ago. Or manipulate me into spending money just cuz you want something.

I don't even like your furniture. You can keep it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I'm tidying up my room, rearranging some pieces. I clear a space for my CD player w/ speakers.

Since the CD player is currently located in the kitchen, I walk in to retrieve it.

While there, I remember it's lunchtime and I haven't made lunch yet, plus getting hungry.

So I get the leftover soup out of the frig to get it started warming up.

But the pan I want to use is dirty. I begin washing it, then move on to the other dishes that need washing.

There were to many dishes in the drying rack, so I had to put some away to make room for the wet ones.

By this time I had water etc on the countertops, and so had to wipe them down.

So about 20 mins later, I got the soup in the pan and turned it on, got my CD player, and went back to my room.


Friday, October 9, 2009

I'm painting again!

Not with the oils I enjoyed so much in University, but a little something I started of my own after that.

It's watercolor. First I start with the big pieces, and fill in color...

... then I use various kinds of markers to make details, like so... (uh, obviously not the same picture, but you get the idea.)

These are beginnings, but I have been thinking to get back into it, for what now, eight or nine years? Jumpin' Jehosephat!! What the hell has happened over the last decade? Where was EYE??

Well. No time like the present.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Reprieve

The woman who came out this morning was hit up by me with 20 questions about what was happening to the horses. As it turns out, they are going to another home, yes permanently, but to someone who wanted her grass kept down (!!!! :) :) :)

A save. I wonder if she knows.

Then again, I wonder if she will be able to handle them. They need their feet trimmed, wormed twice a year, their immunizations against icky equine diseases that are traveling around... and from what I heard, she may not be able to get out and catch these ladies once they get hold of some real estate, you hear what I'm sayin?

Alas, unless they get selenium supplements daily, as here in the NW we are deficient in our grasses, they will develop their own set of nutritional issues... why can I never leave well enough alone? I guess because I'm afraid they will not get good care there either. Do I see it as a lose-lose then? Maybe I'm prejudiced that I can take better care of them than most places. So being away from here equals a not-as-good situation.

I think I can be satisfied knowing they may live happy in some little corner of the world that isn't near me.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Vanilla Horses

Isn't it so that when people see dogs, cats, other common animals, they don't think of them as little beings with character and emotions? ... and horses. Much the same? See one munching on a field of grass, it may seem like a more refined version of a cow, or a large sheep. One is pretty much exchange-able for another. You don't know them. They aren't special to you. If they come or go, not only would you not know, your life would not be affected. They are Vanilla Horses.

But not so with these on the farm. Remember when I introduced you to each one personally? (see The Gang's (Almost) All Here) Living with these beautiful animals day in and out has made it's impression on me. I know them, and each of their little weaknesses, their petty annoyances, their secret preferences. Then how could I betray them by haltering them up and putting them in the stall tonight, knowing tomorrow at 8 am they will be trailered away?

You are looking at one of the two newest contributors-to-be for the OHSU study on equine fertility/DNA something-or-other. Remember Lizzy? and her mother Heart? the former racehorses here on the ranch... Sure, they are a handful, and not tame for the most part... they are THOROUGHBREDS and it takes a crazy bitch to even run in those races, this is what they have been bred for. Of course they need a lot of handling, they have come off the track and need to get used to being HORSES again instead of MACHINES. We were working on that...

Well, the owner has decided, since they evidently have some genetic tendency for being EXTREMELY CRAZY BITCHES, downright dangerous even, and should not continue their genes,that they will be donated to this project. Tomorrow we will be only 7 horses. All of us are feeling the loss. I have been weepy all day.

But wait, you ask- how can they be part of a fertility study if it has been determined that their crazy genes should not carry on?
Seriously, I had to write this because it is affecting the Grove Girls here BIG time. But YOU do not have to read it. Just a severe storm warning for the next paragraph.

Because to be a part of this program is signing their death certificate. The girls are put out to pasture with a stud for a while, and whenever it is that they are found pregnant, they are killed and dissected to study the fetus and the mare's reproductive organs. Along with a number of other mares. Other Vanilla Horses.
Perhaps not a bad way to go, considering that lots of racehorses are throw-aways, (see the Alpha Mare blog link on the right) people literally having such numbers that they put them down in mass graves, whole farms of them are starved to death, or they are sold to the slaughter markets, shipped weak and starving to Mexico and stabbed to death to preserve the meat for overseas consumers. So many... faceless, nameless, Vanilla Horses.

Well I'll say this prayer for them: That the Equine Collective Conscious watches over them, and when the time comes for them to join the Fold, that they will bless their kind with their beautiful presence. Continue running in our dreams. Rejoice in serving no one any longer.
Thank you for touching us, and filling our lives with grace. Farewell, my wild sisters.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Misty Oregon Morning

Yes, it is becoming Autumn here, and lookie! Dawning over misty valley...

Then there were some surprises on my way to the barn. See if you can see these: