Artists · Great Quotes · Music · Musings · Nature · Photos

Adventures on a Windy Day

After running errands in the morning the Pirate and I decided it was too warm to spend the day indoors watching TV and vegging out, so we grabbed the dog and went on a road trip.  The wind was really cold, but the air was relatively warm.  We drove to one of the lakes in the Fingerlakes Region and did a little walking in the woods there, the lake was really choppy but it was pretty even in the grey and wind of the day.  After I snacked on Venison jerky I did some Tai Chi by the water.  My hands were freezing, so cold that they hurt.

We stopped at this store just because we liked this truck of Mater from the movie Cars.

I saw this wonderful quote at a shop we stopped in at on the way home….

“Working with clay is not just making pots, but also a kind of music in my mind.  Real audible music is often a distraction from the inner melody.”

~ Jim Kozlowski

This quote is exactly why I never use an ipod while walking or hiking or being out in nature.  I love to listen to the sounds of the world.

Lake in the Fingerlakes Region

 

Poem that came to me in my state of wakefulness on Friday.

For once it seems to be fiction.

Your icy fingers
grip my throbbing heart
it freezes instantly
cracking like the mud
when the desert sun steals its wet.
I exhale in a cloud
the wind whips
the breath out of my mouth
and carries it across the chopping lake
it moves like waves
on amber grains.
I do not breathe again.

I cannot breathe again.

My heart is cold
like a stone
and no chisel
can crack it open.

I was listening very briefly to NPR this morning.  I do not even know who was speaking but he something I loved.

I must paraphrase:
When we write even with so much negativity, even about the ugly and hateful things, the horrible things and the bitterness and aching inside of us, we can only see that as a positive, it is beautiful and creative way to open ourselves up and make something real out of what is happening to us.  It is a way of healing, it is a way of making something good out of the bad things that have happened.  In that moment, I felt that any negative karma I may have accrued for pouring my guts out for the last three and a half years, may have in fact not have been so very negative.  I did truly try write and write and write in order to heal.  And now that the healing is so close to being done, I am ready to move on and write about other things, because now it is a habit I never want to break.

I love writing, it is another way to paint the richness of my soul.

 

 

Cooking · Healthy Eating · Music · Recipes

John Brown’s Body

The Westcott Theater is a small local venue for live music.  It has a wide open floor plan a bar on one side in the back, a place to sell shirts and CD’s on the other side of the theater, a sound booth in the middle and a small stage in front.  It was once a movie theater so the floor is at an angle which makes it good for viewing the stage, but not great for standing all night.  Last night the pirate and I went to see the band John Brown’s Body.

John Brown's Body Lead Singer at the Westcott Theater

 

Awesome horn section from the band John Brown's Body

 

 

It was a great show, two other bands played before they did, one of them was called Doc Apple a fun danceable hip hop band from Rochester NY.  The other was a guy called Derrick Hart, after the show ended he was walking around with CD’s and he gave both of us a CD of a compilation of his music and some other folks.  He came on stage all rumpled and looking kind of geeky but then he opened his mouth and he had a great show tunes voice which he proceeded to sing an a capella show tune style song with lots of F…words mixed in in a unique and surprising way.  It was pretty terrific and getting the CD was an added bonus.

A not so lazy Sunday, after being up dancing half the night, I had breakfast with the pirate’s family, cleaned my house, and walked the dog in the brilliant sunshine.  He was so happy, I swear he looked at me and smiled at least twice.  Now as I continue to prepare artwork to send to an unpaid commission, the new clay Jizo sitting on my table by my side, I have a mincemeat pie in the oven and a pot of one of my long time favorite soups on the stove as I listen to the CD given to me by Derrick Hart.

Vegan Lentil Soup

a cup of lentils
and about 6 cups water simmer for 45 minutes on low

meanwhile in a saute pan, caramelize a diced vidalia onion with three cloves of garlic, browning the onion adds loads of extra flavor pour a little water in and get all the browny goodness out of the pan before you add this to the simmering lentils.

chop three carrots and three medium potatoes and add.

Simmer until lentils are tender about another half hour or so.

add a half a bottle of tamari sauce (5oz altogether) and three sprigs of fresh thyme,

or a tsp of dried thyme leaves, or if you don’t have thyme, herbs de provence work too.

freshly ground pepper

add two large handfuls of mushrooms sliced

simmer another half hour

and a medium sized broccoli crown cook until broccoli is soft

cook until the broccoli is tender.

YUM!!

 

All things melancholy · Music

Here I am.

Today I am weepy.  I sing along to the River and I start to cry.  It sets up my whole day wrong.  It was not a hard day, I worked on labeling children’s art for the upcoming holiday show, because the ESL teacher was out this morning.  I taught two classes, albeit the 2nd and 3rd hardest classes I have.  I taught in the afterschool program too.  I stuck my nosy self into children’s lives, finding out whose clothes are too small, and who doesn’t have any warm clothes at all.  Last week I came home from my Christmas shopping with a pair of pants, two long sleeved shirts and a heavy girly sweatshirt for the little girl that was always wearing boys clothes too small for her.  I bought her hair ties and barrettes.  Her sister tells me Lo eh nah, that is beautiful.  I tell the little girl, no low eh, you look pretty.  She sees me all week and comes tearing up to me throwing her arms around me.  I see the tall and very thin girl who is from Nepal, I check the tag at the neck of her poplin short sleeved shirt, do you have long sleeved shirts I ask her, do you have sweaters?  She is so tiny she is still wearing little girl sizes.  I tell the afterschool coordinator, who comes looking for me, asking about sizes.  I stop in to see my friend the ESL teacher, whose husband is a Lost Boy from the Southern Sudan, earlier this week he spoke at our school.  He kissed me on my check after his wife reintroduced me, I met him at their wedding this summer,  and I told him the first time I ever heard of him is when the X had met him at the local community college.  He remembers him, and he asks me where is he now.  I do not know I say, he left and never spoke to me again.  That is very bad, he says softly, later the ESL teacher stops me and says that her husband told her I am a good woman, and that my X did not appreciate me.  I start to cry.  I spend my life not feeling appreciated by the men I love.  It is a pattern that is vicious.  Brutal.

I tell him, and then I tell her, I want to go to the school he built and I want so much to teach there.  I tell her before I was pregnant I was very seriously inquiring into joining the Peace Corps.  This would be something that would fulfill a life long dream I tell her, I have always wanted to do this.

While my after school kids are making our prints and cleaning up the tremendous mess that goes with printmaking, I overhear one of my students say to another, don’t you like Ms. Gregory.  Yeah, the other girl says, I love her.  Me too, says the first one, Ms. Gregory you are a great teacher, we really love you!  Thank you, I say as I start to weep again.

I stop a little boy when his mom comes to pick him up, I tell him zip up buddy its cold outside.  He stops to zip and the mom says thank you, he would have tore out of here without it zipped if you had let him through the doors (to the cafeteria).  I tell her no problem, I ask her, is that his only coat, (a heavy sweatshirt jacket)?  Oh no, she says.  Oh okay, I say, because we try to make sure all of these kids have warm clothes.  Thank you for asking, she says.  Thank you.  I am glad she is not offended, I really  do care.

I am so weepy today, as I come in the door from work I burst into tears, I don’t know why.  I start to watch Aftershock, the rest of a Chinese movie I started to watch two days ago, before we started to watch Star Trek.  My black beans and rice are bubbling away on the stove, and when I eat them they taste so good, spicey.  But as I eat them the tears are falling, and the movie which is very touching, makes me cry harder.  The dog licks my face and then makes a point to try and steal my food.  Bastard I say.  Selfish. Selfish. Bastard.  Now go away.

I look at my phone a hundred times today, a thousand times this week.  I look and look and all I see is a picture of Meg’s Trail and the time.  All day.  I am not a loner.  At times I am a rebel.  But I.  I. am. not. a. loner.  And yet.  Here I am.  I think tonight, my patience with this is winding down.

My daughter calls me to ask me what I want for Christmas.

A boyfriend, I say, who wants to spend time with me.  I start to cry again.  I have a boyfriend, he just has every excuse in the book to not.  I know what it means and no matter how often I pray for understanding, it comes down to one thing, he doesn’t.

There is really nothing else to say.  And here I am thinking the two most significant relationships I have been in in my life come down to betrayal.  James betrayed me when I needed him most, and Ata betrayed me after I carried his ass for years.

Sometimes it feels like the person who betrays me the most, is me.

I am so damn weepy today.

Changing Seasons · Flowers · Music · Musings · Nature · Photos · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure · Trees · Zen Buddhism

Love thyself….

It is the greyest of days. The breeze is warm and I start a fire in the morning just to take the edge off. The power is out, and I pull out my French Press to make a cup of decaf from the stovetop. I remember that somewhere in my camping gear is a percolator. I should find it. I think. I would rather not have to use the power variety, either way I have to heat the water. Is gas cheaper? I do not know.

I start cleaning, preparing for the upcoming festivities, guests who are coming allergic to cats, I wash every throw blanket and vacuum the furniture, I vacuum the basement too, because that is where I keep the litter box. I need a filter for my air purifier, I cannot seem to find one, like many things manufactured today it had an end date, and then you could not simply replace the filter, you had to replace the whole thing. Which brings me to another activity of the day, my drill/driver was not working because the batteries were no longer recharging. The new battery cost more than a new drill. We wonder why our world in such dire straights right now, even the things we can replace at what should be just a part of the cost and far less packaging must be replaced with new. It is great for profits, but it is unsustainable for the earth. I have at least two repair jobs to do with the drill.

I have been in one of my funks for sure. But suddenly this morning something broke free inside me. It was real and pure. I have this notion sometimes that awareness is like a dream or a dessert, that it only comes on special occasions, it is esoteric, it is fleeting. But that notion is not entirely correct, it is more like the waking world, a plate of pasta with meatballs, and it comes everyday, if you are quiet enough to see it. I have to learn to be happy with what I have. Perpetually dissatisfied, questing, looking and withdrawing. Then the gates open and the ideas are like sunshine in rays from the clouds breaking through the melancholy and turning the sky pink with the pleasant feeling of it. It does not pour in, it seeps in slowly. And then it builds until it is on, just as the moon is rising.

I woke with this notion that half of my problem is replaying this role I took on in the past. I have to walk away from that. Reading all those blogs, people telling their stories made me realize that my experience was not unique. But it also made me see patterns in others that I repeat too. I am suddenly so aware of it. It feels profound.

I feel a sense of joy that has been missing for a few weeks. I have been feeling kind of lost and really stressed out and uncertain of my future. I try to be meditative on my wooded walk but I have been indulging in both positive, dreamy thoughts and some negative ones, replaying old wounds, I keep coming back to trying to just walk. I stop to smell the scar on a big tree that has fallen across the path. It smells like perfume, I hear the sound of the breeze pushing through the dried head of Queen Anne’s Lace. I send a picture to the pirate, I ask him how his hunting is. Later he sends me a picture of the 9 point monster he killed. I go over and raised right I try the liver and onions he offers. I actually LIKED it! It was not as bitter or as gritty as I remember it being. And he breaded it too and I love caramelized onions so much they only added to the wonderful flavor.

I do not stay long, but return to make my own rich venison stew. It is bubbling on the stove as I listen to Joss Stones, Soul Sessions. The house is chilly, but clean and tidy the way I like it best.

Queen Anne's Lace Dried

I soar,
I, tender, hold my damaged wing
Focus outside, focus outside, focus in.
the aperture clicks away incessantly,
how do you take a picture of what echoes, cavernous inside of you?

It is not the treats, it is the meat and potatoes
It is not the numbing
but the raw opening onto this brutal world.
It is not the raging storm without, but the soft patter of the rain within.

I fly over myself, I turn and turn,
eagle eyed, searching for prey below
and then in a breath
I am jumping mouse,
blind and on top of the mountain, at the end of his journey.

It is not the flowers that dance in the summer field, but the crimson and golden leaves, the bare trees, the small buds of before spring, the ambrosia scent of the blossoms, and then the thick green of summer again.

I smell the fallen tree
fecund in its potential,
but what is the smell of dying dry?

The dried up flower speaks.
I stop.
I listen.
I cannot tell you what it said.
But in a puff I understand.

I break open the egg and see that inside is not just the yolk.
The hen warms it,
she sees no change,
but then there is a crack,
and the existing life is revealed.
How does the hen know to sit upon her nest?

The light shines through the clouds,
the sun rises,
but without the darkness and the moon.
There would just be endless light
or endless dark
but how would you know?

How can you return to one, when you are already there?
How can you take refuge in the dharma when you are already under its shelter?
Recognize what is already there.

How can you search outside yourself for love when you already have it like hot magma melting the boulders in your life stream.

Dried Queen Anne's Lace
Changing Seasons · Great Quotes · Movies · Music · Nature · Treasure

Boots or Heels?

It was a glorious autumn day.  And the dog was just as happy as me to be out in it.  We walked along the leaf strewn paths. Typical of an autumn day the sun was hot, the sky a brilliant blue and the wind cold, I alternated between hat on and hoodie zipped and hat off and hoodie unzipped.  At least twice I would swear in a court of law that the dog stopped, looked up at me and smiled the elusive and effervescent dog smile.  I walked for an hour sweaty and my breath rough in my chest and throat.  My full belief in the power of fresh air to cure my stuffy sinuses and still sensitive digestive system.  The pirate and I discussed this last night, we think something we ate last weekend may have been a culprit.

When we were at Scare-A-Cuse meeting Walter Koenig of Star Trek, and Adrienne Barbeau of many shows but my personal favorite, Carnivale, and Reggie Banister of Phantasm, we also meet two young men from Utica.  Of all the booths and vendors at the mini comic-con, the best was that of Cayo Industrial.  We partied with the two men who are the creators, in the Zombie themed after party at the Crowne Plaza, which was playing techno music along to a video homage of George Romero.  Cayo Industrial has a fantastic horror realm (haunted house) in Utica with a strong urban decay theme.  The pirate picked me up last night and we drove the hour or so to check it out.  They have three separate sections, Bio-Shock, Bio-Tech and Revelation.  The sets were incredible and the setting itself, an old factory was absolutely perfect.  We both really enjoyed it.

A quote from one of my all time favorite musicians, Tom Waits, who just released a new album:

“The only way down from the gallows is to swing. And I’ll wear boots instead of high heels. And the next stage that I am on it will have wheels.”

What a lyrical genius.

Here is to wearing boots instead of high heels.

Birds · Great Quotes · Music · Musings · Photos
Copper Abstraction

“Outside the open window, the morning air is awash with angels.”  Richard Wilbur

“The reason birds fly, and we cannot is simply that they have perfect faith, for to have perfect faith is to have wings.”  – Sir James Barrie

The crisp autumn night makes its way into a misty autumn morning, the cold and damp is like a goodbye kiss, it promises to return but will be replaced temporarily by sunshine and warm air, and this day turns out to be glorious.  I get up, my room still warm from running the space heater through a large portion of the night, after I eat breakfast and return to the second floor I realize just how much warmer it is upstairs.  That thing really cranks out the heat.  I look in the mirror and though I have slept long and deep I think I look so old and so tired this morning.  My face is haggard, and my hands when I go to wash my face are stiff and puffy.  Later my face is red and my hair, which is now too long is limp and lifeless.  We all have these ugly days, today is mine.  I cannot even dress myself properly.  I feel like a bird made of iron, my spirit cannot soar, it merely falls with a thunk to the floor, a temporary change of matter.

I dreamed a dream of a window flying open bringing in a blast of cold air.  I am unprepared to go out in the cold to fix it, and when I get there no matter what it is going in the wrong direction I cannot push it closed from either side.  It is just open and out of my control.  It is like the bird.  I cannot make it fly no matter what.  I cannot close this window no matter what I do.  And then as I wonder what this dream means I read the quote that the air is awash with angels.  It is cold, bitter, biting but there are angels there.  Angels who have wings, angels who can fly.  It makes me think of that time in college when I felt a presence comforting me in a time of deep sorrow, and a feeling so strong it was like the words were spoken, that all would be well and in the end and that I should trust in this.  Perhaps if I have perfect faith my iron wings will fly.

Music · Musings

Deathiversary

I know I know, I am better off, but it doesn’t change the fact that I wake up sad.  It could be my imminent period, I know it is coming, it just hasn’t arrived; every hangnail feels like a chopped off finger, even the hangnails of my mind.  This was once a mighty big hangnail.  I forgo mascara it could be the imminent tears, I know they are coming, they just haven’t yet arrived; every unmet expectation feels like the end of my eternal existence, even though there is no end to that is there?  I walk in the pouring rain and am wet from the thighs down as I write this, and I really don’t care.  It feels good to be uncomfortable.  How sad is that.  I take off my steampunk cap and lay it on the desk, ruffling my unkempt and undone hair.  I feel slouchy and cranky.  I look slouchy and cranky.  Thank all the Gods and Goddesses of heaven and earth that I only have two classes today.  Or maybe not, being busy helps me get through these days, though Bill is not talking to me, and the awesome boyfriend has put me on exile this week, for some unknown reason.  I get a massive stomach punch of deja vu and I suddenly think he is going to break up with me today because he is seeing someone else.  Awesome.  See what I mean?  Every hangnail.  And it isn’t even him that broke my heart three years ago.

I am fixed with Crazy Glue.

Sorry about the sound quality I couldn’t find anything else on the later.

Music · Uncategorized

Spotify – It finally happened!!

I have this friend I knew in college.  We pledged the same siblinghood (men and women so not a fraternity and not a sorority) although at different times.  He was cool, we didn’t hang out much but now as an adult I see we could have been much better friends than we were.  We are both sci-fi geeks and we have really eclectic taste in music, which I have only learned through Facebook.   He invited me to Spotify today which is just great because right now I am listening to a band I have never heard of that I really like. As I play more with it, I discover another friend from the same group of people is also on Spotify.  It was a time in my life when I eschewed television, and all I really did was listen to music, read, paint and hang out with friends.  I also watched The Next Generation whenever I could which was a bit more rare, although now watching it on Netflix I have seen the vast majority of the episodes at some time.  I still prefer the original.  One of the highlights of my very eventful weekend was meeting Walter Koenig or Chekov from the series.  The opening note of the Lion King brought me to tears.  To say nothing of the amazing costumes and puppetry!  And dancing with a zombie at an after party.  (she said with a big ass grin on her face).

Anyway.  I am just psyched to have been invited.

This is The Kooks with Petulia:   

Music · Strong Woman

Hitting the Reset Button.

“The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings that you need to open your heart. To the degree that you didn’t understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, you’re given this gift of teachings in the form of your life, to give you everything you need to open further.” Pema Chodron

Wow.  Is all I can say.  What a powerful reset button I am pressing.  I know there is a whiplash effect and it will come to me, but I am finding the reset is needed, and that I cannot leave my meditation practice anymore.  The truth flies in on a witch’s broom and I see suddenly what I could not see before.  It flies back out again swoop.  And I am left here saying  oh I get it now.  The reason I was wound.  I get it now.

I just want to say before I go to bed, one can only imagine that sleep will come, that I have worked my body hard today.  I walked two miles, rode the stationary bike 20 miles, did some weights for my arms, and did yoga for  a little over an hour.  I am starting to feel a little sore.  And I am still a bit hungry, but I cannot help but think that just because I am hungry doesn’t mean I need to eat.  My favorite black shorts were falling off me today, I really needed a belt.

Reset the mind, reset the body.