Oy! I did not mean to invoke politics in my last post. My “Thanks, Obama” was meant in this vein (if you’re not familiar with the meme, it’s very funny and obviously a joke, though my joke was obvious only in my own head). I certainly do not disparage those who’ve finally been able to get health insurance. I do think the ACA should have a different name and there’s a lot more work that needs to be done; health care is still not affordable to many. My heart broke and my blood boiled reading other people’s stories of crazy-expensive care in the comment section.

My first boyfriend was a young Republican (still is) who, during the mandatory high school reading period, read the Wall Street Journal which he carried around in lieu of a book. He wrote me lots of love notes and, beneath his signature, always added “Pat Buchanan in ’92!!!” or something equally horrifying. I was an anarchist hippy (still am); I spent that reading period with Anais Nin and got suspended for smoking pot at school. We were constantly debating – either debating or making out. One debate that I remember: I was using bicycles to make my point, as I was still too young to drive. My thesis statement was that everything should be free. If you needed a bicycle, and there was one sitting there on the sidewalk, it should be accepted that you could take it and ride it to where you needed to go and then leave it for the next person to use. And this extended to everything, all the time. He was like, “if everything were free, nobody would do anything” and I was like, “honor trumps money and cooperation trumps capitalism.” And then we glared at each other and then we made out.

I was not expecting the offers of donations after my last post. Not expecting – but also not surprised because you out there are wonderful to me. But at each mention, the response in my head was NO! No way. Thank you and you’re amazing and so generous and full of kindness and I love hearing your love but no.

When I rode my Vespa across the country, I received help from others nearly every day. People offered help in quick moments – giving directions or high fives – but equally often, they gifted me with major investments of time and trust. People I met on the road – in ice cream shops, coffee shops, gas stations, and bars – invited me into their homes, gave me a bed or a spot on the floor for my sleeping bag, fed me, let me soak in their tubs, offered up their washers and dryers. I never once had an internal debate about accepting their generosity. My response was purely “WOW!” and “THANK YOU.”

But money is weird. There’s a lot of superstition around money. There was an early morning ambulance call a few months ago, a terrible rollover – I’m guessing the driver swerved to avoid a deer and lost control. His Bronco flipped and rolled multiple times. The solo driver was thrown through the windshield and was killed instantly. His belongings were scattered all over the road, tossed from the vehicle during the rolls as every window blasted out. I, too, have a Bronco, and a vehicle like that becomes like a storage locker – it’s really easy to accumulate a lot of random cargo. Since there was nothing we could do as EMTs, we began picking up the dozens of items that had been flung across the road, putting them back into the Bronco through the broken windows. Tools. A hard hat. Numerous wrappers and crumpled receipts. A small cooler. Lots of clothes. A dollar bill. There was a single dollar bill lying on the pavement pretty close to the Bronco. And none of us picked it up. None of us COULD pick it up! A fellow crew member mentioned it as we were driving back to town. “Did you see the dollar bill? I couldn’t touch it.” And then a chorus of “Neither could I!” “Neither could I!” Neither could I. I still don’t know why.

A couple of people suggested, in the comment section of my last post, that if others wanted to help, they should buy things from my shop. My immediate thought, upon reading that, was YES! That I can handle. And right on the tail of that thought came an equally honest but far less comfortable thought: why should I make people jump through hoops because of MY hangups? Giving feels good – and for me to put conditions on that is kind of gross. I’ve given in the past and will give in the future, so why have I removed myself from the other side of the circle? Maybe I need to examine my thinking and my feelings – or at least figure out why they are the way they are.

I still believe honor trumps money and cooperation trumps capitalism. So, by receiving money, am I trading my honor? No. I mostly know the answer is no… but not completely. Is the faltering because I don’t feel I deserve it? Because of some cosmic, internal worthlessness? Because there are others in worse states than I? Are some people going to roll their eyes and think I’m a freeloader? “Oh, man, those debating skills DID get honed at an early age! Look at her convincing herself that it’s a matter of personal growth to take other people’s money!!”

This was difficult analysis. I’ve said those things to myself, and more. There were tears. And yet it kept coming back to one question – can I sit on the circle of cooperation and let it flow without micromanaging the seating arrangement? It’s time to try. I’ll report back with how it feels. I’m scheduled with a surgeon in early February and will report back with the status of my bod just as soon as I know what’s what. Thank you for caring.

The Short Story of A Long Year

The last twelve months have been really hard. Which is not to be confused with ‘bad’ – a lot of spectacular things have happened, but there has been a lot of time spent in hospitals and talking people off of ledges (both literal and figurative) and witnessing things I deeply care about getting eaten by the nothing. Which is why this blog has kind of fallen off its tracks. I kind of fell off my own tracks.

By spring, I was no longer managing my stress very well – I was walking around with my shoulders up around my ears and something as minor as stubbing my toe would set me off on a hysterical crying jag – release I wasn’t allowing myself or even realized I needed until I started noticing the pattern. Then Fiona had her calf and I wrote this in my notebook:

When Fiona’s calf was born, before it had even gotten up, Sir Baby came over to check it out. Well, he was just walking by, but then changed his course to come see Fifi and the baby – he is the grandfather, after all (he’s shown zero interest in the other calves that have been born around him). I didn’t want him too close, not until the calf had gotten up and nursed, so I picked up a long, straight branch and held it horizontally between Baby and me, eye level to Baby. He stopped his advance. The branch looked like a fence pole. Then I took a few steps toward Baby, still holding the branch horizontally between us, and he started backing up. An interesting experiment in psychology. Sir Baby had the strength and power to bash through me and my flimsy stick, or he could have simply walked around the end of it, but he believed it was a fence and that he was powerless against it – that he had to surrender to it. It made me wonder if the barriers we see as indomitable in our own lives are nothing more than sticks held at eye level.

I decided to test this concept. I wrote a list of things I was upset about (the first step is always identification). And one by one, these things that seemed so huge, so solid, so impenetrable, that had been governing me emotionally and physically, just….. evaporated. Like I was able to find the floating end of the stick and walk around it, one at a time, one after another. It’s an ongoing practice.

Related: Man On Wire. If you need a hit of faith and wonder, check out this documentary, streaming on Netflix. It is exquisite.

In The Dark

I’ve been sleeping outside because it’s been so hot
(I could sleep outside even if it weren’t this hot but sometimes we
need to be FORCED out of our routine) and last night
a strange thing happened.

I was lying there looking up at the stars and saw what I thought was a satellite gliding across the sky.
I hate satellites so I was glaring at it (no logic there)
and suddenly it flashed this HUGE bright light, much like a camera flash
but slightly slower, and then it disappeared!

Did Google photograph me scowling in the night?
Did I get implanted with temporarily-latent destructive coding via light ray?
Was it an alien ship beaming off to another galaxy?
Have any of you seen this??

I’m Curious

Random thoughts led to other random thoughts and now I have a question.

I was thinking about protagonists, and realized that just because I love a particular book does not automatically mean I love the protagonist.  To use examples from my little book list in the sidebar ~ I love Lisbeth (The Girl Who Played With Fire).  I was devastated, after finishing Hornet’s Nest, that the author was dead and I would not get to read more of Lisbeth.

I also loved The Hunger Games, thought it was a brilliant book, a great series, but I can’t say I love Katniss.  I wouldn’t care to know her in real life.  In fact, of the books listed in my sidebar, the only protagonists I loved were from Autobiography of Red and The Girl Who Played With Fire.  And the girl in The Daily Coyote ~ OMG I want to be her!  {joke!}  The other books I loved for the book itself, not for the protagonist.

So I am wondering (insanely curious, really):  who are the protagonists you have loved, and why?  It doesn’t have to be limited to books:  movies, books, myth, song, whatever.  I would LOVE to hear your opinions.

Full Disclosure


1) I’ve been wanting to write about the old cow camp for a while.  Wait.  No.  The more honest version of that sentence is:  I’ve been feeling like I should write about the old cow camp for a while.

2) I didn’t write a book while I was on the mountain.  I thought I would, but I’m quite happy I didn’t ~ my time there was about something much bigger than a book.  However…

3) At some point, it dawned on me that perhaps writing on this blog has kept me from writing another book.  Not that I write a ton on this blog, but the pressure of writing for immediate public consumption (not in my nature) plus the pressure of the constant deadline (there’s always another post) has made me not want to write anything else ~ the blog is always in the back of my mind, always needing to be attended to.

I’ve been ruminating on/over/about this for a couple of months.  I am not quitting this blog, but posts might shift to more images, less words.  Maybe I’ll change the layout so the photos are bigger.  I might find truncated “captioned photos” incredibly lame (“truncate” is derived from the Latin for “maimed”) and go back to writing full posts, but less often.  I don’t know.  All I know is that I have to allow the natural drive to write to come back.  And that means writing mostly for me for a while.

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