When the Crazy Comes Out

Spring Flowers by El Frito from  Flickr Creative Commons

Spring Flowers by El Frito from Flickr Creative Commons


I haven’t noticed any spring flowers in my area but they’re surely on the way. The sun has been shining more, the ice is gone from the sidewalks for the time being and sometimes it isn’t always windy. Windy is annoying and can lower my mood.

I can be puttering or rushing along and let something effect me and when I can see what’s happening I usually work at regaining some equanimity rather than going into a downward spiral. Lately I’ve noticed a fair amount of people flipping out of character, both in my personal life and with those I connect with online. The news headlines are full of stories of people who crossed over a line of going out of character to a seeming point of no return and now they must face consequences.

Loyalty is a value I hold dear, not abandoning people I care about on the basis of a downward turn in circumstances or the fact that they are no longer able to offer something they once did.

But when the crazy comes out I don’t want to invest too much time in understanding it. Tantrums, venomous spewing that seems to have no relation to whatever is going on in objective reality, vague overreactions, especially with online interactions–I just want to step away. Some people are consistently displaying attitudes but I’m writing about those who seem to lose it in a way that seems to come from out of nowhere.

When people show me by their actions who they are, I’m going to take more note of it. In the meantime I’m avoiding the wind where possible and am on alert for the first spring flower I see outdoors.

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Comforts Against Cabin Fever

Evening Warm-up; photo by owlpacino from flickr creative commons

Evening Warm-up; photo by owlpacino from flickr creative commons

January has been a good month and I’ve much to appreciate. One thing that I’m longing for now is a closer connection with nature. It’s been unusually cold for longer stretches of time, the sidewalks have been too icy for me, flu has been rampant and I didn’t have to go out so I stayed in with my well-planned stash of necessities. Even opening the windows a crack for a few minutes every few days has helped but I’m really looking forward to the first walk along the river and the first spring flower I notice.

Hydration is important in the winter as well and I believe I’ll feel better with drinking less coffee and more water this week. If it’s warm drinks that comfort, some honey and cinnamon in water is great. I’ve taken the time to make some this past weekend as well as hot chocolate made with coconut milk and good quality cocoa. Why would I think I’m too busy to stand there and stir the chocolate in for a moment? Actually that’s just an habitual, unconscious thought and something that I’ve picked up from the culture around me that considers being crazy-busy as an honorable thing.

It’s tempting to stay up late and stare at something on the flickering screen of laptop–Pinterest and hulu–but I’m being mindful of the healing benefits of being in bed by 10:00. Stretching too, especially when I’ve been sitting in the recliner for about an hour, makes a difference in how I feel.

Last week I wrote about my enjoyment of Downton Abbey. I’m also reading a book by Charles Finch called A Death in the Small Hours. I quite enjoy reading novels set in Victorian times and I’ve read all his previous work. It doesn’t seem to be as easy to sit down and focus on a book as it used to be but winter is an excellent time to coax myself into it.

I guess what I’m going for is to make the most of the opportunities I have in this season so that I’ll be ready for spring in reasonably good shape while giving myself some comfort and stimulation now instead of feeling deprived and focusing on what I can’t do.

Seventy Degrees

A touch of spring fever today and I’ll be rambling here.

There was paperwork that needed to be done earlier and I opened my window in the living room because I had to stay in. There are no screens, which never, ever would have worked back in the Midwest. When I first moved here I marveled at the lack of flying insects. One day it came up in conversation that yeah, they ultra-spray the entire downtown area. Not good, but I won’t move because of it. The window is only open about three inches but my concern is that a bird will get in here.

When I got the work done I went out for a walk and in order to have more of a purpose I went to the grocery store. If it seems like my life revolves around food, well it kinda does. I haven’t eaten ice cream for a long time so I got a new Ben & Jerry’s flavor called Late Night Snack. I will write about how I liked it when I try it.

The online gaming I do–FooPets–yes, adults like it too–has made a lot of more changes and the members are freaking out in the forums. Admittedly the company doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing and it is chaotic and annoying. But when you read the posts about how distraught the members are and then realize what all is going on in the world, it’s kind of bizarre. I guess people need their outlets and everyone is at different stages of growth.

Another thing that has got my attention is the Bob Parsons drama. I like to read books about the changes in business, customer service, the economy and entrepreneurial stuff. I don’t blog about it because I have nothing to add and I don’t really do anything with it now. Of the books that talk about domain names, many mention GoDaddy. I don’t see the ads on t.v. but have looked at the video blogs by Bob Parsons, which actually make sense although the style is quite different.

Anyway, Mr. Parsons seems to have had quite a life and has just made a PR error. I’m not judging him at all here, my point is how things can change suddenly. It seems he used to be in the military. There are companies who take people on big game hunts and this had to do with Zimbabwe and a “problem elephant” that had been trampling the crops of a starving village–people who get little protein. Whatever the justification or not, Bob shot the elephant and posted a video blog of it. It also shows the natives slaughtering it to a soundtrack of heavy metal music. Wow. People are name-calling and also going to the trouble of moving their web-hosting and other accounts. This isn’t going away.

I guess my point with this is that it’s important to be aware and make conscious decisions. We all need to be paying attention to upgrading our perceptions and to give thought to what we’re demonstrating in the world.

Updates

The three basil seedlings are still alive. They don’t get enough sun and are spindly so I keep turning them. I plucked a leaf off one that seemed to be weighing it down. I ate the leaf and didn’t get much of a taste.

I’ve watched episodes three and four of Edwardian Farm. (It’s awkward the way I watch them on YouTube.) Alex has learned to repair and make hedgerows. The tool he used was shown being forged. Ruth cleaned and disinfected the privy for use. The walls inside were painted with something white which helped disinfect as well as make it easier to see in the dark. Two floppy-eared sows were brought to put in the pig sty next to the privy to assist in composting. They were painted with a waxy substance to protect their skin. Rooting around, they seemed happy and oblivious to whatever was going on outside of what was in front of their noses.

Peter began a trout hatchery. About 1500 eggs were harvested from one trout and she was released back into the stream. It seemed quite a laborious project, making pitch to coat the wooden hatchery and cutting down trees and sawing the lumber for it.

A tractor was borrowed to plow the field. It is the oldest working tractor in the world. Only 500 were made because they were extremely expensive.

Ruth also prepared toilet paper out of newspaper. She has a surprise secret project going–picking sloe from the hedgerow, mixing it with sugar and gin and at Christmas will have sloe gin to share. That was unusual because temperance was being pushed during the time period.

And if you’re still reading this far–on a personal note, I had a consultation with an expert today who recognized that I’m doing very well with the hand I’ve been dealt. I know this to be true and also that it isn’t apparent to the world. I was told that I’m the “gutsiest person” she’s ever met. True. I know it down to my toes.

Peregrine Falcon Cam

The falcons with their distinctive sound have been active in my area lately. The webcam watching them went up yesterday http://www.peregrinefund.org/falconcam/ and I like to check it out several times a day.

For the last nine years they’ve been nesting on a tenth story ledge that mimics the cliffs they use in the wild. Last year all four chicks survived which isn’t always what happens in the heart of downtown. Learning to fly is a challenge as there are buildings and electrical wires to crash into. While the young birds are learning to hunt, the rest of the bird population, whose songs I so enjoy now, get wiped out in the area around me.

It’s rewarding to have a bit of the wild in this area and these odd-looking birds have a lot of fans around here. The sound for the webcam will be up soon (a lot of sirens will be heard) and it requires a plug-in easily downloaded. I’ll remind you all of it when the first egg is laid.

Edwardian Farm

A few months ago, I greatly enjoyed the BBC show Victorian Farm which someone posted in videos on YouTube. The DVD’s which are available on Amazon do not play in my regions’s DVD players.

The two archeologists, Peter and Alex, and historian Ruth, lived for a year on a farm they worked as the Victorians did for a year, like a documentary/reality show. After checking back a few times, someone has now posted the episodes of Edwardian Farm which I’ve begun watching. It’s all I can do to keep from staying up into the wee hours of the morning watching more of it.

The Edwardian era in England was from about 1901 when Queen Victoria died to about 1914 while King Edward the 7th was on the throne, ending about the time of the first World War. (This was about six years before my Dad was born here in America). I’m guessing that King Edward was the grandfather of the “King’s Speech” King.

Anyway, it’s fascinating. They’ve already brought in farm animals. Ruth scrubbed the kitchen floor with a brush on her hands and knees and said that women would do that twice a day in that era. (It doesn’t sound like my ancestors would have but never mind that.)

The soil is acidic and the men hauled tons (literally) of limestone to nearby kilns to burn into quick lime to spread on the field. Much of the men’s work so far has seemed very dangerous to me. The quick lime business let off toxic carbon monoxide and if gotten wet could cause an explosion or caustic burns.

A heavy granite rock was carved into a feed trough to keep the sheep food off the ground. It was moved in a very laborious way of the times.

One of the meals that Ruth cooked was a sheep’s head soup and it was gross to see the actual head on the table and later when the soup was done. Most of the meat during the time seems to have been sold and what was left for the farmers were such as the head.

The chimney was clogged up and Alex climbed up on the roof while Peter and Ruth were helping near the stove below to unclog it. Fortunately, Alex couldn’t bring himself to use the chicken–yes, he was holding a live chicken to throw down the chimney to unclog it–and they ended up using a bunch of holly instead. Another dirty job.

Ruth spent hours out in the field cutting gorse to feed the horses. It looked rough but they stomp on it first and eat it.

This is what I remember from watching–me of the not-so-great-memory–and I will attempt to ration my enjoyment of it to make the episodes last. There’s always the chance that YouTube will shut down the account like they tend to do. While I enjoy watching, I am certain I would not want to live that lifestyle after living as I do now.

Kilauea

The videos of the new volcanic activity in Hawaii are bringing back memories of my visit to Kilauea. Driving through the area, it was as though we were on a different planet. Seeing the steam coming through the fissures near the road dispelled any temptation to get out of the car and walk around.
I recall it affected my breathing being near the area and it felt like my heart was beating a little too loud. My friend got some berries or flowers, I don’t recall which, for us to give the traditional offering to Pele. The raw power can be felt in the area but I wanted to appear cool around people who live with it all the time.
The experience of the Big Island and Oahu, which are the two islands I’ve been to, seemed quite different than what I expected.
The past few years I’ve enjoyed the streaming video of the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival which is coming up soon. It’s something I stay up until two and three in the morning to watch.
I would like to go back someday. It was the flight home from there that was the last straw in my energy level and that is the low point that I’m still bouncing back from.

Interesting Times

It turned out to be a lovely day, sunny and relatively warm by late afternoon after an unpromising morning. In February I still appreciate these kinds of days and hopefully in March I won’t feel let down on the days with less pleasant weather.

An old friend from a different time-zone called last night and we talked until 2:30 a.m. my time. There were some belly laughs too, worth missing sleep for.

I’m feeling optimistic even though I noticed an alarming headline about the U.N. predicting 50 million environmental refugees by 2020. Against my better judgement, I read the article. Locally, the cost of many fresh produce items has doubled and sometimes tripled recently because of weather events in the Southwest. Believing that fresh produce has more nutritional value than frozen and canned, I choose that as much as possible. And am really looking forward to the farmer’s market.

We all need to be learning new things and we’re way more courageous than we tend to give ourselves credit for.

Sixtythree

The temperature was sixty three here today, a record breaker for my area I believe. There was a choice for me–be outdoors or stay in and be structured and goal-focused. Well.

When I’m flexible, things seem to go better. And I think I’m getting overloaded with information and inspiration and opinions again. My mind is naturally curious but most of what I read is from younger, healthier, more confident and driven people. Maybe I should just take a break and live my life without being so vigilant about it. That comes from post traumatic stress and growing up with crisis and drama. As an empath, I felt like I needed to be the lightening rod and diffuse everyone’s discomfort.

I enjoy reading blogs here but like I said, maybe I should take a break the rest of the week.

I had a paperwork meltdown today. Much of the crop insurance and farm related paperwork I deal with is boring beyond belief. The environmental poisoning that makes me look like I have MS, also affects my speech and cognitive function. I work really, really hard at not letting my current condition inconvenience others and at being accurate with my transactions with them. Even this blog–I edit, check spelling and punctuation as best I can and try to make some sense.

Today my farm bureau membership dues invoice came and there were inaccuracies again. This happens a lot and inconveniences and upsets me. It takes energy that really diminishes my day. The ironic thing is that I’m considered unemployable at this time because I can’t meet anyone’s needs, yet much of what I receive from so-called competent people is messed up. For years I worked in customer service and I don’t recall it being O.K. to have the attitude that some of these folks have.

I guess that turned into a rant? So, I’m glad I enjoyed the outdoors today. Yes, that is what I chose. This is my life, weird as it is and I want to make the most of it. That does not include pushing myself into diminishing returns.

Basil Seedlings in Empty Sushi Roll Greenhouse

a promising beginning

basil seedlings/empty sushi roll greenhouse

These are basil seedlings–my “garden” for 2011. They were germinated in an empty sushi roll container that I carefully washed. I poked needle holes into the clear top but they weren’t large enough to make a difference so I left the lid on loosely and lifted it several times a day to let more oxygen in.

My apartment is not at all good for growing things but the seeds came free in a magazine subscription offer. The magazine is the first time ever I’ve been offered a senior discount (I’m 56) which I noted with amusement. Having a bag of potting soil and some decorative pots, I stuck a few seeds in one. That didn’t work out so well, mostly because of watering–making sure the soil stayed moist enough yet not washing the seedlings away. The best little “greenhouse” I ever had was a children’s educational toy which for lack of space I’ve long ago donated somewhere.

Soon the seedlings will need to be transplanted and the pots they’re going to be in aren’t really large enough. I may be harvesting the leaves when they are still quite small.

Last summer, I dried some leaves on a little bamboo mat, stored them in a corked glass container, then used them in early winter. There’s several seeds left so this might turn into an enjoyable little project for me.

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