Things to be thankful for.

November 27th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Holiday | Love & Marriage - (1 Comments)

In which there is no irony in this post.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last night we stayed up late enjoying Christmas movies and adult beverages and this amazing hot spinach-artichoke dip we made somewhere around midnight. It was AMAZEBALLS. (Click the pic for a link to the recipe.)

Then we slept and snuggled until well past noon and had more of the dip, along with a relish tray, for ‘breakfast.’

(The Thanksgiving greeting cards on the table are from our moms. Because family.)

Then we lounged about and enjoyed sportsball (excuse me, that’s SPORTSBALL!!1!, I believe) and classic Christmas cartoons (Donald Duck and Chip ‘n’ Dale in the snow!), then we started on making dinner with some potato scrubbin’. We get along great in the kitchen. Here’s the whole day’s menu:

Our Official 2014 Thanksgiving Menu

Stuffed celery, radishes, olives, deviled eggs, crackers, cheeses
Spinach-artichoke dip with baguette

Tofu ‘steak’ for me
Beef steak for Scott

Gravy (meatless)
Mashed potatoes and parsnips
Lemon-garlic Brussels sprouts

Apple crisp with oatmeal streusel
Vanilla gelato

Cranberry vodka and sodas
Tater skins

And since this holiday is about not just gratitude, but food, here’s more food porn:

Scott’s plate:

Gravy (turned out weird but edible) and the mashed potatoes and parsnips, also weird:

Tater skins! OMG so good!

Cranberry-vanilla vodka and soda (again, click the pic for the recipe):

And now, right now, as I write, the apartment smells like heaven because there’s an apple crisp with oatmeal streusel in the oven!

We’ve had a wonderful day, the two of us, enjoying cooking and eating and companionship and so much to be thankful for today. We’re warm and safe and blessed, and have had a really quiet and comfortable day of abundance and each other. Not to mention the polar vortex and that having had the oven on so much has kept the furnace from even kicking on once.

Now we’re watching an old Danny Kaye Christmas Special (Dinah Shore! Lena Horne! Bing! Bob Hope! Jimmy Stewart! Satchmo!) and waiting for the apple crisp to cool.

And so, with full hearts and from a warm apartment, Happy Thanksgiving from us to you!


November 12th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Weather | Whining - (2 Comments)

In which it fucking snowed.

Fucking SNOW.

And frozen ponds and sub-freezing temperatures. It’s not even Thanksgiving! WHAT HAVE I DONE.


October 26th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Life - (0 Comments)

In which there are pictures.

On Friday I worked for 6 hours and got a flu shot. Then I ate this adorable lunch.

On the way home, I stopped and bought these flowers to go along with the orange lights and pumpkin that my beloved had already brought home.


When Scott got home after work, we went out and got burritoes from Pancheros and brought them home to eat them.

And then the flu shot hit, and there was coughing and chills and aches and pains and I spent the next eight hours wishing I was asleep much more often than I actually was. It was utterly fucking miserable. It was exactly like having the flu and just as painful, it just didn’t last as long. I woke up at around 1:30 in the morning and was completely well, save for some residual muscle soreness.

Saturday we slept in well past noon, had a yummy big breakfast at home, lounged around for a few hours, then went on something of a shopping spree: Namaste Plaza for dals and spices, then a few dollar stores and a discount clothing place for shoes for Scott, Cub for a few groceries, Target for dice and a game.

Our Saturday night looked like this.

Yahtzee! Ten Thousand! Deer in the Headlights! Adult beverages! It was super fun. Scott won every single game we played because he’s mean.

Sunday, I worked from 9 to 1 as greeter at Home Depot, because OH HOLY SHIT I’M NOW THAT OLD LADY SAYING ‘GOOD MORNING’ TO YOU WHEN YOU WALK INTO A FUCKING HOME DEPOT ON SUNDAY MORNING BECAUSE YOU’RE A WEALTHY WHITE FIRST WORLDER WHO NEEDS TO BUY PAPER BAGS TO PUT YOUR LEAVES INTO. (Seriously, though, the astonishing waste of this country. We take perfectly good land, plant grass on it, then have to rake up the fallen leaves (which would otherwise turn back into lovely new dirt) and put them into bags manufactured for the purpose. Good God.)

Yeah, today I was a greeter. I have no idea how this happened, but there it is. I’m that old now.

When I got home I made a pot of chili and a pan of cornbread.


We ate chili and cornbread. And then we took a nap.

The end!

In which there’s a recipe for soup, because I want to know EXACTLY WHERE THIS IS and not have to read a dozen other recipes again the next time I decide to make soup for Scott.

I haven’t eaten chicken noodle soup for a few decades, probably, but I remember the Campbell’s and Lipton versions: bright yellow, thin, with itty bitty cubes of meat. Not really all that great. Certainly didn’t evoke feelings of wholesomeness or profound nutrition.

Then, a couple of months ago, Scott said he thought he was coming down with something and I told him I’d make chicken noodle soup if he brought home a chicken. I mean, wasn’t there that thing once where science supported old wives’ tales and determined that chicken noodle soup really is good for colds?

The resultant concoction, even though I didn’t eat any (because EEWH DEAD CHICKEN BODY), was rich, wholesome, and nourishing. In, like, some sort of profound way. Scott didn’t catch that cold, so the shit really works, and the rest of the pot went into the freezer to be pulled out when needed: the next time he felt under the weather, as something to take for lunch the next day, as something warm and homemade when he’d had a bad day.

Part One: The Stock

In a large stock pot, bring to a boil:

1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 large celery rib, roughly chopped, with leaves
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half or quarters
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Several sprigs of fresh parsley (or the equivalent dried)
1 tsp. dried thyme or to taste
A few black peppercorns, cracked
1-2 large bay leaves
1 chicken bouillon cube (optional)
1 whole chicken, rinsed, about 3-1/2 pounds, gizzards removed
10-12 c. water

Reduce to a lively simmer and allow to cook until the meat falls off the bone, a couple of hours or so. Add water as needed to keep the chicken submerged.

When the bird starts to fall apart, remove it from the pot and let it rest on a platter to cool. Strip the meat and dispose of the skin and bones. Skim the fat from the broth if you want, and strain out the remaining veggie solids and eat them or chuck them.

You can stick both the meat and the broth in the fridge at this point and go drink some wine and deal with the rest of this shit tomorrow or later or when you get back from running errands or whatever.

Part Two: The Egg Noodles

You can use store-bought noodles, of course, and a lot of recipes do call for them, but I don’t really see the point of laming out now when you’re already halfway through making full-on awesome homemade chicken noodle soup. Plus noodles are hella easy and don’t take any time at all. Plus you can say YOU MADE THEM AND THIS ENTIRE GODDAMNED SOUP IS LEGIT FUCKIN’ HOMEMADE, BITCHES.

So, since you’re gonna make your own noodles, you need:

Some clean counter space
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon oil
1 egg

Combine the flour and salt in and make a well in the center. Crack the egg into it. Use a fork to beat the egg and then gradually start incorporating the flour into the eggs. Sprinkle the milk and oil onto the dough. Keep stirring and pulling in more flour until a solid dough forms. The dough will be sticky.

With well-floured hands, knead the dough, incorporating more flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the work surface or your hands, until it is smooth and firm and no longer sticky.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for half an hour or so while you do other things, like chop the vegetables and get the herbs and spices you’ll need for the soup.

Flour the counter and roll out the dough using a rolling pin or large bottle. Try to get it nice and thin, less than a quarter of an inch if possible. Slice into noodles and place on a paper towel. (Apparently you can, at this point, place them on a rack to dry and then store them in an air-tight bag in your pantry for several weeks.)

Or, make these (they’re the simplest — fewest ingredients). Or these.

Part Three: The Soup Itself

Re-heat the broth in a soup pot while adding:

1 carrot, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. dried parsley
2 cups diced or shredded chicken meat
salt & pepper to taste

Bring to a gentle simmer. Add your noodles and cook until they’re done, about half an hour depending on their size and thickness.

Adjust seasonings as needed and serve immediately, or cool and freeze to enjoy on a rainy day or the next time you think you’re catching cold.

Note: Apparently this soup is magic and makes people feel better.


September 30th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

In which I’m another year older.

Yesterday was my birthday.

My beloved bought me a laptop,

I bought myself a skin for my Kindle Fire tablet so now it looks all burlwood and excellent,

and my dad, who is in town for a week, bought dinner!

I also chatted with a friend who just took a promotion at Comcast and said he might have a QA telecommuting job for me in a month or two, which means I might just be spared having to walk to work this winter. Which would be amazing. Although I would probably have to fly to Denver.

I also bought myself a package of socks. Because most of my socks have holes in them, and I live in Minnesota, and winter is coming. In fact, it’s not even cool outside, it’s cold. I’m not even kidding you. WINTER IS COMING, BITCHES.

Although, in Minneapolis’ defense, the summer was pretty lovely. We only turned the A/C on a handful of times, and that was generally for humidity more than heat. So maybe the winter won’t be that bad?


Money and credit, poverty and fees

September 12th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Finance - (0 Comments)

In which I have rejoined the regular people.

Once upon a time, I was married.

My spouse, who said, “You don’t have to worry about money. We can always get more money,” and whom I believed, talked me into quitting my job. And then he quit working himself, so we lived on my credit cards for awhile (because he didn’t have any credit to live on, because he’d never filed taxes and basically didn’t exist).

Then, because there wasn’t any money coming in, well, some bills stopped getting paid. And some nasty collections agency took fifteen hundred bucks out of my checking account [illegally] and there was nothing I could do about it because I was broke and legal counsel ain’t free.

Shortly after, for various reasons, the marriage ended. Interestingly enough, although money is one of the top reasons for failed marriages, it was buried pretty far down on my list of reasons for leaving. I was exhausted by being miserable; being broke was merely icing on the cake. It’s not like I hadn’t been poor before. Only this time my debt was actually the debt of two people, one of which wasn’t going to help me pay it off.

I cashed out my tiny little 401k and drank heavily for a year.

When I surfaced, I tried to open a checking account. Nope, you’re listed at TeleCheck. Can I open a savings account? No, no, you can’t.

So I got a pre-paid debit card. It cost $1 to $2 per transaction to use it, but you can’t survive without some sort of bank account. Eventually I started paying the $69 annual fee instead of the per-transaction fees. And I just resigned myself to being poor forever.

Because when you’re below a certain line financially, everything costs money. Far more than it should. It costs money to use a debit card, it costs money to cash checks, it costs money to pay bills. Once you’re a certain level of poor, you pretty much stay there unless someone pulls you out of it, because you’re charged for transactions that are free for everyone else simply because you’re poor. I’ve paid hundreds if not thousands in “poverty fees” in my life and I know that being poor is expensive.

Well, that $1,500 judgement that overdrew my checking account and basically destroyed me financially was over seven years ago now, and I’ve paid off most if not all of those bills. So on a lark I applied for an Amazon Rewards card. And I was approved! AND the card came in the mail with my credit score, which is now, mysteriously, almost 700 printed on the letter.

Which means I now have a free checking account with free bill pay, and a VISA card that pays me from 1 to 5% just for using it. In short, I no longer have to pay for the right to use my own money. I get paid for using my money. Even though I’m no different today than I was two years ago, except I actually have less income.

I’m now one of them; and the only reason for this is that I haven’t had to pay rent since 2005. All those years of paying off my marriage’s debt and having zero revolving credit has made me a good credit risk again, even though I have very little income, and have historically earned very little. Which is to say, companies that extend credit? After all this? Still don’t give a shit if they ruin you by giving you too much rope as long as they get their fucking fees out of you.

Luckily I’m old enough now to have conquered most of my avarice; I won’t be buying things I can’t afford with my nifty new credit card. And I’m glad that using my own money is not not only free but earns me rewards, but I think it’s fucked that I spent most of the last decade paying for the right to spend my own paycheck.

Charging the poor for being poor is nothing short of evil. Especially since most of the poor are there not because they deserve to be, not because they’re ignorant or lazy or sub-par, but because they just don’t have someone to help them up over that invisible line.

Greed, I believe, is absolutely the worst of sins because of the endless misery it causes in the world.

In which I complain about things I don’t like. Because I’m spiritual and restrained like that.


I spend a lot of time on I just do. I’m a Kindle owner several times over, I like ordering stuff online and not having to deal with stores or people or shopping, and it’s just convenient.

Recently while looking over the contents of my cart (I always keep things in there, but rarely actually buy them) I clicked on the AMAZON STORE CARD banner ad they’d been feeding me for the last year or so and applied.

In less than three minutes I had an account with an $800 limit, and thereby learned that while my credit it still so bad I can only get an $800 limit, it’s healed enough since the divorce that companies are now willing to give me credit again. Neat.

I had absolutely NO intention of using the account, not ever, because I didn’t need it and I’d read in the comments that the interest rates and fees were high.

Shortly after getting this Amazon Store Card account I bought an ebook from my Kindle Paperwhite and, noticing that my phone didn’t ding with a text from my debit card carrier, went into my Amazon settings and set my regular card as the default. (Amazon had automatically set the store card as the default payment method. I didn’t want to use it, so I set my regular card as the default. I know I did this, because my next ebook purchase shows up on my debit card.)

Well, Amazon set the store card as my default payment method again all on its own and weeks went by before I noticed, because I’m often not within hearing distance of my cell phone when I buy an ebook.

Today I closed the card. I ended up paying $120.72, all told, for no service whatsoever — merely for “financing” some ebook purchases.

Fucking usury. This shit should be illegal. I could bitch at the account carrier, but I did charge those ebooks and I didn’t make the payments my acceptance of their terms and conditions said I would. And I could bitch at Amazon, too, about being charged fifty bucks for nothing, but they didn’t charge me the financing fees and they’d just look at their logs and say, “Well, it shows here that your Amazon Store Card was set as your default payment method between those dates, so we’re sorry for your trouble,” even though I know their software set the card as the default. Twice! Both times without my desire or permission!

Adding insult to injury, the previous month I had opened a Paypal debit card at my brother’s recommendation. And I closed that shit, too, as soon as I realized it was going to cost $59.88 a year just to have the thing, whether I used it or not. Basically I had a Paypal debit account for a couple of weeks, never used it, and paid five bucks in fees.

The job market

Have you read any job listings lately?

Holy shit. These people are insane. There are companies who want to pay ten bucks an hour for contract work, even though working from home means the contractor has to buy and maintain her own equipment, pay her own utilities, and file complicated taxes. Who the fuck would contract for ten bucks an hour! It’s absurd.

Then there’s the jobs that say “Part-time receptionist” and start the third paragraph with, “In addition to Sales, the receptionist will be expected to attend local trade shows…” Because on what planet is reception a fucking sales position? Is it the planet where the receptionist also has to be an expert at bookkeeping? Not, like, “Sure I can do basic bookkeeping,” but, like, they want to pay somebody ten bucks an hour to be a receptionist AND literally file the company taxes.

Then there’s the “Make $1500 to $2000 a week being a massage therapist” postings. You merely have to be, and I quote, “easy on the eyes.” Because we don’t hire no ugly whores, yo.

I just went through all of the part-time postings in the Minneapolis area for the past two weeks, and over 80% of them are bogus. Not because they’re not real jobs, but because they want skilled workers to work shitty schedules for $8.25 an hour.

These postings wouldn’t exist if people weren’t desperate enough to actually take these jobs.

I applied to the contracting one, of course, but in the last paragraph of my cover letter told them that their pay rate was a pipe dream and that I was applying anyway in case they wanted to get in contact with me after their other applicants turned out to be disappointing. Because sometimes, people just need to be told.

Shit schedules, shit environments, and shit pay: this is what most part-time job descriptions contain. Is it truly impossible for, say, a grocery store to offer regular schedules? Is it written somewhere that these places have to have random scheduling? Is it further written that people working that hard and in such uncertainty and discomfort should be paid too little to survive on, and also that all such companies must instead spend that money on expensive anti-employee theft training modules? Why does reading multiple job placement ads give one the impression that companies really think people don’t mind utter scheduling insecurity? “Must be available weekends.” “Prefer applicants with open evening and weekend availability.” “The hours for this position are M-F but the successful applicant will also be available weekends.” Because we want to pay you nine dollars an hour to have absolutely no personal autonomy whatsoever.

Jesus Christ, things are fucked UP.

All I want is a part-time office job. I despair of ever finding a part-time office job. I guess I’ll just start looking for full-time work so I can be depressed about that, too, because I fucked up and decided to not be “easy on the eyes” or have an advanced degree in accounting, so I can’t make two grand a week or nine dollars an hour.

In other news, I’ll be working all weekend again. Which means I haven’t had the luxury of sleeping in with the man I moved two thousand miles to live with in over a month. And yeah, I’m pretty mad about it. You try being 45 and finding a job that isn’t either full-time career path bullshit or Walmart greeter. It sucks, lemmie tell ya.

Recipe: Easy Salsa

August 5th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Recipes - (0 Comments)

In which I was out of salsa but, believe it or not, had all the following ingredients on hand, so I made some!

Easy Salsa

1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained and juice reserved
1 small onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
juice of 1 small lime
3/4 tsp. ground cumin

Add all ingredients to a bowl or pot and blend with your trusty immersion blender until desired consistency is reached. Loosen with reserved tomato juice, if needed, and just drink it or pour it out if not.

Add salt to taste (most canned tomatoes are salty enough, so you may not need to) and refrigerate.

You can reduce the amount of jalapeno if you don’t like heat (or even omit it altogether and substitute a pinch of cayenne or three). The salsa will get warmer as it sits and the jalapeno has a chance to blend.

Optional: You can also add 1/4 c. of chopped cilantro if your boyfriend isn’t a hater. You can also also simmer this salsa to smooth out the raw taste and then cool and refrigerate.

Recipe: My chai

July 30th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Domestic Goddess | Recipes - (2 Comments)

In which there are a million chai recipes, but this one is mine.

Kitcheree and chai

My Chai

3 c. water
2 c. whole milk
3 black tea bags
2 whole cloves
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. ground true cinnamon
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
3 Tbsp.jaggery, or to taste

Add all ingredients except jaggery to a sauce pan, bring to a simmer, being careful not to let it boil over and make a mess of your stove. Reduce heat and cook for about five minutes. Stir in the jaggery.

Strain and serve hot in large mugs. Enjoy!

Notes: For whatever reason, I rarely have ground cloves, so I use whole ones. If you have ground cloves, do use a pinch of them instead.

You can also use a chunk of fresh ginger, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks rather than ground versions of these spices, of course. This is just what I typically have on hand in my kitchen. You can use brown or even white sugar, but jaggery is so freakin’ delicious it’s totally worth finding some. If you don’t have access to an Indian grocery you can order it from Amazon.

In which it really doesn’t matter where you go, because there you are.

Recently, maybe within the past couple of years, the Inner Guru appeared. Or maybe, to put it another way, I became capable of delving into mySelf enough to hear what the seers tell us has always been there. Or by the Guru’s grace — certainly not through my own merit or work — I’ve gotten enough dust off the mirror.

I have no idea how this came to be, but there it is. I can’t even describe my wonder and gratitude nor how utterly close and familiar the Inner Guru is. It sounds exactly like my own thoughts, it just knows shit I don’t, and regularly, if I’m sincere about wanting to know, dumps very large, entire concepts into my skull too subtle to be codified in language. I’ll just be riding my bike with questions about how and why and what for, and BOOM, there it is: I now know something I didn’t a moment before. It’s heart-breakingly loving and sweet and awe-inspiring and miraculous, and other times I forget completely about it. Because I’m human. Which is to say, my ego is still ascendant enough to make it impossible to sustain the wonder that will eventually destroy it.

I work retail in a gigantic industrial building with concrete floors and beeping forklifts and cutting equipment and horrible lighting and multiple incoming lines that ring incessantly. It’s a mile away from my apartment, over a giant interstate overpass not really designed with pedestrians in mind, and I often have to walk both to and from work, as well as untold miles inside the building each shift. I’m in my mid-40′s and my feet never stop hurting and don’t seem at all inclined to acclimate to my non-desk status. My bicycle has a flat tire and I don’t have access to a compressor — well, I do if you count that gas station a mile away in the opposite direction, but I’m not inclined to walk the thing that far to fill it up only to discover it’s a fast leak.

Anyway, I’m being scheduled more hours than I want and my feet hurt and the roads are scary and indelicate and the job is loud and indelicate and I’m exhausted all the time and my brain is buffeted with noise and the ugliness of modern American values and my ego is all up in this trip about how much I’m suffering and how I’m not comfortable and not getting what I want but truth be told I actually like the job when I’m doing it and a lot of the people seem really great and there’s climate control and anyway you have to do something and I’m working on my humility and getting to serve and I’m trudging my tired aching body down these sidewalks on my way to a job I don’t want to go to that’s just going to make me more sore and more tired and more wiped out from the sheer volume of input and I’m spinning around and around in my head just trying to solve this whole suffering thing because it’s not lost on me that these are truly first world goddamned problems and finally about halfway across the overpass in the hot sunshine and choking exhaust I just give up and ask, “How the fuck do I feel better? What do I do?”

And the Beloved within promptly replies with, “Sit here [and on "here" there's the indication of the heart center], and let the organs of perception and action operate themselves.”

Sit in the heart and witness. Let perception and action do themselves. There are, after all, entire laws of nature that define their behaviors. You are not them. They are not you. Let them do what they do. Understand?

Well, yeah. I do. Sort of. I do know that. Or I know about that, which is not the same thing, of course. I’ve read the Gita dozens of times, in as many different translations. But I still don’t know what the fuck the three gunas really are. Or what my dharma is. I mean, lower-middle-class white chick who drinks and sleeps a lot can’t be Dharma, can it? Even in Kali yuga it seems unlikely.

And so I’ve been trying to do that for a couple of weeks now. Trying and trying. Trying to figure out how replicate that spacious, contented silence I experience around Amma, thinking a lot about dispassion and what it really means, trying to quit bitching at my boyfriend about my feet and my fatigue and irritation at being scheduled 35 rather than 20 hours a week (because I really do believe you should treat your lover better than the strangers that are your customers and coworkers), trying to step back from my identification with and habit of having preferences that are, essentially, random and irrational. Doing japa and trying to serve and trying, just trying. And suffering at the jitteryness of it, like a radio station out of range, at my inability to not feel so sorry for myself.

Remember Ram Dass? That book Be Here Now? I bought a used copy at Powell’s Books when I was in my early 20′s. It was even signed. I enjoyed reading it, and kept it for a really long time because I thought it brought me some kind of importance, having a signed copy of Be Here Now, for fuck’s sake, but really my main takeaway from it then was that drugs are okay and you need a guru but you’re not cool enough to, like, go to India and find one, because you’re provincial and you didn’t go to Harvard like all these LSD trippin’ Western devotees. I have no idea what I might take away from it if I were to re-read it now, beyond nodding energetically at the part where he says the guru comes when the devotee is ready. Hell, I’ve still never gotten to India, but Mother came to me.

Well, Ram Dass is still writing and still pointing the way, even after a stroke. I bought Polishing The Mirror and read it and the advice to just sink into Self, to just keep gently coming back when you lose your shit, reminded me of something really important. Mainly that YOU ARE NOT DOING WELL, LITTLE SEEKER, WHEN YOU ALLOW YOUR EGO TO CONGRATULATE YOU FOR STOICALLY ENDURING YOUR SUFFERING. You’re not purifying, you’re not burning karma, you’re just feeling smug that you have decided — because that’s what happened, you decided — you’re miserable and you’re not bitching about it. Is this really a good use of time? Of your life?

And today I had to get up earlier than I wanted to, and when that irritation started I just sank below it, didn’t judge it, just sat in my heart and let it be. And my feet still fucking HURT but instead of thinking “my feet hurt” I just observed that there was pain and that it was okay and I didn’t have to engage my ego in having preferences about it, I just let it be what it was. And I kept gently returning to the heart while doing my morning stuff of coffee and eggs, and didn’t get involved with the whole OH MAN I REALLY DON’T WANT TO GO TO WORK AND I’M TIRED AND MY FEET HURT AND I’M TOO OLD FOR THIS SHIT AND WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME THAT I CAN’T GET A JOB MORE FITTING FOR A 45-YEAR OLD TECH WORKER, even though I certainly tried to get involved, oh fuck yes I did, habits die hard, and I sat in the heart while walking to work and didn’t do the martyr thing (much), and the weather was gorgeous and I nearly got lost in the flowers I don’t think I’ve ever even seen before in front of that giant Alianz building even though I’ve walked down that long block dozens of times. And at work I tried to see the souls inside the humans I interacted with rather than the meat.

And it was much less tiring. I mean, my hips and feet still hurt, but I’m just letting that exist rather than investing in it. It just is. And I came home and took a nap. And I have the next two days off to be quiet and NOT WALK TEN MILES IN SIX HOURS. And I had a few moments of really deep light and love, just walking around in the biggest of the big box stores doing my little job/doing my little practice/being here now/sitting in my heart, witnessing, letting the organs of perception and action operate themselves.

I mean, it’s not continuous, but it turns out you don’t try to do it, you just Yoda that shit. When you realize you’ve stood up, SIT BACK DOWN. IN THE HEART. That’s it. No judgement.

There are some great meditations in the book. There’s an expansive meditation that’s really great (reminds me in part of the original IAM technique), and the one on the breath I’m doing like japa, of course, because I rarely ever formally sit for meditation but tend to just do the techniques that attract me while engaged in activity, which Ram Dass actually discusses — maybe some of us just are spiritual debutantes by nature. I mean, it’s never been lost on me that it’s better to dig one deep well to get the water rather than a hundred shallow ditches, but I’ve never been able to want regular formal practice even though I would self-describe with utter sincerity myself as having been applying practices in earnest in non-formal ways at least since I meet Mother, if not long before (albeit in stumbling, sophomoric ways). I even ask Mother every year to help me keep a formal practice, and the desire just doesn’t arise.

But years ago I prayed to always be reminded to do japa, and my prayer was answered. There were many, many little nudges to do japa. Now it goes on by itself half the time I’m awake. It’s often going when I drift off or wake up. I also have a little thing I do to sort of… wipe thoughts away, but I don’t know how to describe it. It just occurred to me at Amma a couple of years ago, and when the mind-thing is just freaking out and chattering and not being at all useful I can wipe it clean. It’s often only for a split second, but that’s better than nothing. Especially when your head’s being a jerk.

And now I’m going to go drink wine and read period romances. Because I’m human. A human being, and a human doing. Dying the cloth, dying the cloth.

Om Namah Shivaya.

UPDATE: Here’s something I found today on meditation, and maybe it’s not always sitting with the eyes closed and the spine straight: