Bad Hardware Hacker

Negative in, negative out. Drop, like a steaming hot potato, all the things that aggravate. No more buying in to things that aren’t good. Good in, good out. That’s the ticket from now on.
Does someone want us all mad? Mad-not-glad and crazy-mad. There is no point or value being any kind of made-up-by-another mad. It’s your brain, you can choose to be either mad or glad but you’ll find it’s pretty hard to be neither.
It’s too hard to be glad when everything that’s coming in is maddening — so, the only hope is not to let the mad come in even if there is a little glad being served on the side. Glad is easy enough to make up on your own — like vegan salad dressing.
And mad can be something as simple as being aggravated when someone speaks about nothing but sports when you hate sports — so, let go of those who only speak of sports if you don’t like it unless you can ignore their speaking sports while still listening to their other things. There is a trick. Some people really can — listen and not listen or listen and not care. But if it’s like a constant, random drip akin to country music and if you don’t like country music either, lop it off at the quick.
Drip, drip, drip.
If one thinks the same thoughts, day in and day out, software turns to hardware and the loop that’s then been made, makes it hard to see that it has turned bad. Hacking hardware is mighty hard and takes a lot of training, so it might be easier to only let good in from the start. But don’t give up, if a change is really hoped for.
Good in, good in, good in. Eventually, good outnumbers mad or bad that is already in.
Become a fierce and mighty bad hardware hacker.
Good in, good in, good in.


Home For Christmas

     Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can. ~ Danny Kaye
     The same Danny Kaye who danced and charmed all throughout the musical movie, “White Christmas”, with Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen.
     I grew up with that movie as well as with Bing Crosby’s album, “Merry Christmas”.
To me, Christmas isn’t Christmas without them both and the minute I play the album or watch the movie, I am a little girl in the home I grew up in with my mother and two sisters and our sometimes and all too infrequent, (when he was a part), father.
     We almost always had a Douglas Fir tree with colored electric lights and it wasn’t complete without icicles. Our mother wasn’t happy until she fashioned a make-believe fireplace with crepe paper printed like bricks that would go around the table that the tree sat on and our three identical lightweight printed stretchy cotton stockings were hung, somehow, from that make-believe fireplace. I don’t recall if there were stockings hanging for our parents, but there was always one for Susie Q, our calico cat. She got a can or two of “Kitty Queen”, liver, in hers and I don’t remember what else — probably some catnip. She loved “Kitty Queen” and we loved to spoil her. She grew up with us and is featured in many of the images of my youth — usually one of us is holding her.
     My younger sister and I used to love to lie on the floor, under the tree and look up into round ornaments hanging on the low limbs to see ourselves distorted. We’d laugh our heads off and we just loved the smell and the gorgeous array of colored lights and their flickers on the silver streams and colored balls. If we weren’t lying there, we were sitting right in front of the tree rocking in our little maple rockers.
     We chewed holes in corners of presents that were wrapped and put out early trying to guess what was inside. I remember getting a little piece gone from one and upon seeing the box, knowing, without a doubt, what it was and being so disappointed with myself for not waiting. It was something I wanted, a camera I think, and I was so sorry for missing the surprise. I quit chewing holes in presents.
     Our mother absolutely loved Christmas. She saved everything we needed for a year to wrap so we would have plenty to excite us as we waltzed through the hall door Christmas morning. She continued the event way past us being children and would always let us each pick out one main big thing that she would somehow find the money for. She had wonderful credit and integrity and everyone trusted her completely.
     One year she was arranging to purchase a sewing machine for my older sister and I started begging for one too. It was I that sewed the most, but my sister was of a certain age that my mother was preparing her for having the essentials. She got us both one. Mine was used to death. I don’t know if my older sister ever used hers. I’m sure she did, somewhere along the line. Mine became an extension of my career  and I have no idea what I would have become if my dear mother hadn’t recognized the need to charge two that year.
     Oh, it would be so wonderful to be able to go home for Christmas again. I suppose people with children relive theirs but I never see one that resembles any that I’ve known. The same spirit just doesn’t seem to be there.
     The movie, “White Christmas”, was made the year I was born, 1954 so I probably heard it on a TV as an infant. I know my mother played the album as far back as I can remember.
     The Christmas year that I realized that I was really growing up was the one that my younger sister and I dressed up like grown up girls, bras and all, (we had to stuff them), and danced around the living room like we had boyfriends to the “Merry Christmas” album — we were probably 8 and 9. I recall not liking it at all and wanting to get out of those clothes as fast as I could — I wasn’t ready to leave being a child — as much as I may have thought I was.
     Sometimes I get a Christmas tree. I wait till the last minute when they are practically being given away. I get one as much to use to let the cutter ants tear it apart as it decays because they really seem to like if for making their fungus-derived food. But while it lasts, I have the smell and dress it up with balls so I can recall the years my sister and I saw ourselves distorted. I don’t use icicles because they are just too messy and they’re made of plastic and don’t decompose.
     I always play the “Merry Christmas” album and dance around in memories. It makes me sad sometimes that so much is gone and that there are none left from my life to reminisce with — but I am so glad that those memories were made for hanging onto — paint on canvas.
     There is no envy in watching others make new memories with new families. We have what we have. They are doing what my mother did and painting canvases for their children — a modern type of Christmas art it seems.
     I prefer the old one. I think it has aged very well. I’m not so sure that modern children will hold on to theirs for long.

An Unwelcome Interruption

That dread of Monday that is pervasive in American culture is little different from any dread of doing a thing one favors not to do. I still wake up daily with an overarching, ingrained dread that must be dispelled from thinking patterns in order for it not to interfere with freedoms that are far greater a part of existence inherent in a life of chosen radical simplicity than not — it’s easy to forget what one absolutely doesn’t have to do. It might be something as simple as the school bell ringing across the street or the trashman’s  truck approaching that a trigger will go off in my mind that makes me want to hide — to escape any sense of responsibility for answering to anything other than a course of willing engagement — exactly the reason why I chose to simplify my life so that I could have those freedoms. 

I have a fence around my yard and a gate that stays locked. It is locked because there is a rather consistent parade of assorted people walking on the sidewalk all along the north margin of the property line on the outside of the fence. I had dogs and I was afraid some random accidental or intentional mishap might leave the gate flung open and one of the pups could and likely would go into the street and be hurt. But it became apparent to me that it was also a benefit to know that I couldn’t be surprised by the ringing of my doorbell without due warning and that that gave me an immense sense of freedom that I didn’t want to forfeit even after there were no longer dogs.

The dread of Monday is the alarm for the coming of an unwelcome interruption. It may not be that one hates their job. They may — but more likely is that they hate being interrupted from just being what they want to be. I personally loved Mondays because, for most of my career, I had them off.  And, I semi-retired somewhat early in life and kind of made my own hours — so I could keep Monday’s from being dreadful and pick a different day to dread instead.

Even knowing, this morning, that I was likely going to attend the event I did and enjoy it, the dread still hovered when I first got up. Going meant I should groom my hair and make some eyebrows and fit proper clothes and remind myself not to forget the phone or lock the doors or turn off the coffee — all things that interrupt the normal flow that is akin to the front doorbell buzzing or the trashman reminding me that I, once again, forgot to put a bin out if I needed too — which, by the way is seldom — voluntary radical simplicity has its benefits.

All in all the dread was worth the compromise of eyebrow putting on and going out the front door to engage with other’s expectations. I’m glad it isn’t every day and that I have a choice. Having the choice makes all the difference.

Three girls who are really three old ladies now, drove in a car to have Thanksgiving dinner at one of the three’s church today. It was a lovely day of girl gab and story telling. One story I recalled because of something one of the other two said, was of how AWFUL it was to me, once upon a time in my career, that I was reduced to having to try to look busy all the time — which sometimes meant just waltzing up and down aisles over and over and over again trying to look like I was doing something. Oh. My. Gosh. I’d rather have my front doorbell ring without due notice — like when a certain feller/friend jumps the locked gate — there are all kinds of prisons to be in. That was prison and I escaped as soon as I could find the chisel.

It’s good advice to pick a different day than Monday for starting off a work week so that Monday doesn’t have to be so dreadful after all.







Grateful For You

This is just a quick check-in to wish you all a happy day today wherever you are in the world. In America, we are celebrating something I don’t agree deems being celebrated — especially not by mistreating en masse and then killing a helpless animal to be able to say Grace, but it is always worthwhile to have an opportunity to give thanks.
I want to say that this has been a real challenge to me to do but I have loved it just the same. I am well aware of the shallow value of many of the posts if not all of them — but I did confess, early on, that this has been carved out as a space where I can Practice, practice, practice twisting and using words and be accountable for the commitment that I made.
I am so grateful for the following that has accrued and for each and every one of your likes or missing likes.
I hope I make it the whole year, but I’ve been known to quit a thing.
I also hope to write another post later today. This is strictly for the intent to recognize the value that you all have been in my process.
I’m off to drive some other oldies to a church gathering buffet feast. I will likely eat salad there as I don’t eat meat. I didn’t want to be alone today, so I’m dragging my extreme-introvert self out to be a part of another world. Maybe I’ll come home with a story.
Anyhoo, Happy Day and Thank You so much for being here to help keep me company and accountable.
I’m very Grateful for you. ❤

Panther-Looking Cat

There was a giant panther lying on its haunches in the back yard facing away from me so that what I first saw was its back and head and ears. I started to reach down to pat it, thinking it was the stray that reminded me of a panther that has been recently traversing my yards. As soon as I realized that it wasn’t a little kitty — the same time I saw my indoor cat had gotten out and was meandering around with her butt in the air like she was trying to attract the panther — I scooped her up and gingerly walked back into the house through the closest door. Then I realized that I was dreaming.
I’ve read lately that dreaming is an indication that one isn’t sleeping — at least, not sleeping well. But I have also read that being vegan cures almost any ill. I’m not finding that to be as true as so many others do and it’s alarming. I can’t think of what else to do but I keep trying.
Recently my back gave out and forced me to stop in my always-busy-doing-something tracks. It’s been extremely tempting to become depressed with thoughts that I will never be the same. The dread of things getting worse is overwhelming thoughts of better hopes. It’s a real struggle and not at all good constantly ruminating those unpleasant waves of doubt.
One of my friends said, “I’ve always thought it was all a bunch of hooey,” and by that she meant, my trying to eat better. I’m sure my meat-eating friends will say my troubles are all due to not eating meat. Dr. Roby (Fitt) Mitchell will probably advise to quit eating fruit because sugar in the diet, so he says, is what increases insulin resistance and that insulin resistance is at the root of all our ills. Dr. McDougall and many of my other food gurus will say, cut out any added salt and don’t eat liquid, processed fat, (and certainly not meat) because fat is what’s the real culprit in insulin resistance after all is said and done and all the studies are revealed. Does anybody really know — that’s all I want to know.
So, since not eating meat is not an option to change, I’m trying to figure out if I can be my own placebo. Lately I’ve been trying to let fears rush over me to see if I can find what might really be behind them — and then change that poor thinking like any good vegan would instead of eating any meat.
The latest book I bought to try to think better says that we only think we’re getting sick because we see so many others buying into that kind of thinking and we think that it is normal when in truth, he says, it isn’t normal at all — quite the contrary. And the placebo man says he healed a broken back with just positive thoughts — believing he could direct his genes to do what he asked them to. I tend to believe he’s not lying. I think we fall far short of being what we can be.
As with most dreams, actions are often thwarted — feet get stuck in concrete. In the dream, after I scooped the cat and brought her and me back inside the house, I tried to call animal control. There was some kind of contraption on the phone to make it easier for someone other than me to us like a shorthand for the buttons under it — as if pushing buttons on a phone isn’t easy enough. Once the contraption came off, the buttons still wouldn’t push right and whoever I got, a policewoman it seemed, couldn’t seem to find the right solution. She kept asking me questions instead of sending someone out. Fortunately, I woke up right after that and by then the panther disappeared — except for the little panther-looking cat.
So, what’s the moral of the story: any day we wake up is a good day because that means there’s another day to seek the truth. And maybe, just maybe, the bad back is trying to tell me how to be my own placebo because the only way might be to slow down enough to read the book and let waves of fear rush over me and see what they mean. And maybe too, just maybe, it’s time to try to be an artist again instead of always moving heavy things around the garden.


Wait Until Tomorrow

Do you have a knack for doing this or that?
I bought a pair of handmade shoes at a store called the Knack in San Francisco the year of the summer I spent there doing art. They really had a knack for making handmade shoes. I was hoping to have a knack for doing art. The judge hasn’t made a ruling yet.
Some people have a knack for failing but failing can be a success in the long run so maybe the real knowing if success or failure is better at the beginning of an adventure is whether or not you have a better knack for knowing or not knowing which is better. It’s really all a gamble no matter what the tendency.
For every day I don’t fail to follow through with the commitment to put something on this site that looks something like I tried to write, I haven’t brought back my old knacks for knowing how to procrastinate and not follow through. But every day the tendency gets greater. It’s like standing on the edge of a cliff and thinking that you want to jump instead of step back.
Maybe I’ll wait until tomorrow not to do it.

Perfectly Well Backward

“Celery,” he decided to call her. He was giving them each nicknames probably because he was having trouble remembering their real names. He wasn’t that old, probably something close to forty, one way or the other — but since they were just fifteen or sixteen, he seemed old to them.
The first thought that entered her mind was that he thought she was a vegetable —  a thing with no brain. He was teaching her how to drive, along with two other students — one boy and another girl. The girl she knew from her classes — the boy she didn’t. They were doing eights around markers in the parking lot, backing up with the automatic transmission in reverse.
“Once you can drive perfectly well backward, we’ll go forward,” he said. It seemed like they did those backward eights for days and days. It was all after school but they all got real good at doing crazy eights.
“Where’s the fire?” he asked her.
She didn’t know what he meant. There was that missing brain thing haunting her again.
“You’re going too fast,” he said. Then she realized that she was speeding down the highway and her teacher was trying to be a comic. She was pretty brave going forward now after all that backing up in the parking lot. The teacher was the brave one, sitting there so peacefully while they each took their turn as baby drivers.
He gave each of them a turn for a long distance every time they went out and they always went quite far. He must have made them change along the way because there were only three of them and he never drove and it would have been four trips — there, back, there and back again otherwise — somehow evening out each of their time at the wheel somehow in the long run. They stopped to look at scenery and have snacks along the way from time to time — sometimes down in canyons running beside railroad tracks way out in the boonies.
He never did reveal why he’d picked that name for her — Celery — probably just because it somehow sounded like her real name but what possible context had he found to associate her name with a vegetable? Vegetables don’t have brains and she was depressed at the time — so, a lot of the time she had a feeling that her brain was missing. It was probably depressive paranoia and she was just projecting what she thought he was thinking. Depressives can be high achiever nonetheless — so, of course, it wasn’t surprising that she aced her driving test and her teacher applauded in his silent way, saying her Celery name with a big smile while he handed her the certificate. She could feel a sense of fondness in his voice as he told her how well she had done compared to the others. She liked to please and be applauded by adults —  the good girl, the nice girl.
She would later be the goodbye girl — always saying goodbye to someone — trying to be a high achiever didn’t always pay off. **


** (If you feel this has any merit for continuing, vote with a “like” — otherwise, it shall be filed and remain in the Practice, practice, practice bin.)

Mother Of Invention

And just like that, suddenly it wasn’t as hard to turn to the left or right without cringing. I shall love my aching joints and rejoice in the fact that the back may be in recovery. I shall promise to get the dolly to move 5 gallon buckets full of soil and tomatoes from now on and sing hallelujah every time I bend to retrieve a fallen item off the floor or scoop the kitty poop.
Things can always be worse, but they can also get better and waiting in grace has a big giant dose of good and wholesome measure — as depressing as being ailing can be, it’s better to think happy future thoughts instead of gruesome ones — as tempting as it is to believe something bad will never end.
I made a little room to be a house inside a house and spent my time there doing only what was absolutely needed — like watching movies and peeing in a bucket. At some points it was essential to shuffle to the kitchen for a piece of chocolate and a spoonful of peanut butter or some beans in a can and an avocado to eat to keep the nutrients, required for healing, flowing through the blood. It was hard to drink much water for the fear of needing the bucket — but water was more needed than avoiding the pain involved in pulling pants down — where are split-crotches when they’re needed or men’s undies and a hose?
Maybe the mother of invention is pain and trying to avoid it. Aren’t men lucky that they have attached hoses and cows because they can do it all while standing and probably have excellent backs unlike these weak ones made for humans.
It must be said that this is why we try so hard to have our houses in order because come the time that things aren’t easy, it’s easy to see that things in their right places are better than in ones where they can’t be found or reached right. And it’s so much better that things start off clean while waiting for a time that things can be cleaned again because that mountain to climb later would be more depressing than trying to pull pants down in a hurry while trying to scale that growing mountain in the meanwhile.
It’s easy to see now, too, that it’s important to keep a grabber handy. Toes work in a pinch though — so it’s important to keep those toes in shape for when they might be called upon. And now I know, things can be shimmied up a wall with a good stick or piece of PVC when everything else fails but forget about the toothpick on the floor until you can sweep again — just be sure not to let it splinter in your foot while you shuffle to the kitchen for chocolate.



and sing hallelujah

“I Ran Through Cow Poop and It Felt Great”


Meant To Say

I meant to say
“I hope you have a happy life”
The door was closed before I could
so all you heard was “Blah, blah, blah”
and all you saw was crying clinging eyes
before you made the other side
I meant to say
I meant to wish you well
You weren’t the same anyway
you had already gone
I wished me well without you
and heard every word.

Sit And Stew

The back is lame today, so I shall sit and stew – though there is no need for a bad back on any day for that excuse – to sit and stew – there are always things to worry
I went out instead because I didn’t want to give up on any living because of a lame back
I needed things and to pay a bill and get movies from the library – it’s the weekend after all
I decided to sit and stew a little later while watching those new borrowed movies
It wasn’t easy getting to and fro and it made me realize the importance to not have a lame back – especially if other joints aren’t working well either
And higher profile vehicles and tall toilets
I had more empathy for electric carts and slow movers and waiting for them crossing
My legs needed to be swung to keep the pressure off the lame back and it was hard to reach the car door to bring it back for closing
Someone said it’s probably due to the resent damp weather
I said, “I hope that’s all it is” – but I also said, “this is life” and, in my head, if it’s time for me to leave then so be it – I shall go – not because I want to but this is how it is
no one really knows if there’s really time
to sit and stew
But I shall let the music play on the phone alarm clock – because it’s far away and too hard to get back up to get it
It’s a good tune and it will go off soon enough
So I shall sit and view instead of sit and stew now though some vegan Irish stew would be a nice thing
The lame back just won’t let me.


vegan Irish stew

vegan Irish stew image courtesy: The Circus Gardener’s Kitchen