Saturday, March 30, 2013


These wonderful tulips are up en masse -- sure look forward to seeing them bloom again.  This photo is from last year, or the year before.

Spring seems to be upon us -- at least for a few days. No freezing temps in the 10-day forecast, at any rate, which is wonderful.  But, there's a saying down here that the dogwoods always bloom in time for Easter, no matter how early or late Easter falls. In most cases, I think that's probably true, but I don't think it's going to happen this year. The trees I passed yesterday had fat buds -- but not fat enough to explode into blossom by tomorrow!

The weather has gotten me out into the garden more -- pulling weeds, mostly. And there are so many of them to be pulled! My new lettuce and kale seedlings are doing great -- last fall's leeks that spent the winter as wee spindles are starting to thicken up a bit. The chard is doing well. My biggest challenge for the moment is managing the heat inside the hoops. It's too soon to take the frost gard off, but I've loosened it a bit around the bottom so breezes can get through. Hopefully, it's not loose enough to let cats in -- and they have tried to get in. Little paw-sized holes here and there along the bottom. Brats.

My blueberries are filled with buds! I should be here to harvest most of them, if not all. I gave them a good dose of fish/vinegar fertilizer this morning to boost those big, blue berries as much as possible.

Yesterday I took more books to the library, and all five boxes of 'stuff' to  Goodwill. More 'stuff' is going into the trash. This morning, I walked to the nearby supermarket and snagged three more boxes to start filling for Goodwill.  I'll keep things that seem possible to sell easily, and have a yard sale before I leave. Lots of the stuff I'm donating would sell, but I don't want to bother with the small stuff.

It all feels so good! Who knew that letting go of mere stuff (most of which was in drawers and chests and not even in sight), would feel this way? I should have remembered -- but while I remembered feeling better, I didn't remember the extent, the power of how good it feels.

Two weeks from today I'll be traveling to Southern Dharma via Greenville, SC to a retreat with my good teacher and friend, Ayya Sobhana. It'll be good to see her again.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Really, you just can't imagine how 'freeing' this is! Four boxes for Goodwill and one bag of books for the library -- not counting the first bag I took them, or the things I've sent to friends/relatives. And this is only the beginning. Oddly enough, I feel much 'lighter' even though they are still in the house. The mental act of 'letting go' is apparently what it's all about.

Some of  you may remember that I've done this before. More than once, actually, although none so thoroughly as late summer of 2004.  I was planning to retire at the end of that year, and planning to go and live/travel on a sailboat. Great idea that I probably would have loved -- but it came with a couple of issues that I never managed to resolve. Primary among those was that I certainly didn't have a sailboat or the money to buy one, so I'd need to become crew/companion for somebody who had a boat but wanted help/companionship. There are plenty of those opportunities out there, but not for women of my age. Most of the old goats sailing alone are just that -- alone for a reason. I made some contacts, but then the second issue kept getting in the way -- I was way up there in Oregon, most of them were way down here in the south, as in Florida or Chesapeake Bay. Anyway -- for all those reasons let's cut to the chase and admit that it clearly never happened. By the time that became obvious, I'd sold lots of small stuff on eBay, some locally, and the rest at a yard sale. All that was left were the basics: an old loveseat, my mattress/frame, maybe a couple of old end tables and the oak book cases (partly shown in above photo), plus an antique dresser and my favorite (most used) kitchen stuff. Even then, I felt light and 'free' from stuff.

But, I moved to Eugene, where I stayed quite happily for 4 years until it became obvious that the city wasn't big enough for both me and a certain friend of mine to live in, and me still have any peace. Turns out the whole state of Oregon wasn't big enough for that -- but that's another story.  Naturally, I began collecting 'stuff' again, most of which is still with me. Like an anchor around my neck.

It feels good to be getting rid of it. I've tossed countless trash bags of paper (from files and various other places, including stacks of Bon Appetit magazines that I never looked at) into recycling. Little by little, the clutter is disappearing.  Some will, of course, go in the car with me. The computer and its accessories, naturally, even the old laptop that I decided to keep as a backup. Clothes, the basic kitchenware I'm not ready to let go of (if I ever do get another apartment, I'll need them, and will probably need them even if I rent a furnished place in Mexico part of the year). Basics. Nothing more. Things I'll need anywhere and wouldn't want to replace.

I have months left to make it happen -- will sell the furniture as time to leave draws nearer, get rid of everything I'm not taking. For now, it's just clutter and small stuff. But it leaves a big impression.

Friday, March 22, 2013

What did your ancestors eat?

I'm freezing! And I have no idea why. It's not all that cold outside, and it's not all that cold inside. But for the past 3 days or so, I've been bundled up like an Eskimo -- down to wool cap or thermal balaclava on my head. Weird.

I have to once again send kudos and thanks to HP. I was using the computer the other day when the screen blipped and then gave a message to the effect that a problem with a display driver had been caught and recovered. My first thought was this old Dell monitor I'm using, but then I forgot about it for another 10-15 minutes until it happened again and this time I got the dreaded blue screen with lots of computer-talk I don't understand, stuff scrolling at the bottom as it dumps stuff. I did, however, note at the top that the problem was a display driver. Didn't take long before the machine shut down, came to restart screen asking whether I wanted to start in regular or safe mode, etc. I opted for safe mode, then once it was up and running promptly called my wonderful direct line to a real live tech here in the good old US of A. By then I'd begun to put the brain in gear enough to realize that the display driver was part of the HP system, not part of this Dell monitor. Since I was able to tell the tech what the problem was, he sent me to download a new driver from the HP site, told me how to check and be sure it was working once it was downloaded and installed and that there were no further problems showing within the system. Then he said he'd call me back today at 4:30 to be sure it was still working well. I forgot about that until a few minutes ago when he actually called. And answered another question I'd come up with regarding the new driver -- which actually has separate settings similar to the usual display settings offered by Windows. For all of us who have been shunted off to India to a 'tech' who doesn't know any more about the system than you do, who puts you on hold while he uses a few words he heard out of those you used to describe the problem so he can look up totally irrelevant 'solutions' in the online knowledge base -- you know how great this is. In and out and fixed in 5 minutes. Hint: to get this service, buy an EliteBook, or one of the other high-end HP business computers. Trouble is, I'm not sure how you'd know which other ones offer this special phone number. EliteBooks do.

I was listening to a woman MD/ND on my late nite talk show early this morning talking about magnesium deficiencies. Once I got up I checked her website, signed up for her newsletter and got a free ebook on the subject. One of the things she suggested was 'eat like your ancestors' -- not cave men, just the way people ate in the general region or country of the world where your ancestors are from. What was available to them? Varied greatly by climate, for example. Her theory is that whatever our great-great grandparents had available to eat locally was the kind of food my DNA was predisposed to tolerate and thus what I should eat. Most, if not all (I'd have to check my database to be sure) of my great grandparents lived right here in North Georgia by the early 1800s, as did their offspring who became my nearer ancestors. Before that (over 200 years up to 300 years ago) most of them were in this country but migrating down through Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas. Safe to say they all had access to the same food -- aside from the great variety of shellfish around Chesapeake Bay. She said 300 years was far enough back -- but if you want to go further, most of my ancestors were from England, with a bit of Wales, Ireland and Scotland mixed into the fray here and there, although my knowledge of what they ate is limited or non-existent.

What would my ancestors have eaten 2-300 year ago in this country? She said it was probably what your grandmother cooked. I remember that well -- fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, pork in any and all forms (chops, roasts, ham, bacon, sausage), cornbread, game of all kinds -- quail, dove, deer and such --  freshwater fish from rivers and lakes, eggs and milk and butter, and typical veggies grown in farm gardens. Beans, peas, corn, squash, okra, potatoes and the like -- plus plenty of native fruit trees -- presumably peach and apple, at least, and certainly pecans and blueberries, blackberries. Things that still grow wild in this part of the world. Definitely the food I grew up on, and loved. My body certainly tolerates and thrives on those foods -- although as I've grown older the battle of the bulge precludes eating much of it. The body thrives too much, it would seem!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring equals Bluebirds

Wouldn't know it was the first day of spring around here -- overcast, chilly, all that.

But, when I went out to the mail box a few moments ago, the bright blue flash of a Bluebird caught my eye! It was more than a flash -- I got a good look and it perched on a nearby wire. Brought a good smile to my face.

Every year about this time -- although I think it's been February in previous years -- I see Bluebirds around here for a short while, then they disappear until the following spring.  I'd love it if they'd stay longer, but they never  have. Maybe this will be the year for that!

Photo is from my first  year here -- proof positive.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Tree down on South Main Street here in town (from Polk Fishwrap)
Well, we dodged another one this afternoon. Tornado, that is.

Somehow, I just didn't get rattled by this storm. Maybe I'm just tired of them, maybe I just didn't take it seriously, but maybe I was also watching the radar and tornado map and saw that the storm front line seemed to be breaking a bit, going just to the north and just to the south of  us. So I chilled out and didn't worry about it. May not have been good reasoning, but it sure saved me some stress!

Just reading the local news report, it looks as if the storm actually got just a tad too close for comfort -- but since I didn't know it at the time, there was nothing to freak out about. No tornado sirens wailing away. We had a short burst of hard, wind-drive rain, but then it was past. The power flickered, a few times, and the cable went off a couple of times for brief moments, but otherwise it didn't seem too bad.

Now, I see that lots of trees are down here in Cedartown -- many of them not all that far from here. Southern Floyd County (just to the north of us) was badly hit, and apparently the sweet little town of Cave Spring was also hit again. Severe damage at another little burg between here and Rome. Don't know if they were tornadoes or straight-line winds. There was golf-ball sized hail around, but none here -- at least not on my street. All in all, we got lucky once more.

I have to drive in to Rome (in Floyd County) tomorrow, and that should prove to be interesting. I have an appointment with the dermatologist -- fully expect more nasty zaps from  him, but thankfully none from the weather today.

Monday, March 4, 2013

New blog

I mentioned that I've been spending time deleting posts from this blog -- probably close to 400 so far, with no doubt more that can go the same way. It was too unwieldy -- too many subjects and all that.

I'm not likely to change that, actually -- I'll still rattle off whatever comes to mind here without doubt. What has changed is that I decided to begin a new blog strictly related to Buddhism, since that's one of my favorite subjects.  I've been quietly working away at it for a week or so, getting it to look the way I want it. Last night I started copying a few posts on the subject from this blog over to the new one -- salting the waters, so to speak, so that someone coming upon the blog for the first time would have more than one article to read and therefore might return and look for more. Only two are shown so far -- with others scheduled to publish tomorrow and the following day. That'll give me time and hopefully inspiration to write something new -- there's lots to write about, I just have to choose a place to start.

The new blog is named Cintā speaks. Cintā, you may or may not recall, is the Pali name given to me by Bhante Gunaratana as part of a ceremony at the Bhavana Society in August of 2011. It seems fitting to use it for this blog.

Check it out when you have a chance.  It's still a work in progress, but I let it go 'live' a few moments ago. We'll see what happens.