Sandy

  • My friend Sandy died on December 29, 2018.
  • My grandson turned three on the 27th.
  • Sandy and I had in common a grandson and a granddaughter.
  • The grandson’s birthday party was yesterday on the 30th.
  • Sandy’s funeral will be on January 12th.
  • We are all of us, living and dead on the third planet from the sun in a galaxy on the outer edge of the Milky Way; Though we hardly ever think about it.

Our grandson’s birthday party was at one of those community spaces you can rent. It was wild and crazy, kids running around shrieking. It put me in mind of how human beings at a certain age can be dropped into a group and create culture and language and despite differing vocabularies and maybe appearances “fit in” by just joining the fray. As they went screeching about I thought of them rushing through the tall grass to flush out foul or careening to an undiscovered country while chasing something, or fleeing something.

So, I find myself, in all my sadness and in all my joy, thinking:

What blame is there in this life when we are all tumbling through space and time only trying to find a hand to hold?

But also:

What praise is there when all our consequences are rendered into nothingness except for this:

We have loved and been loved.

nick's 32 b'day 022

Advertisements

Harvest

My garden consists of pots filled with the rejects of small grocers and hardware stores, usually marked down to a ridiculously small amount, to the point that I could not help but be tempted. I grabbed them, put them in whatever bag, or pocket and carried them home.

I am going to have a lot of green tomatoes, the temperature is dipping lower every night and the air has the fresh bite of a Canadian Autumn coming: I will make some salsa.

They feed my soul, or at least the part of me that appreciates the late bloomers. 🙂

harvest

Random Acts of Apples!

I was riding my bike to Value Village (okay how GREEN is that?) and I saw a man picking apples from a tree with one of those long pole apple picker things and he gave me a bag! Not Far From the Tree doesn’t pick fruit in Scarborough, one of the many ways Scarborough is shunned by the Smoke, (note to self: get over it), but this guy told me he drove to their office and donated a bunch of apples anyway! I am making a savoury pie of ground turkey and green apples this morning before it gets too hot!

freeapples

little green apples make great apple sauce and are tart enough to compliment a savoury pie.

Being Wrong

I got in an argument when I was a kid about whether a certain plant was poison ivy. I was certain it was a Trillium that was not yet flowering.  “So rub your face in it!” was her response.  I did. I was wrong. Boy was I wrong.

We all hate finding out we are wrong.  We might enjoy the humiliation of someone else, especially a blow hard being proven wrong or laugh at the slap-stick that a wrong premise can lead a character to repeat over and over. We recognize it because we have all known that often uncomfortable realization.

The thing about being wrong, as Kathryn Schulz author of “Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error” points out, it feels just like being right. Until we find out we are wrong we can feel pretty good.

Then, after we realize we are wrong we might continue to act as if we are right because we think we have too much to lose by making such an admission.

On the other hand we can believe that they are so wrong we have to bring them to justice, or to the court of public opinion, or just remind them, frequently. We can even feel pleasure from this punishing of others for their stumbles. It is unfortunate because we will be wrong again too.

Being wrong is part of being human. How a character in a fiction deals with the realization and all its ramifications can drive a story but in real life, it is an opportunity for us to learn and grow as a human being, and in real life we get lots of opportunities. Lucky thing because learning to be an adult human being is what your all too human life is about. It really is.

 

Nobody loves your compost as much as you do…or do they?

I have spent a fair amount of time during my life being told that nobody wants to hear any of my crazy ideas. Maybe some click counting software figures out my interests and then throws out thinly veiled advertisments for those products that are sort of in-line with said interests making me believe that those crazy ideas are mainstream, but I resist falling for it. I really do. If I have learned anything in sixty years it is that I am not popular, I am not mainstream. I don’t mean that I am counter-culture either, or fringe or edgy. I am annoying. So I stopped going on and on about composting when I was at a parties years ago.

But it seems compost is a good subject for casual conversation. Sheesh. When will I ever NOT be a social pariah?

My Crazy Ideas for 2018

Call me “Sir”. As Supreme Being I Decree:

  • Every seat in government has to be co-occupied, job shared so they can have a life while being involved in governance. That way, looking after the kids, the pets, the community garden, or community market, is part of their lives; so they can experience things that are about being a human being and not just an ambitious grasping jerk. Does that mean things will take longer to get done? Maybe, but they won’t take as long as fixing fuck ups!  Like war, like bad legislation, like inequity, like sanctioned discrimination, like really bad ideas. I heard they are doing this somewhere, Iceland or Greenland, or Paradise Island…
  • Anyone who is  in a position of authority must be referred to as “Sir” regardless of thier gender.
  • Queen Elizabeth the first (not our Queen Elizabeth, the zoo creature and her litter of baby zoo creatures) made a rule that one tree for every 100 acres every where in England had to be maintained.  (She needed mature trees for building ships to fight Spain…) We can do that! We have surpassed Tudor England with Good Ideas We Can Do THAT.
  • We will always have problems when laws and personal freedoms conflict, but lets face it, people are often jerks.  They gripe about everything.  Even a free lunch.  This planet gives us a free lunch when it comes to air and water but we constantly ruin it!  So these things have to be legislated up the yin yang. Because as I said, jerks.
  • Corporations,  and I heard they are now considered persons,  can be HORRIBLE jerks.  They need rules to govern them, rules up the whazoo.  Corporations don’t need thier own armies. Nope.  They can’t be allowed to go into a country and then build a fort with “private security”.  If they are not benefiting in a direct way the people who live there so that the people there have an investment in their presence, they are breaking international law. Period.  Saying you are building a school for the local population and then teaching them to be domestic servants in the hotel you are putting up (totally bulldozing over the local population and their needs) is NOT  building a school.  Unless a gulag is a school. Time was, people welcomed trade. But when its about flim flam, nobody welcomes them. Bad for business really is about bad for people, OTHERWISE IT’S ABOUT BAD FOR BULLSHIT AND THEFT.
  • And we need gun laws, MORE OF THEM, because, again, people can jerks. Lets face it, many jerks are alive today because there wasn’t a gun handy at the time and  I would like to think that where there is life there is hope. We might shop at “Jerks r us”, but we don’t want to live there. Or die there. I realized the other day that there are so many mass shooting in the United States that now they catagorize them. “Church mass shootings, school mass shootings, Walmart mass shootings…” Sheesh.
  • Taking a life is not a good thing.  It will never stop happening but it should not be a reason for celebration, ever.  It should not be the object of any game.  The enjoyment of violence is not something we want to encourage.  It is not how we navigate towards our objectives as human beings on this planet, and anyone who enjoys causing pain and suffering  is to be considered damaged, possibly ill/sick and should be denied employment where violence and abuse would be likely, i.e. the police force, the army and probably some sports.  I recommend cross stitch for violent people. They can design whatever violent scene or sentiment they like but it has to be rendered in cross stitch. I know you are thinking that these are the jobs where we want violent people because “the enemy” is ruthless, bla bla bla, but I’m Supreme Being in this make-believe scenario remember? Nobody gets to have fun killing. End of discussion. Now go and work on your sampler.*
  • As for sports, I find quilting pretty intense so I am no authority but I think it might change the game if commentors made comments like: “Youre right Jim! And that impressive body check he took will mean he will be ten times more likely to suffer early dementia, depression and suicide!” “Danger pay Rex?” “Well I say, God Bless them, they give us our careers Jim.”  “Hahahahahahaha”. The camera can pick out a child in the bleachers who has seen the results of Repetitive Head Injury Syndrome in a parent. 😦  I would imagine competitive quilting and cross stitch would start to look pretty good. Okay, that’s maybe cruel. Cross stitch is hard to do.

I just realized that all these things are pretty much the things I would have decreed when I was six years old. So, just in case your were wondering, no it’s not likely I will ever succeed in becoming “Supreme Being” so relax. I mean, really, I can’t think of anything more unlikely happening…oh wait, ick, this is awkward…

Finally, it was argued recently that things are changing for the better. I don’t know. Talk is cheap. Only when we meet in the field of our own vulnerability, aware of this vibrant and improbable event that is life, when we are just there, not in an abstraction, but in the terrifing, liberating beauty of it, does anything change.

If not now? When?

Happy New Year!

* It seems there really is a program to teach inmate to quilt.

 

humbug

grinchdog

I have always hated Christmas. I prefer Xmas only because it is easier to read and faster to spell. I do like Winter Solstice but it gets drowned out by all the Christmas hoo-hah though I admit, if I actually lived in the land where Winter Solstice was generally celebrated I might hate that too.

Typically I would get super depressed every Christmas. As a kid I was always sick with the flu or tonsillitis. “Way to ruin Christmas, again!” has been the most popular refrain of those around me most of my life.

As a young adult I spent a few Christmas’ entirely on my own. They were okay because often though I was sick  at least I was alone and not ruining everyone else’s Christmas.

As soon as those songs start to fill the stores I feel myself turning into the Grinch’s poor little dog, weighed down by fake antlers and the burden of stealing all the joy from Whoville. I think there are several things I am allergic to or maybe just sensitive to and the combination of these things just becomes too much for my body and mind: Stuff, Guilt, Actual Allergies, People in Close Quarters, The Cult of Santa.

First: Stuff

At a time when we are supposed to think of the poor we are expected, even if we are poor ourselves, to spend money like the lunatic super rich, buying crap that is only meant for Christmas, stuff that will need to be stored somewhere for eleven months (I guess if you are super rich somebody else worries about that).

And then the gifts:

  • The funny, stupid Christmas gifts, ironic sweaters and apparel that will made the recipient look like an idiot that you bought because you were overheated, overstimulated and totally exhausted in a mall, therefore NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR USE OF A CREDIT CARD.
  • The designer/decorator’s fetishes, really useless, mass produced and guaranteed to be a faux paus next year: CRAP.
  • the GIFT that condemns you to the horrible, sinking bog of eternal Christmas failure, the “what were you thinking when you knew I really wanted fill in the blank.” Even if they don’t say it, you can tell. You have offended, disappointed, or finally proven you couldn’t possibly love, them.

Second: Guilt

The hypocrisy is, like nutmeg, almost imperceptible and yet a fundamental ingredient at Christmastime. The people who beg are just as revived up as you and I are about Xmas, but unlike us they need money so they can escape the reality of maybe DIEING. They need our money but we know it’s not really our money. It’s the banks money. The bank likes us for now because they think we can continue to pay the interest on what we owe them. That’s the big difference: “There but by the grace of  Master Card go I”.  Yes I know there are other differences; people who beg might know people who know where to buy opioids on the street but they might have good reason to know this and we might still have friends and family who still have reasonable lives who will take us in on Christmas.

Third: Actual Allergies

I think I have actual allergies to the stuff I eat over the holidays that I would never eat any other time of the year at least not in those quantities. If I do not have hives at least once over the holidays it is a Christmas miracle.

The Christmas hives started as a small babe with beautiful angora hats and mittens lovingly knitted by my mother and placed on my cherub head and hands. The continuous rubbing of angora into my red annoyed skin, especially my nose and eyes, ruined every photo of me at Christmas as a babe. I am quite sure they have all been destroyed. *guilty*

  • Fruit cake with the supernatural bright green and red cherries.
  • Cigarette smoke from visitors who drank lots of alcohol and sometimes gave me a sip
  • Antibiotics that were, to my parents relief, readily prescribed without question by any doctor if I had the slightest temperature.

As a young adult I consumed many things that were not good for me. I started smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. When Christmas came each year I added eggnog and pot to the mix, oh and boyfriends. I don’t know which gave me the hives.

Fourth: People in Close Quarters

People are stressed and they drink too much or not enough and they say and do things they shouldn’t and the best that you can hope for is nobody remembers too much about it come the next seasonal get-together.

Lastly: The Cult of Santa

My dad used to say, “Santa, what an old fooler!” Children know. Oh yeah, they may buy into it for the presents at first, but they don’t really commit, not most of them. Every year a few get caught. Santa knows it’s a numbers game and he has to get out there and try to pull in as many as he can but like all pyramid organizations it is a select few who really get what they want for Christmas, the rest just keep flogging the Santa message, hoping beyond hope, all the while staying hopped up on sugary treats. I know this. I was one of them.