Terrific=tenebrific^10

Do you ever feel mopey?

I tend to be rather bright and cheerful with a touch of aggression to keep things interesting. Moping and somber are not my natural state, but every now and then I will indulge in a bit of melancholy. Sometimes it can be due to a specific incident or situation, sometimes it will just show up without invitation and hang out for a bit. Today I decided to schedule some time to just let the blues hang out with me and I have even been a very good hostess to my forlorn and dispiriting friend. I have served up every high-carb instant food on hand, which isn’t much actually, before moving on to the game of “What’s my ratio?”

In case you need a refresher on this game, it’s typically played either on long car trips or when all alone in the house. You take two edible items and mix varying ratios to find the perfect-for-you combination. It can be an almond-to-raisin mix (3 raisins to 1 almond for me), Tabasco-to-orange slice (for real, it’s good and again is a 3-1 ratio), and today it was a PB to J ratio.

I’m rationing my few remaining slices of g-f bread until I get to Seattle and can get more, besides when moping you can’t just start jumping around all energetically and start making yourself good peanut butter sandwiches or you will ruin the whole point of the wallowing in misery. If you live with other people, you should totally NOT double-dip the spoon between tastes. That would be germy. So let the dog lick the spoon clean in between tastings; they have clean mouths and all that (don’t argue with me, argue with Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel as they are the ones who confirmed it). HOWEVER, since I do not currently reside alone in this house and I do share my food items with others, please take note of the following photos which offer photographic proof of clean technique.

Well, clean-ish. I really should have put the lids on the jars before doing any tasting if I was going to follow proper lab technique. Oh well…

Another advantage to this clean technique is you can actually compare ratios side by side whereas double-dipping requires memory and guessing estimates. And if you are going to start using words like “ratio” to describe what you are doing, then probably you should go ahead and spring for washing the extra spoons in the name of scientific research.

 

Surprisingly, my visitor was still disconsolate after the game of “What’s my ratio?” That is when I decided to produce this pièce de résistance of pathetic food-for-one: mug cake.

 

To be fair, cooking for one is not really a pathetic enterprise but a show of love and devotion to one self (purposefully using one and not one’s; I had to write that since I can’t use (sic) in this situation although you could if you quoted me). ANYWAY, mug cakes have been in my family for a number of years now and I love finding recipes for them. Biggerbolderbaking.com has a recipe for a PB&Banana mug cake that is really good. I mostly followed her recipe but then, since the jelly was still out, I placed a dollop on top of the cake before microwaving it. I used plain oats and ground them in the coffee bean grinder to make the oat flour, as she suggested. Turned out perfect!

 

I have to say, it was really yummy! I added a cup of crazy-strong French press coffee and the  mix of carbs and caffeine were the perfect snack for me and Ms. Dolorous (1).

Alas, my moping time has come to an end. My schedule requires I move on with my life and get to the next thing on the list. Thank you for visiting, Ms. Dolorous, do come again sometime. Actually, I kinda knew Ms. D would be leaving soon when the fork I grabbed for the first bite of cake turned out to be a salad fork and I was like, “No way, you will put that atrocity back and grab a proper fork for eating cake, young lady!” When one has the energy to give a rat’s ass about which fork is being used, the blues are on their way out, for sure. Not that we actually have salad vs dessert forks here at the farm, though, now that I think about it, why the hell not? THIS TOWN IS NAMED FORKS!

Definitely check out Gemma’s blog on mug meals and let me know what you think. I’m looking at that pizza in a mug recipe next! https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/gemmas-mug-meals/

Did you know that tenebrific is a synonym for moping? Isn’t that the most anti-onomatopoeic word ever? It should mean terrific to the power of 10 or tenebrific=terrific^10. That will be my platform for 2020, “Make tenebrific great again!”

(1) I *know* it should be “Ms. Dolorous and I” but that totally loses the alliterative effect I was going for, and artists can get away with grammar faux-pas in the pursuit of expression

Alchemy

Meditation is the alchemist
Transforming putrid shame into joyful rapture
Dust swept under the rug becoming sparkles of gold as I sit

I was inspired by a recent meditation experience to write the poem above. If you have read any of my other posts, you will no doubt know that I am a big proponent of meditation. Not for the relaxation that occurs when sitting on the meditation cushion, although that is nice, but for the transforming effect if you let what is learned on the cushion to occur in the rest of life. Maybe it is a result of critical thinking skills, being able to take what is learned in one arena and apply it to not-previously-seen arenas. In school those are the hardest tests, when the teacher makes you really think about what was learned and apply it creatively versus just spitting back a particular powerpoint slide. In life, it is also about taking what we learn and applying it creatively to a situation. In doing so it builds a trust in one’s self that allows you to believe you can handle the next thing that comes. And the next thing, and the one after that, even if you don’t know what is coming, you know you can handle it. Boy, there is so much less worry when living this way!!!
What you may or may not know about me is that I love rules. I am a big believer in knowing the rules and then, with creative thinking, deciding which rules can be broken. It isn’t until one has mastered the rules and can maneuver within them that one begins to know which can be broken to achieve a certain result. Now this does encourage an understanding of the difference between a law and a rule. Laws cannot be broken. Gravity is kind of a law, as is pretty much all of physics and chemistry and organic chemistry and math. A carbon with only 3 bonds is going to be one unhappy guy, that is something you can count on. Rules aren’t so rigid but are a pretty decent framework for living if you don’t want to think about stuff all the time. You should not eat dessert before dinner is a decent rule, because you are hungry and might overeat the sugar and then undereat the salad. There are times that you should break this rule and eat the cookies, dammit, like if you are getting ready to menstruate and you deserve a congratulatory cookie for getting up and not spitting venom at any object in your path. That totally deserves a cookie or two. And a glass of wine. And quit looking at the clock because, really, that is how addictions are made. But you don’t go and break that dessert rule ALL the time or else it loses its effectiveness when you need it. Like crying wolf. You don’t want the new normal to be one devoid of rules because then when you do have a wolf attacking your sheep no one will show up and you will probably get eaten, and if the wolf is getting ready to menstruate and thinks of you as a cookie, then it will probably eat you first and go for the fuzzy sheep afterwards. And then where will you be? If you were lucky enough to be like Jonah and eaten by a whale, then you would stand a chance of surviving to tell the tale and probably be an internet sensation since you’d no doubt have some great video footage of the whale tummy and being puked up on the beach of Nineveh. But you wouldn’t survive in a wolf’s stomach.
“Squirrel!”
Actually I have no idea how crying wolf relates to meditation but maybe that just proves the alchemy part in the poem I wrote at the beginning of this post. Yes, that is EXACTLY what alchemy does so somewhere my brain is making connections and I just have to trust the path and not be so doggone worried about knowing in advance where it leads. Never place limits on what can be by demanding to know the future because how could one even IMAGINE such a connection?
I have some possible big changes coming up in my life. Not that I haven’t been living with big changes the last couple months anyway, and changes that I could not have imagined have occurred just because I trusted in the ability to try and even to fail and get back up and start going again. Failing and then getting going again is dust turning into gold.

Oh yeah, I wanted to show you some sights from the farm.

Here is what I do every morning. I am one of the best fire builders. The wood is fresh cut and wet and green, not good for making fires but I have developed a system or series of systems that lets me succeed as long as I am patient and attentive. The wood stove has water jackets on each side of it that circulate heated water through the floors and help heat the basement bedrooms. I guess because of the water jackets taking up space, the firebox is not big enough to be able to stoke enough firewood to keep the fire going all night so every morning I build a new fire. It is kind of a relaxing way to wake up.

Next I go for a walk. It might not be immediately in the morning but sometime before mid-afternoon I head out. The snow lately has called me out to walk and enjoy a real winter. Monty loves all the freedom of walking without a leash and sometimes I bring a guest’s dog along.


In between fire-building and walking is some work or other, maybe bookkeeping or maybe farm chores or fixing something that is broken. There are lots of things broken and some I can fix on my own. And finally I decide what to cook for dinner. I am fortunate that I like to cook and the grocer in town is acceptable and Amazon delivers. It is a little hard because I do not have a full kitchen with all the spices and accoutrement my old kitchen had but that just makes me more creative. And flexible. Did you know that for some recipes baking powder can stand in for baking soda with no appreciable difference. But coarse-ground cornmeal, which is great for polenta, cannot be used as is for a breading on stuffed jalapenos. I will try grinding it in the coffee bean grinder next time and I suspect the hint of coffee taste will be a pretty yummy addition. and if it is not, then a little extra sriracha-mayo dip will take care of it. I enjoy taking my time fixing dinner. It is a nice chance to have me-time as the cooking kitchen is separate from the main living area and kitchen-prep area.


Sometimes guests or neighbors will join us for a dinner party and that can very interesting. Unless all the guests are avid fishermen which means the discussion devolves to types of hooks and such. Those are the nights I go to bed early. Sometimes we have very personable and interesting guests and I get to learn all about other parts of the country, what their work and lives are like, how they see the world. Those are my favorite times. It helps fill the void left by not being in the salon and talking with all my interesting and fascinating clients. Shoot, now I am thinking about some of them and there is a catch in the back of my throat for those I love dearly and miss so much. Sometimes I wonder if I am selfish and foolish for chasing this dream. But sometimes I talk with a dear friend and I can feel the love is still there even if I do not get to lay eyes or hands on them right now. Breathe in loneliness, wistfulness, missing you…breathe out warmth, compassion, understanding, ever-abiding love. Meditation is the alchemist.

Feeling the Glory

Daily I read from Jeff Foster’s The Way of Rest and am inspired by his poetic earnestness. It just so happened that today, Valentine’s Day, I read his “Out of the Ashes” and, as usual, was struck by the depth of his work. There are many layers to his writing if you are willing to open up to the deeper meanings. Even when I am not ready to open wide, his work is beautiful and moving but, oh, those times I am courageous enough to fling open the doors to my heart and soul and let the light stream into the dark places, Jeff’s insight caresses as gently as a mother’s kiss. Those places where fear and shame dangle like cobwebs in my being are laid open, sometimes still flailing, and I can hear God’s voice, full of compassion, reminding me of my true nature, my true being, and that I am made from Him. How could there possibly be anything wrong with me?

I am perfect in my imperfection.

What is not to love, then? What could there possibly be in this bit of God made human that is not delightful and lovable? Even my quick-to-judge ways, my moodiness, my tendency to interrupt, my rough feet that look more like a dog’s paw, my stretchmarks and crow’s feet and hail-damaged thighs, all these places where I want to be different than I am, I can look at with eyes of my soul and say, “Is that so?” And sometimes the compassion and patience that is bigger than me sifts down into this mortal and imperfect being and I take myself a little less seriously and a bit more joyfully and with gratitude for this very moment.

Sometimes I do love my Self so much that I laugh out loud with the joy of Being.

May you feel the deepest love and gratitude for yourself today, my friend. Start there, with complete love and acceptance for your own being, and see what happens.

 

Out of the Ashes

Jeff Foster

Do not despair if you are now feeling far from love. You are only seeking a reflection of your own heart. Love is burning even more brightly now, even if it feels like pain and longing, chaotic sensations in the belly, chest, throat.

If it is warmth you seek, if it is closeness you long for, begin by feeling the warmth of your own broken heart, reconnecting there at the very source of disconnection, finding presence in your own presence. Your loved one is near, for you are near.

When you feel like seeking outward for love, turn, come closer, get more intimate with yourself.

Even if you find yourself in ruins now, understand that even the ruined place contains seeds of grace and the fragrance of renewal. You cannot go back, life only marches on. Dignify its ever-onward movement. The power that was there at the big bang is still with you; you are undivided from the cosmos. There is power in your doubt.

Know that a new life can only grow from the earth upon which you stand. A new painting must begin with a canvas. Use the canvas that is given. Even old canvases can hold fresh paint.

If you dream of a new tomorrow, your dream appears now, held in your presence. Keep sight of the goal, yes! But never lose connection with the Origin, this moment, the lace from which goals are seen or not seen, held or released.

Being present is never in conflict with holding a vision of a more expansive future in your heart, for the holding can only happen in Presence. The present holds the future.

And then, out of the ashes of ground zero, that dark place associated only with death and destruction, a new kind of life may suddenly appear possible, and, with love and trust, begin to manifest.

Never give up on life, for it never gives up on you, even when you give up. And know that your heart is near, broken yet radiant. Allow it to be closed now, and it will open when it is ready, and not a moment before.

 

 

The Invitation- Oriah Mountaindreamer

Here is an excerpt from Oriah’s poem that speaks so deeply to the heart. Her eloquence is inspiring.

“It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive. I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”

This is a photo from 2014 when I took my grand-dog Moose to the Pecos Wilderness. What an amazing dog and place!

miracles everywhere

warning- this post is in raw form. it has not been edited for clarity or polished. the reader is warned. 🙂

you can live your life as if everything is a miracle or as if nothing is. albert einstein is credited with that enlightening phrase( and it doesn’t really matter whether he said it or not)

today, christmas eve, is the 56th birthday of my friend who took his life four days ago. i have been doing all the feelings we know and expect, grief, anger, and those heart-breaking I-shoulda/coulda. i should have tried one more time to (fill in the blank), I could have continued to be friends and maybe he wouldn’t have…
and i can argue that with myself in the same way a friend would. “You did all that before, you took all the guns away, you stayed on suicide watch, you called the ambulance and went with him to the hospital, but the truth is you cannot prevent someone from their intent on destruction.” Yes, I know that and yet sometimes those thoughts creep in. Maybe if I had been there more, he would have been able to get deeper into recovery and then he wouldn’t have…
Oh, the ego can get itself worked into a tizzy refusing to accept what is. I don’t know if I have my doctorate in denial but my credit hours are up there. and the sadness of thinking I could have done something, the guilt and shame of the could haves or should haves is choking and burdensome yet I was picking it up all on my own accord.
and today I am putting off getting up out of bed by checking a social media and i see a post by j. iron word “The truth is some people will never wake up no matter how many years they live.” which caught my attention as you may understand. and the post immediately following this post was also by j. iron word, “I love you baby.”
……….sniff…………….
sheesh, even in the retelling of seeing these two posts, the feeling of being seen and understood washes over me, seen and accepted in my frail humanness, seen and loved even when i mess up.
everything is a miracle or nothing is- i choose everything. and this message came to me from him. I need to remember that nothing i could have done would have prevented his death. and that he still loves me and is no longer bound by the fear and monsters and the walls he’d built in his mortal existence. He is with God and he is part of God, like Sandi, like Jesus.

and then i get up and am walking the dog on this cool and clear morning. It’s a beautiful and typical Gulf Coast Christmas with just a few clouds in the sharp blue sky. and i am breathing and open and mindful and feeling the love that he has for me that he couldn’t express before. and i’m so glad it is early on Christmas Eve morning so the neighbors don’t see me crying as i walk the dog down the street. I look up into the sky and see a few wisps of clouds, and it is his face. His face when he concentrated, how he would chew on his cheek and draw his mouth into a sharp line, a forward slash across his very square jaw. and so i see the two puffy cloud eyes and then the strong slash of cloud mouth and I know, Michael has accepted his birthright of peace and wholeness.
and so, on this day of the anniversary of his birth, i am conscious of staying open to the miracles and grateful for knowing God. I am keeping my heart open to the pain of loss, to the miracle of our true identity of one with God and each other, and to the most important of all,
Love, real love, does not die.

Screwing Up Is Good For You!

December 8, 2017
“Houston, we have a… snowday!” It is so adorable how excited Houstonians are. All over social media my fellow Houstonians are posting photos of their home and other fav city locations covered in a light powdered-sugar-sprinkle of snow. As one who likes the cold and appreciates getting to wear my socks and sweaters, I have not put the heat up very much in my house. The inside temp dances around a delightful 67 degrees which also encourages my dog and cat to snuggle up to me. Win-win, in my book. also, being Houston, most of the older homes, or those built between the 1940s and 1980s, do not have a fireplace built in. however, YouTube has taken care of this and I am currently sitting in front of a lovely fire with crackling sound being streamed on my tv. All the visual fun and no clean up or wasted real estate.

I’ve given myself permission to relax and enjoy this lovely and chilly morning and am catching up on magazines, sitting on the couch with coffee in one hand, magazine in the other. Dog is curled up at my feet and Cat lounges on the back of the couch near my head. The November 2017 issue of Nature magazine has an article that is supporting a view I have held for a long time, or at least since I got into science and realized how skewed the sharing of information is. Nature reports on two monetary prizes rewarding research that shares the failure or negative result with the world. Until now only
success has been published, and publishing is necessary to survival in academia. This has led to tremendous pressure to have positive results, pressure which has made some people choose to falsify some or all research in pursuit of acceptance by the scientific community. In my first internship at university, I asked about how we learn what doesn’t work and was told by the Primary Investigator that failures do not get published. Come again?

While it feels good for everything to work out perfectly, I will be honest and say it is my failures that teach me so much more than success ever has. I take many classes and love that dopamine dump when learning something new and making those lovely neural connections. It’s the Aha! that grabs us.

If you have ever learned a new software program by having someone walk you through a scenario, “Ok, click File, then New, then …” and with their guidance you flawlessly execute the desired result in the program. A week later you are trying to get things going in that same program and one false click takes you into a land of “What did I do now and how do I get out of here?” If that has ever happened to you then you know that having someone there to fail with you, having a safe place to fail and learn is WAY more valuable than just knowing what works. Throughout the entirety of our lives it is important to be able to fail and then get back up and try again. We revere Edison for his tenacity in failing and failing better each time, yet in our own present day we deride failure and support only apparent success. How foolish we are to not understand there is no such thing as failure, but there is such a thing as resting on your laurels. Failure can, if we let it, teach us how to be even more observant, even more critical in our thinking, even more present in our life. And while success is so desired, it can lead to complacency, tunnel vision, and even worse, insecurity and lies.

So, how will you treat your failures in life? Will you celebrate them as proof that you are pushing your boundaries Will you have compassion for the people who fail, because you know that living on the razor’s edge means that sometimes you will get cut. Will you support failure as a sincerity of spirit, as a courageous vulnerability, both in yourself and in others? Will you choose to support truth in all its forms, recognizing that it is only one truth and that both failure and success point the way toward it. Get out there and screw up. It’s good for you!

Sometimes the line between love and addiction gets blurred

I breathe in deep your scent

And memories of past days and promises of what is to come

Dance through my thoughts.

As your warm and slightly bitter taste envelopes my tongue,

It is as if you move immediately into my blood

Enlivening me and bringing light to my darkest morning.

Oh, coffee…

I am your willing slave forever.

Contagion

“Fear is contagious and so is courage”      -Elizabeth Gilbert

I read this in an email from Tami Simon of Sounds True. Like all well-crafted guideposts that point to the one truth, it made me think. We as a society are very thoughtful about the people we surround ourselves with in regards to their disease state. We have PSAs about how to sneeze or cough in a crowd, we use hand sanitizer like modern-day armor and tell others to stay home if we hear they are sick. We do not want to catch the disease and we certainly don’t want someone spreading disease in our community. We recognize how disease and illness inhibit our productivity, impair physical and financial well-being, and just get in the way of our constitutional right to pursue happiness.

Yet are we as thoughtful about the internal state of those around us and the fact that this is also contagious? Have we as a society created a version of leper colonies wherein everyone in this group has the same fears? Those who are afraid of not being enough and so must “look” successful via a big house, expensive car, the mate who meets all the check-list wants? Are our leper colonies filled with others who support our illness to the point we pass the fear-sickness back and forth and strengthen it?

Or do we surround ourselves with those who have the courage to walk their own path thus encouraging others to do the same? Are the people around us supporting each other in finding unique ways to joy and contentment, are they able to truly connect on a heart and soul level, can we be different and still be connected? Do we spread the germ of fearless vulnerability and acceptance in our connections with the people in our community?

As we enter the season of (hopefully) connecting with our family and friends, perhaps we should take a good look at what our group has in common, what is the contagion, and make sure it is something we want to catch.

Welcome!

Welcome!!! In this place it is the journey, not the destination, that is important.

Curious and seeking. Calm and Enthusiastic.
Life is about opposites and finding balance.
Most of all it is about knowing true love and finding in that love the courage to do what we are led to do on this Earth.
I started this blog to share my journey as a means of encouraging you to breathe deeply, experience the amazing joy that this exact moment provides, and to grow your own joyful and encouraging path.

Now is Enough.