For Connoisseurs Only

Today marks a special ritual in my life and in the matrilineal line, for which I am grateful. One of my sweet memories of Mom was fruitcake making and for some reason I took in the particularities as well as the product. She was an ace and ahead of her time, preferring less candied fruit and lots of nuts. Other than this I have no cooking aptitude or interest.

I have taken this art form further and this year I am sure will be a high water mark based on the scents of the day. My son just won an award for a marijuana extract and I believe my fruitcake should match the equivalent quality of his Banana Split - though I have nothing to base this on. Naturally I am too soon counting chickens because the eating will wait for months (except for one tiny piece).

fruit and nuts only

A week ago I began soaking my own dried plums and apple leather, orange chips I make of thinly sliced and dried oranges, organic dried figs, apricots, and cherries. No candied fruit with the exception of ginger. Sister Joan gifted me a bottle of her own cherry brandy which bathed and plumped the fruit.

Then today was baking day, and I only ever loosely follow recipes but nothing said to do it Mom’s way which I chose to do. After combining the fruit and nuts in my largest bowl, think bread making, I covered them with the dry ingredients - no wheat flour, rather mostly almond flour, then stirred in the wet. The aroma of freshly shredded nutmeg, and pulverized cardamom, cloves and cinnamon was exquisite.

fruit, nuts, dry ingredients

The most tense part of the operation is the baking since I’m completely unable to follow time when something is in the oven - I forget about it. I set my phone timer forgetting the start button. So I believe they may have been ovened for far too long but because there was so much excess liquid due to the brandy dowsing, I think it kind of worked out, darker on the top than usual, but OK.

They are now shrouded in muslin to hold the brandy soak in place, and are tucked into their little beds for awhile.

Tonight I rest knowing that all is well with the world, Banana Split and Mom inspired fruitcake.



Earned Anger

As our so called leaders lurch around in crazyland, I sense the rising of women’s anger, not mine alone, thankfully, and pray for the possibility of using that energy to grind into action, to begin to wear down the thousands of years of oppression and masculine self obsession, to chip away at the calcified ego structures, our cages, that bind us and the very earth in hostile shackles.

The most recent book I’ve come across on the topic is Eloquent Rage - a black feminist discovers her superpower by Brittney Cooper which promises to be engaging an enraging.

SoulCollage activity has been pretty fierce recently as the rising feminine is bursting on the scene.




A New Start

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Mira has fled the scene leaving me to my own collage devices and so in her absence I think I’ll do a little housekeeping on the website, a snip here and there, update some things, and attempt to transplant the Evolving Reflexions Blog here.

This first post is a trial balloon.

It would be very cool if a comment appeared so that I could see if that works, unlike old Boggy Blogger.



Flying Crazy

The past couple of days there have been great honking festivals of geese in the valley below flying in erratic, helter skelter patterns, sort of circling but not getting into the usual V formation. This morning after quite a hub bub they did eventually head south in a sort of loose herringbone pattern.

And this has got me thinking about the mad king Trump who seems to be flying in  ever more erratic patterns and the possibility that perhaps he is victim of some strange energy over the land. I know, I know, he has a long history of wacko, but I say it's gotta be miserable to be in his skin. 

And now with the pressure really on he could go off in some scary directions, which is probably the unsettled feeling I'm having.

Then I came across this reassurance at the bottom of Pam's email:

LIFE IS sweet as a strawberry and TERRIBLE AS A TRAIN WRECK in the same moment and OVER AND OVER AGAIN just get used to it.



No Relief

I would like to report nothing but election jubilation at this household over all the colorful women elected to the House. Can you imagine the house cleaning that they face? That's why the job is going to women.

But alas I awoke yesterday to an emotional meltdown that didn't feel personal, that I can't even put into a story of umbrage, more as if it is impersonal energy flowing through me.

Luckily the Come Together event was a huge distraction and a wonderful joyous gathering of people, food, music, and generosity, right down the street. My knitted items all found good homes, and the woman who purchased my knitting lessons is a neighbor I want to know better, so all is well in Bayside.

I'm beginning to sense that the crux of this emotional weather is to understand it as exactly that, weather, in this case storms of rage, anger, and sadness.

Today I am feeling the relaxing of personal interests, a tenderizing of the heart that feels the pain and suffering of others, appreciates the sun on my face as I write, and does not know and cannot know what is happening.



What's Wrong with this Picture?

It's November in Humboldt County, and drying laundry on a sunny November day is just wrong. 

And after listening to Noam Chomsky, wise elder, it's really hard not to see everything else that is wrong as well.

I know, I know it's election day and I'm distracting from it because of election PTSD. Got my knitting ready to click away and definitely no champagne in the fridge this time.

Goddess and angry, raging, fierce women of every sort be with us today and from here forward or our asses are really cooked.




Watching what I do next always surprises me. Having dropped many activities, rowing, tango, painting, even Mira has taken some sort of a long vacation, I'm doing less, which feels right, less rushed. 

But other things always appear, and knitting seems to be the latest, rising from the ashes of childhood. I knit a poncho shawl thing last year that I wear a lot and get constant comments even requests to knit, so decided to knit for fundraising auctions.

With knitting the fingers are busy, the mind is at rest. I like to do simple projects but play with color and design within that. There's no pattern for these shawls.

Going live on Wednesday at the Bayside Community Hall fundraiser with several projects and will see if there's any response.

Oops, just realized that there are a couple more that I handed in and forgot to photograph.

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Her Way

In these times that are highlighting the age old second class citizenry of women not only as a group but also as individuals who dare to transgress culturally imposed norms it is refreshing to see limit busters, whose in your face action, even anger, are willing to step out despite ridicule and be ferociously themselves.

Allie Keiffer is one of those women. There is much to like about her and this article in main stream journalism. More women are confronting the cultural myth that only by diminishing our physical size and emotional expression are we acceptable.

Then there's my latest read on female rage and anger, excellent so far, Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister.

This is feeling more personal to me in that I've recently abandoned tango because I simply can't participate in the misogynistic culture any longer though I love the art form. When title nine comes to tango, I may be back. 

I long for an egalitarian, improvisational, creative dance expression which I found in my class in Berlin but which I cannot find in the American version of Argentine Tango even in liberal Humboldt, Portland, or Berkeley where sexism and ageism remains alive on the dance floor.



Civil Discourse


Today my sister was interviewed on a national morning program on CBC radio after she wrote a letter with a perspective based on a program from the prior week. Not only did they interview her but brought in another perspective and let them reflect together. 

The topic was organ donation and recipients expressing appreciation to families of donors. Our brother died eleven years ago and we've never heard anything from five successful transplant recipients though they all have our contact information. Joan expressed her feelings about this.

It was a beautiful connecting time for all of my sibs around this hard subject. And for me in the USA there was another aspect to this that I found to be profound which was the level of discourse, of listening, of respectful yet probing interviewing with enough time given to each side to afford a deep conversation. It made me wonder, when you have this kind of conversation in the public domain on a daily basis can it make a difference to civility? Bravo Canada for doing things like this so well. Brava Joan!

The episode can be heard here starting at 46:33 on the full episode.



Unique, not Special

Last week I had a moment of inspiration, a little "piph" that came seemingly out of nowhere that has a relaxing, releasing sort of impact that I appreciate. It was a small voice of knowing that said - "each of us is unique and this is different from special"- that feeling of needing to standout in some way as being better than. 

It feels like a moment of truth that has been accompanying me and freeing me to enjoy the peace of some ordinary events like an ukulele practice and community events that were sweet, that involved a lot of volunteer input where all contributions were necessary and acknowledged. A time of peace and community, and seemingly it took my noticing it to appreciate at a certain level as something to treasure in a new way.

Here's a unique band at the Bayside Breakfast, mandolin, sax, and violin - only Greg Moore could pull this off.

Appreciating these uniquenesses leaves me satisfied, feeling a rightness with what is, exactly as it is, nothing needs to be added.



Hmm, That's Strange

Something strange is happening in my world. I've clearly been in a state of turmoil over political and environmental situations and like many things in my life, I fall into a deep crater but emerge almost as quickly.

I have simply lost faith in our system of democracy and capitalism both of which are not capable of bending the global warming curve in the next ten years. I believe this country is a huge negative force on the rest of the planet and sad to say that it's bringing down the whole house of cards with it.

But the strange thing is that by working my way through the turmoil to get to this summary which is significantly more fleshed out than described here, I've ended up at a place of peace.

I am excited about the idea of a more direct form of democracy that calls for more participation than elections, actual, real study and policy making and would love to participate in such a thing but in the meantime will settle into my community and see what possibilities arise.

Working on our land, garden and orchard, harvesting, canning, prepping is making me feel satisfied with these basic activities. Giving up tango has been resolved, there is no more sting and it is right. Clarity is coming at a time I least expected, clarity on personal priorities in the midst of ever greater confusion and external upheaval.

What a momentary relief!




We need to stop pretending we live in any kind of a democracy. We don't have full suffrage - which is diminishing each election cycle, don't even have full representation with the paternalistic electoral college, corporations own the candidates, the media is road kill at the edge of the whole crashing mess, and the judicial branch is partisan and lacking in judicial comportment.

The important realization is that neither capitalism nor our current Corpocracy are compatible with our short term HUGE problem of facing our fast approaching Climate Tipping Point. 

We need to change our story - the fundamental belief that unending economic growth is either desirable or sustainable. It is not. We need a nature aligned story that is grounded in Thriving over Growing. Cancer grows unremittingly, but organisms thrive in a balanced ecological system. We can learn from Indigenous cultures and by using our own group wisdom to create sustainable systems. There are experiments in democracy occurring in small ways across the globe that need our attention and we the citizens can be empowered to use our combined intelligence to lead our selves out of this quagmire which corporations and owned politicians are not willing or able to do.

I'm just going to say it - the Constitution is a piece of writing created by a handful of people and parts of it are not helpful today and need changing - we can do that too.



Yes ... and This

Home now, reflecting in the moment and being aware of the mountain of resistance I created during my political canvassing over the past days, the sturm und drang of my emotional state as I kept saying NO to what was in front of me as evidenced by previous posts. I couldn't shake that NO and in many ways it consumed me and I arrived home in quite a fit of fury.

So now, settling and contemplating, I'm finally able to relax the knot of resistance, to accept that I simply do not know how things should be other than exactly as they are. Ah, that's it isn't it, things should be exactly as they are because that is how they are.

I only wrote about my fits, not so much about the actual canvassing which was quite a different and connecting experience - regardless of how the voter was leaning. Those were the times I was present in a state of Yes ... and this, rather than a clenched state of NO ... not this.

I swear my life long goal is to live this Yes (at least in some moments) and let action flow from Yes ... and this, rather than moving from triggered states of self righteousness as if I know something. Ugh, and on it goes.



Over and Out

We just completed a triple shift of canvassing on a warm Sunday and are feeling done with this assignment. Hard to say how much of a difference it will make, but a legion of canvassers have been unleashed on this area, mercilessly pounding on doors, defending Josh from some outrageous attacks by the desperate opponent. It's really ugly out there.

We survived without a scratch with the driving being the most challenging aspect. The long straight two lane country roads are apparently runways for hot rodders a la American Graffiti which is about Modesto, where George Lucas grew up, and is taken seriously by the testosterone fueled pick up and grease ball lowriders forever riding my tail like butt sniffing dogs.



Water is Life

This is bugging the hell out of me, to the extent that I plan to take it up with my Congressman, Wood,

and Harder, if elected. When the semi-desert is greener than the temperate coastal rain forest, we've got a problem.

I did take the opportunity as I was shaking Harder's hand, to whisper in his ear that I'd come to work for him, happily, from Humboldt County where we have dammed rivers that send water here at the cost of salmon species and fisheries and that it is being used lavishly on lawns and field sprayed orchards in blazing heat, while our lawns dry up preserving water as we've been asked to do. I asked that more effort be put on conservation and recycling of this precious limited commodity.

This is just weighing heavy on my heart, seeing how as a species we seem so limited in our ability to take a hard look at sharing precious resources which over time looks like it will ultimately be our undoing if we don't get better at it.



It Gets Worse

Today in Harder land we worked in Turlock in poorer neighborhoods, not quite as green and lush, with more Dems (yahoo! and thank you) and some really ugly others both on the canvass trail and at the town hall in the almond orchard.

We took our lunch break at the noon event in a verdant and lush, seriously, squidgy moist soil between the gorgeous trees. No drip irrigation, just total flooding of the area which I'm guessing means using heavy chemicals to keep down the undergrowth.

It looked so lovely and relaxing until a bunch of skin head looking, ugly, detractors kept interrupting, screaming about abortions at nine months, and calling Harder a communist. Things got pretty testy between the land owner who called for police backup, but Harder kept his cool and carried on very well. He mentioned that there were local people involved in Charlottesville and his despair over that.

On returning to the canvassing in the afternoon, I rang the bell at a man's house who was registered R and he wouldn't open the door, spoke through his door bell speaker, told me I was a communist and if I didn't get off his property he'd sic his dogs on me.

I left promptly and didn't look back. Last house was another R behind a chain link fence which I had to unlatch with a chained closure, flags, and God Bless America signs everywhere. Couldn't see dogs but was wary, and decided to carry on and ring, and out popped Charles, who smiled and said "we need a change, I'm for him" and said he'd fill out his ballot and get it in this week. So, it's a mixed bag and there is evidence of a split in Trump support - hard core getting really ugly, and gentle folk abandoning ship. We'll see ...



Out of Step

This just should not be ... and whenever I say or think that I argue with reality and, bingo, I lose. Another example of marching to the wrong drum. 

We are canvassing for Josh Harder in Modesto in the Central Valley, semi-desert, where water issues are top of the political concerns. And what do I find as I leave behind my brown unwatered lawn, but green, lush, and thick grass, soggy with water from the night time built in auto sprinklers, all surrounded by plantings of thirsty shrubs and flowers. Everywhere we walk this appears to be the norm.

Many houses are huge boxes, air-conditioned for months of the year. All completely unsustainable, and yet this seems to be the baseline expectation in defense of the American Dream, I suppose. I seem to be feeling daily more estranged from the world I inhabit, my thoughts incongruent with the zeitgeist.



A Meme You Can Count On

Along the theme of activism for women's rights we watched RBG last night and were completely uplifted. Her nomination process was fresh with well thought out and described stances honestly depicting her perspective including on abortion. Unapologetic, strong, firm, clear, unemotional - just the way we like our judges.

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Getting ready to head to Modesto to work on electing Josh Harder in a Swing Left District. Here are my visual inspirations.



Surrender to Song

Slowly, I believe that I am succumbing to the inevitable, the reality that awful things according to my small perspective will keep happening with or without my intervention, worry, anger, or disgust.

After a singing event today replete with heartfelt songs sung by a melange of community members wanting nothing more than to connect through resonant voice, I walked home contemplating that indigenous wisdom that inquires of someone who is ill, "when did you last sing, when did you last dance", and I realize that I could do far worse than either of these life giving choices.

I still hold the vision of people singing together in the halls of justice and governance rather that waving fists and signs, strengthening each other by standing together in song.




My recent explosions of rage over the Kavanaugh and senatorial behaviors combined with what may turn out to be my last tango experience - where Title Nine is not likely to be included any time soon, left me in an exhausted anti-social melt-down.

Then I remembered, that below the surface is ever present beingness, that doesn't ask for anything other than what is, bodily sensations before the labeling begins, that focus attention on aliveness. How many times do I have to learn that coming home to this always present spaciousness, embodied love, is more real than the human created cluster %(&%!?  .... probably a few more.

Here is a diversion, photos from British Columbia, the civilized country referenced in our pledge of allegiance ... "one nation, under Canada..." which is how we say it in our family.

Viva the indigenous, the most likely to survive!

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