Saturday, July 27, 2013
I awoke this morning with this question ringing in my ears: When have your emotions led you astray?
If you ever felt hungry, were you not also hungry? If you have felt laughter bubbling up, were you not bubbling over with laughter? If you ever felt lonely, were you not alone and lonely?
Suddenly, so much made sense. In my sixty-six years, my feeling, my emotional state was a true response to the things that were happening—even if I didn't possess all the information I needed, even if a thing had not yet occurred, some odd thing signaled an unease.
Why would I not trust those feelings? Did I think they were flawed intuitions? Rarely were they wrong. I know instantly those folks, men and women, who will become heart friends. And sure enough, that happens. I know, pretty much, right off the bat, what work will work for me. I know, once in awhile, when something is terribly wrong with my family or me. I had a flash about my mom's death, my cousin's cancer before they occurred. I know when it's really, really time for me to leave a job, no matter what. Things fall deeply apart and there is no retrieving them. I know it in my gut. Probably have known for months.
I distrusted those feelings because the scientists in my life thought feelings were mercurical, had no weight or merit. The people in my family, with their very, very smart reliance on what makes sense, have no room for overly sensitive or overly emotional responses. Those do drive people a little crazy. I've worked in education and medicine, for decades. Neither of those disciplines are very good with emotions.
Granted, I can be led astray once in a great while by a good-looking man. But I've also found my way a thousand times by something a good-hearted man has figured out. It bears watching.
Some day I'll talk about my religious or spiritual perceptions, but I'm not ready yet. They weren't what I thought they might be either. A hint: God must be a thousand times kinder than I am, know a million times more about love than I do.
So, my dear friends, when I ask, "How are you feeling today?" I mean it.
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Friday, July 19, 2013
When Everything Conspires To Teach You Everything.
My dad and I were fishing at Cascade Lake. (He was good at it; I was not). We were packing up to come home and stopped by a field of clover, a pasture, full of milky-brown cows and some bulls, just to look at them. I grew up with bulls and cows, but these were mammoth, peaceful, full.
I had a little dog, Tink, part chihuahua, part dachshund, no bigger than a minute. She was amazingly cute, full of pep and vinegar, would not, could not be potty-trained. The world was her oyster. She was also a compete love, taking her naps stretched out on the nearest lap.
She'd been my dog, until I took a long trip and I gave her to my Dad. They became fast buddies, really happy together. My dad could manage her, given her tiny size and her tendency to snuggle. I'd come weekly to scoop up the poop and hose down the carpets. As I said, happy.
So we were off fishing. She'd had the run of the beach, loved the sand, pooped everywhere. She spied the bulls, she spied the pasture, she spied the deep green of clover, and off she went on a dead run. Not knowing the bulls, I didn't get into the pasture. They might have been fine with company, they might not have.
Tink was not bothered, leaping over the greenery, as full of joy as a pup can be, on a rip-snorting tear. She got nose to nose with a massive bull and barked as if her life depended upon it. I waited a long minute to see how that was going to go.
The bull reared his head up, took a little leap, snorted, bawled, and ran away.
That only propelled little Tink onto the next one.
Same thing happened, then happened again.
At the launch of the third massive bull, Tink was finally satisfied with her work. She's vanquished three animals with a combined weight in the tons. A couple anyway.
That little baby girl ran back to us, literally jumping with the pride of accomplishment; eyes dancing, sparkling.
Must be a universal need. To do something grand every once in a while.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
I live on nibbles in the summer. Nothing too big, nothing too complicated, nothing too much.
Watermelon. Corn on the cob. Fried chicken. Food that you can eat with your fingers, foods you can take places, food you crave when it's 103 degrees outside.
Bake these early in the day. Then serve them with iced tea or lemonade.
Here is a note on the recipe. This is a Weight Watchers recipe, with one very small adjustment, however, like most WW recipes, it's more of a protocol for chemistry than a recipe that you can adjust with abandon. Just don't do it. I switched out a couple of ingredients once (only once) and did not like the texture. (Cakey.)
The only change I made was to double the amount of vanilla. You need a really good vanilla. The one with Madagascar in the label.
Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Measure carefully, sift and whisk together.
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups butter, room temperature
Cream these together until they are light and fluffy.
2 large or extra large eggs
4 teaspoons good vanilla
1/4 cup water
Add these to the butter and sugar mixture. After the wet ingredients are incorporated, add the dry ingredients. Finish up by adding 2 cups (12 ounces or 1 large bag) of good quality chocolate chips.
Find a brand with real chocolate. Milk chocolate/dark chocolate? Use your preference. Don't use the substitute chocolate. Good, but not as good, in my opinion.
Mound the cookie dough on the cookie sheet. Make walnut shaped and sized balls, put 12 on a cookie shape. Flatten the balls a little bit, and make sure the cookies retain a circular shape. Bake at 350 degrees for 4-5 minutes, then switch the cookie sheet, side to side, and bake for another 4 minutes. The cookies will spread a bit, and yield a smallish cookie. The cookies will be flat, chewey, with little bumps of chocolate in them. Let them cool 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before you remove them and let them cool further. You can bake them for 12-15 minutes if you want a more crispy cookie.
Friday, July 5, 2013
My dad was a farmer. By mid-spring he was cultivating our fields, turning the dirt over, getting it ready for planting. The sea gulls would trail behind him, looking for worms, finding them. That scent of newly-turned soil was as luscious as spring itself. My brother, a realtor, when he says he's selling dirt, means it in the nicest possible way.
Petrichor, a word I've used before, means the scent of summer rains on dried-out soil. Still a scent that roils the mind. You are just not the same once those scents find their way to your bones.
When you remember it's scents, it means you adore the land itself.
Politics come and goes, and how you feel about that changes too. Money and economies mean different things in different parts of your life. Religion may be a thread that runs throughout your life, but how conservative or however liberal you turn out to be depends on the last good idea and the experience of love coming in a thousand different ways.
The land remains.
Our fireworks are finished for this year. The weekend is still open for camping. We've survived the opening salvos of summer, an 111 degree start last Monday.
But we will love this place, these people, this land and this freedom for as long as the heart beats, and the breath remains.