Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Job, Justice, Fairness, God

You know the only thing I've ever been able to deduce about the story of Job in the Bible is that the rain falls. Good things happen, bad things happen. We attribute them to God or the Devil. But things change.

Today I feel good. Yesterday was awful. I was knitting with a wool that was new to me, and I could hardly breathe. Once I finished that project and laid it out in the sunroom, I could breathe. Anxiety? Allergy to the wool/dye in the wool? The wind? God? The Devil? Things change.

Some days are good; some days are not. A smile can make a lot of difference. A good laugh can make a lot of difference whether I can breathe well or not.

And, Job. Well, Job had it good. In fact, the Bible tells us, according to fellow blogger Lindy, that God had built a fence around Job and his family. OOOOOeeeee! Wouldn't you like one of those fences. Then I'd be able to breathe well all the time; my anemia would not affect my doing things; my restless legs would stay still; I could buy as much yarn as my garage could hold and enough beads to build a house.

Things change. One day that fence would be gone, and then, where would I be. Unused to any kind of calamity or bad event, unable to cope with adversity, non-compassionate because I'd never been hurt or hurting. Don't think I'd like that.

I'm reading a wonderful spoof on fairy tales and stories in general. Cliches abound. And, I know those stories. They have happened to me. You know those stories, too, because we don't have fences around us - at least not God-built fences. The rain falls. Bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen to bad people. Bad things happen. So do good things.

Blaming God or the Devil or Job won't make it any different. I try to just accept what the day brings and do what I can. I leave undone what would strain me too much. And, yes, I get angry and depressed and anxious and upset. And, yes, I cry and gripe. But, in the end, tomorrow is another day - a different day - maybe better, maybe worse, but another day. And, if tomorrow is not another day for me - well, hey, I won't know it because I'll be dead...and that's for sure different.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Unread Books meme

What we have below is a list of the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing users. Bold the ones you've read, underline the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
The Brothers Karamazov (?)
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair

The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad (excerpts in school)

The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations

American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West

The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead

Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & Demons
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter

Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aeneid (excerpts in school)
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Saturday, May 24, 2008

More Alpaca pictures

Gin is trying to herd the white alpaca back into the other enclosure - unsuccessfully.

Mindi and the llama

This wonderful baby is one of the show animals.
Tom is part of the menagerie.

Baby Rhode Island Reds are also there. And, bees, and kittens, and their sons.

Ashwood Alpaca Farm Visit

sharecropper gets a kiss from Whiskey

Five of us went to Ashwood Alpaca Farm (they also have one llama) on Friday. We were warmly welcomed by Lisa Willis who is unbelievably excited about all her alpacas. They were recently sheared, and the blankets are currently being processed.

But, we were mostly thrilled because Whiskey was like a big lap dog. He followed us around and liked to eat carrots and be petted. Most of the alpacas were standoffish as we were laughing a lot and grinning from ear to ear. What beautiful animals they are and sooooo soft - even sheared.

I snagged two grocery bags of bits and pieces of blankets from the various animals and one from the llama...also some yarn from the cooperative of which the farm is a member.One friend found some yummy socks.

Here are the pictures:
alpacas in background, us in foreground

Whiskey, up close and personal

Friday, May 23, 2008

The bees aren't all dead

The magnolia blossom with the bee was taken on May 22, 2008 in my front yard. All the blossoms were covered with bees sucking pollen. The previous bloom was a cotton blossom from a farm in the Mississippi delta near Clarksdale.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


A good reporter always asks five questions (at least that's what I was taught in 1963): Who? What? When? Where? and Why? The first four are often easy to ascertain, but that fifth questions leads us into places that are unsafe - physically, mentally, emotionally, psychically. Often the places that Why? leads us are untrod ground.

Growing up on the farm, we called it new ground. First the trees would be cut, and the timber used in appropriate ways. Then the brush would be rooted up and piled into huge piles that were burned (remember this was in the 1940s and 1950s). Some of it was undoubtedly saved for kindling because we used a wood burning stove for heat in the winter. Stumps were included in this burning. Rocks were pushed and lugged out of the field. Only then could the tractor with it big turning plow get in there and make deep furrows in the land. The soil that turned up from below was black and wet. But, when it dried, it was as hard a brick...gumbo, it was called. The fields were turned and disked and harrowed. Then the rains came, and the ground was like black glue; it stuck to anything that touched it. When it dried, it cracked open in geometric shapes. Beautiful to a seven year old, but dreadful to our father farmers.

Except near the bayou, the soil would be turned, disked, and harrowed until it was black sandy loam - the stuff that farmers hold in their dreams. New ground. Lots of work went into creating new ground.

Lots of work often goes into answering Why? - the new ground of our minds...and lots of time. The answer doesn't always come. I will die never knowing why I like red so much or why I seem to need more...more of everything. Each time I answer a Why? question about myself, I change the answers to the other four questions. Who am I? Where am I? What am I? Yes, I realize that's only three of the questions: When? Time is so elusive for me. I understand God's time a little better as I remember the past and as I look to the future. I live in the present (most of the time), but When?

When am I in my life? Am I really a senior citizen? How do you measure years? Do miles count in that measurement? Does creativity count? How about love? When am I in the course of loving people? Near the beginning - the middle - the end or somewhere that I don't even really know? What I do know is that my computer (attuned to the atomic clock somewhere in the world) says that it is 8:13 pm on May 21, 2008.

My question then is So What? or Why does that matter?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Knitting

Our friends Gin and Mindi from Denver have been visiting, and I've been knitting while we talked and after dinner each night. I offered to make Gin a pair of socks once I learned how to make socks. She said she had socks someone had knitted hung on her wall- they were artwork, not wearables.


And, Mindi is getting a case for her Touch-pod. (front and back views)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Magic and Miracles

I've been reading a lot of fantasy in the last few years, and recently I've read a series by Tamora Pierce (Circle of Magic) about four young people who discover they have extraordinary magic. One is linked to the winds; she can see and hear things far away, and she can manipulate the winds and water and rocks and earth to change. Another's magic lies in weaving and thread; she can use woven movements to bind and to loose and communicate with cloth so that it does her bidding and other things that are made of string or wire or such. The young man of the group is attuned to growing living things and can make grass grow or nurture a forest. The other is a metal worker who makes things of living metal. Together they are very powerful as they have forged bonds of love and trust over their training years.

I believe in Magic, and I nearly always capitalize the closely is it linked with God for me. I see nothing unusual in these four young people's talents. They are extremes of connections that we form each day with things that surround us. And, they are extremes of focus that we do not often have. Meditating is part of their daily routine, and from it comes their strength. Not many of us spend much time in meditation.

Once I had a green thumb with potted plants - bay trees loved my patio, orange trees grew from navel orange seeds and grapefruit trees from supposedly seedless grapefruit. My jade tree measured over four feet across before I dismembered it. Since it's name was Rocky, it's babies were Rockettes. I let the last of them die in the cold here this past winter. So my green thumb went away. It went away because I did not nurture it, did not meditate, did not pay attention to it. I lost my magic.

And, that's what happens when we lose touch with God; we lose our magic. I once had a healing touch that even people waiting to pay auto tag fees could sense and tap into. When we did healing services, many people waited in my line for me and those who gathered around to lay hands on them and channel God's grace a little stronger into their lives. Now, my oil stock is dry and so is my touch. Neglected and unused.

My Magic flows in other directions, nourished, focused and sustained.

Magic is simply God's use of our focus and our strength in ways that are particular to us. "God is alive, Magic is afoot..." sings Buffy St. Marie. I can't separate the two, and I suspect you'd find that your "Magic" is a focus and strength that comes from meditating and belief. When you train it, nurture it and hold it dear, Magic works and God is alive. Don't let your Magic die.

You Should Live in the Country

You are laid back, calm, and good at entertaining yourself.

You don't need an expensive big city to keep you busy.

You'll take the peaceful life over the stressful life any day of the week.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Every day is different

Tuesday night I did not sleep well. Wednesday was a tough day. Wednesday night I slept almost 12 hours. Today has been wonderful. Good food, good company, fresh tomatoes, a few fresh strawberries, a mint plant, a wonderful lunch in Washington, NC. A few raindrops to make a perfect day.

Tomorrow I work at the yarn shop, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Missing my partner who is in New Orleans, but she'll be home on Sunday.

Politically, I've been speaking out for Hillary, but the votes don't seem to be going her way - and it's really difficult to think or type with a 16 pound cat in my lap - sooo...later pals.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

What if...

What if computer programs worked the way the blurb you read said it would?

What if you and your partner could always talk things over?

What if you didn't forgo exercise because you were too tired?

What if repair people called you back when they said they would?

What if doctors had time to listen to you?

What if therapists believed you when you said you could bullshit the pope?

What if you could actually knit all the beautiful yarn you have and crave?

What if pigs could fly?

I get very frustrated with the lack of time that most people experience in today's world. I like to think we had more time in previous years and generations. But, that's simply not true. My Mom got up before daylight to milk the cow before breakfast and work. She always had a large garden, and we canned the produce. When did she find time to work 8 hours a day? She was never able to bathe until after we went to bed because she was tending to our needs. We had no bathroom; so she bathed in the kitchen where she could heat the water on the range and have a few moments of peace and quiet. She didn't have as much time as I did when I was working.

Of course, her life did get easier once we left the farm, but she always had something that needed to be done and for which no time existed to do it.

Now, I have time to browse the knitting sites on the computer, IM with a friend, write a blog, knit and make jewelry. Of course, my floors are dirty, my laundry undone, my winter clothes half packed away, and I don't know what I'm wearing to work tomorrow.

Time. When I went to Cursillo in 1988 or 1987, I gave up my watch. I own several, but they are decorative, not useful. And, time is more useful. I do get harried and hurried, but I am much more casual in my approach to what really needs to be done. The world has enough clocks that I am on time for appointments and work. In fact, I wish I could turn off some of the clocks in our house - microwave, range, water cooler, refrigerator, coffee pot, weather clock....and those millions of little LEDs that dot the house - I don't need a flashlight at night; I can navigate by the little red and orange dots.

Time. Do I make time to talk with my partner?

Time. Do I consider how busy doctors and repair people really are? Seems as if a shortage of them exists because they never have time.

Time. What if I didn't sit in front of the computer until my neck ached and my restless leg syndrome kicked in? What if I actually cleared the space around the treadmill so that I could get on it?

Time is a human construct. The universe doesn't really know about time or the time/space continuum. The universe is.

So, I'm keeping track of time in different ways. I have a list of concerns/problems that I want solved - some in therapy, some in discussion with my partner, some by getting off my duff, some by managing my life differently. And, I'm tracking my progress (or lack thereof) not by time but by how important each item is in my life. And, success - well, success is so relative that I have to say that I'm not doing much tracking by success. My nightmares are mostly gone. My emotional flashbacks have decreased a lot. My knitting is getting better.

Today has been rest day. Yesterday and last night were worry periods. Tomorrow is a work day and a knitting night. What's important to me right now is a good night's sleep, the love of my partner and the medicine that keeps me going.

So, I'm going to tick tock right off to the other end of the house and take the meds, hug my partner, and stretch out in bed. It's time.