"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Zen-ing Out


If you mindfully try to tune into mind,
you will definitely be unable to tune in.
—Foyan (1067-1120)

I no longer care that my dishwasher has been broken since Jan. 18.

What you must do is live in harmony  with it.—Ibid

I am at peace, even though the extended warranty company is unable find anyone to fix my dishwasher.

If you say you are in tune with the ancients,
the ancients are gone.--Ibid

 I will not bother customer no-service again, even if it doesn’t get repaired until summer.

Now tell me, what is the source of mind,
 to which one tunes in on one’s own?—Ibid.


There is no reason to have a super quiet, energy efficient Jenn Air dishwasher operational in this house.

You have to tune in with mindless mind.—Ibid.

There is no reason for a dishwasher when the entire septic system, from where it exits the house in a six inch cast iron pipe, through the large holding tank, including the lift station pump and floats, and the leach field is one solid block of ice that will not thaw out until the Fourth of July.

Make me one with everything.
—Zen Buddhist to the hot dog stand guy.

Well, perhaps not with the septic system. 
Nor with the red pail in which I pee.  
Nor the half a pizza and four oatmeal cookies I ate tonight just for spite, 
although that might come to be.

As soon as there is an affirmation,
then there is a denial—Foyan

Photo taken at the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang, China, site of more than 2100 niches portraying more than 100,000 statues, most of which are of Buddha.  the site is on the US World Heritage List.

(Anyone who lives south of 33°  N latitude is encouraged to invite Gullible to be their house guest for the duration.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

For Christchurch, New Zealand

 Weep today for Christchurch

 Weep today for Christchurch

Weep for her cathedral's spire now crumbled on the ground

 Weep today for Christchurch

Weep for all that lies in ruins

Weep today for Christchurch

Weep for her kindly folks

 Weep today for Christchurch

Weep for those who now are lost

Weep today for Christchurch

Weep for her struggle ahead

Weep today for Christchurch

Weep for her devastation

Weep today for Christchurch

Weep for this gentle town 

Weep today for Christchurch
Weep for friends who laid before us a banquet of green mussels and hogget
Weep for lovely Christchurch
In this hour of her despair

Monday, February 21, 2011

Quick! Call Nine-One-One!!!

Good afterno-o-o-o-n-n-n-n, Boys and Girls, fellow Bloggers, and all of you out there who follow our scintillating site of cogent cognition and utter nonsense.

We’re blogging at you today from Gullible’s semi-private suite in the Seward-town hospital. Yes, siree-e-e-e, we’re all wrapped in gauze and plaster of Paris today, but at least the fingers still work and with the miracle of Wi-Fi and a saline drip mixed with goodies, we’re here to tell you of Gully’s latest madcap adventure.

What the heck. A busted femur, sprained neck, and a wee little concussion can’t stop the Gull from bringing you the very latest scuttlebutt from the Land of Medicare. So here it is, live from Bloggerville.

See, Gully has this theory that once you’ve done something, you’ll always remember. Wait. She said to reword that so it doesn’t include car keys, cell phones, and …. What? Wha’d ya say, Gully? Oh, yeah. Well, uh, let’s leave it at car keys and cell phones for now.

She says once you’ve learned how to DO something—like ride a bicycle—you’ll always remember. Now, Gully didn’t get in this fix riding a bicycle. No death on a bicycle for old Gully.

No sir, Gully chose a more mundane method of achieving the same result. Or near the same result. She ain’t croaked yet, boys and girls, and fellow bloggers, even though she looks like she went bungee jumping from the fourth floor without the bungee.

What she did was lace on a pair of ice skates for the first time in thirty years. That was after she drove her truck onto the lake ice, turned left and drove a quarter mile to where there was a wee patch of wind-swept ice. Then, she strapped on the blades. Brand new blades.

Lest you think her totally insane, she did take some precautions. She turned on her cell phone—the one with the cracked plastic cover—and pre-dialed 911. All she had to do was push the send button if and when things went awry.

So, here’s the full report from Gully about how much ice skating has changed since she was a kid:

1. It’s freaking cold there on the lake with the wind blowing. Too bad that old boiler of a volcano across Cook Inlet couldn’t belch a cloud of steam and warm things up a bit.

2. It took her longer to get dressed to go skating than she actually skated, and she was so totally color coordinated until she put on a red neoprene face mask.

3. Ice skates aren’t made for feet with bunions.

4. Snow-covered drifts on ice are just like runaway truck off ramps in that they bring your to a quick halt.

All fogged up.
5. Rough ice slashed with bottomless scars of pressure cracks makes you wish you were closer to shore. However, wearing a face mask while wearing glasses means the glasses fog up with the first exhalation, thereby obscuring any danger signs.

And, finally,

6. There isn’t anything quite like being on a vast, frozen lake ringed with mountains, in the middle of the afternoon with the sun finally parting with a couple degrees of warmth, while up above a still visible waxing moon punctuates an impossibly blue sky. Or is it a waning moon? Well, it’s a moon.

And that’s it from Gullible’s world today, fellow bloggers. Tune in tomorrow when we’ll chat with Gully about her plan to take up alpine skiing again.

 But then, when she got home and took off the North Face insulated snow pants, she noticed a bluge in the back pocket.  Inside....

Don't ya love finding stuff like this in pockets?

(I made it all up, guys. The only thing true about it is that I did go skating with my new skates after driving onto the lake. Also finding the money and the six things I learned are true.  This whole shenanigan came about as a result of a writing prompt that specified including these words:  death on a bicycle, 4th floor, cracked plastic, scar, old boiler, and waning moon.)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mid-Month Miscellany


 Yes, I did.

 And here are the contents of the back pocket, all laid out to dry.

Rather reminds me of the time I washed my husband's wallet...   No pictures of that occasion.   Not exactly a Kodak moment.


When I began as a substitute mail carrier, I wondered about dogs on the route.   Dogs and mail carriers are supposed to be natural born enemies, you see. 

 But all the dogs on the route would come running with wagging tails and excited eyes when they saw the familiar maroon Honda.  I soon discovered the secret.

Small Milkbones. 

And Ivy knew they were in the car somewhere.  She didn't rest until the few I had were gone.

Then she crawled in back and went to sleep along with fellow housedog Bella.


Sun.  Streaming into my kitchen.  Sun, for the first time since mid-November.

Welcome back.


Whatever gave you that idea?


Monday, Valentine's Day, I invested $7 in two bags of Hershey's foil wrapped chocolate hearts.  Everywhere I went that day, I handed out chocolates and wished all the recipients a happy Valentine's Day.  I gave them to friends, sporting goods store clerks, sandwich makers at Subway, the kids across the road from me.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Life Lesson

There was a remarkable photo by Hasan Jamali, The Associated Press, printed in today's Anchorage Daily News.  It shows five Bahraini women waiting outside a hospital for news of loved ones injured during the on-going protests in that country.

What struck me about the photo is how the women's postures offer a pictorial lesson for living a highly regarded life:

Woman on far right:  See no evil.

Woman next right:  Hear no evil.

Woman on far left:  Speak no evil.
Two women:  Give lots of hugs.

Valentine's Day Postprandials, Part Three

More friends, more visits, more reaching into the pocket for the foil-wrapped chocolate hearts I was handing out everywhere.  Lots of smiles in return.

I learned beer tastes better with peanuts than with chocolate.  No, I didn't.  I'd learned that a long time ago.  But the peanuts at the Bird House went just fine with a glass of lite beer.  As did the conversation with an old friend while we talked about other old friends who had birthdays this week that were going to make them even older. 

We're talking 76 and 84, and I'm still trying to figure out how it's come to be that I'm hanging out with such old people.

Then the day went to the dogs....

The back end of a dog team truck.

Each doggie has his own little straw-lined compartment.

And a side view of that truck.

At the next intersection, were these two nosy dogs....

Look, guys, it's almost zero and your human is driving around town with a window half open?

A huge molten gold sun was beginning to set behind me as I headed out of town and along Turnagain Arm.

Mauve and pale blue ahead of me to the east....

Lemon yellow behind me in the side mirror....

Darker mauve and darker blue 35 miles farther along the Arm.

Then brilliant tangerine.....

When I reached home it was dark.  I put away my purchases  and started emptying jacket pockets.

I still had some chocolate hearts left.  I'd been passing them out all day, wherever I went, to friends, store clerks and complete strangers.  I laid them out on my kitchen counter, turned them all right side up, and remembered all the special smiles those candies had brought.

Then I ate the rest of the candy.  Well, what the heck.  It was Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's Day Postprandials, Part Two

 (Continued from Part One)

 Death wish?  Me?  Impossible.  I couldn't have a death wish; I'm having too much fun to want to end it all.

Yet, right at the top of my shopping list was one item of incontrovertible evidence.  As I drove down L Street toward Spenard, I thought about all this and what it meant.  I remembered my last shopping trip to Anchorage, some six weeks ago.

I'd needed a new pair of indoor shoes, something easy-on, easy-off, with no laces.  I pushed my shopping cart  past the shoe department at Fred Meyer's and saw a bunch of sale signs, along with bright gold coupons for additional savings.

And there they were, the perfect indoor shoes, marked down for sale, plus an additional discount with the coupon.

 Cool, snazzy, and unusual.  No laces, no Velcro straps.  Slip on, slip off.   And, if I happened to forget and wore them outdoors, the soles were waterproof.

 There was just one peculiarity about these shoes. 

These are the new rage.  They're called "fitness shoes" or "wellness shoes."  They're also known as rocker-style shoes "because the negative heel (lower than the toe) and curved bottom results in a gait that, the companies claim, improves posture and creates a natural instability that forces your buttocks and thighs to work harder."

"Natural instability." On sale or not, I don't need rocker style shoes to give me "natural instability."     Whatever athletic abilities I once possessed have long since been left on playing fields of many kinds.

That might have something to do with why my tour guide in Tibet almost fainted when I climbed up this rock wall .....

...to photograph these flowers:

The shoes also are supposed to increase calorie burn, and since my get-ready-to-hibernate-for-the-winter metabolism has resulted in regaining half of the weight I lost last summer, I'm all for increased calorie burn.

Once at home, I slipped them on.  Ahhhh. I've never put on a pair of Dr. Scholl's shoes yet that didn't feel wonderful.  I survived five hours of walking around, up and down stairs, in and out of the garage.  I didn't fall once.

Nothing to it, I thought.

Then I started a shopping list for my next visit to Anchorage, the one I was reading now, the one with the evidence pointing towards a death wish.

I reached the store I needed and walked inside.

"May I help you?"  asked a nice young man as soon as I entered.

I told him what I was after.

"For yourself?" he said.

"Yes.  I need another concussion," I replied.  He laughed and led me to the right area of the store.  That's where I chose these:

The clerk and I walked up to the cash register with my selection, where I handed over my credit card and and a handful of those foil-wrapped Valentine's Day chocolates.  They brought a smile, a very soft, tender, slightly abashed smile.

Then I stopped a lady with two children and gave her some candies.  Another lady with three kids got a handful, also.  "Here," I said.  "If I don't give these away, I'll eat them.  Happy Valentine's Day."  Well, does one really need an excuse to give heart-shaped candy to strangers on Valentine's Day?

Then some to another clerk.  Everybody in the store was smiling as I walked out the door into the sunshine.

Death wish?  I don't think so.  Just some more adventure and memories of a childhood spent ice skating on the pond behind our home in Woodland Park.

That's me pulling the sled with my two little sisters on it.  My younger brother is in the fur hat in front of me.  Don't know who the other kid is.  That's funny....the big bank on the top right doesn't seem to be as tall as I remember.  Must be an optical illusion.
(to be continued)