Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My New Job
We pensioners must find things to keep us busy, lest we dwindle into senility without purpose. Thus, I am proud to reveal that I've been battling this dwindle swindle by sharing my new job. Only part time--and heck, a few days a year is better than nothing! 
   Revealed there in the picture is my job: parking overseer for the home bouts of the Humbolt Roller Derby! Yea man, I get to wear a bright reflective orange vest and point to where people ought to park! Some people brazenly ignore me--usually the tokers, as I can see, after they take the farthest-away slots--and I don't care. Perhaps that is the benefit of my aged wisdom? It's gotta be good for something!
   If you do not know what flat track roller derby is then you must not bee cool. It's the latest women's sport happening, and a hella fun to watch. Suzanne skates, though not in bouts (like most of the girls) and we have season passes. I'm even thinking of driving to watch the away games! 
   And even better yet, I've managed to maneuver my vast business experience, fantastic ideas and especially my oodles of free time to land a spot on the HRD board of directors!
  And entirely without irony or sarcasm, i really am pleased to participate in this. It's one of the best things I've ever seen for women empowerment, cuts across all class and economic barriers (well, at least those that we have in Humbolt), and is really fun to watch. 
   Roller derby is everywhere, and I really do suggest you check it out in your area.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Old Joints and Ponies

   Some days are just better than others, and this was one of those days. I got it now. What a fantastic teacher I have. The last couple of lessons I have saddled Lightning and mounted while in the stall. Mounting’s no more problem now that I realized it’s like vaulting a fence to get up—lower that center of gravity! But Paula has had me get into the saddle properly there, and also had me practice moving the horse sideways. I didn’t really realize it was even possible before.
   So this time when we went to the arena I did the lunging, which means I had Lightning on the halter and had her walk, trot and canter in circles. “Hands down!” was my command this time—especially with the whip that signals her to change pace or keep going. So round and round she goes with me turning with her. I used to just get dizzy when I did that. No more.
Oh yea, I am riding English Saddle too
   But that’s just warm up and the great part was riding and at last learning how to properly turn the horse! It sounds lame especially since I’d been turning her every lesson. But it’s not lame, it is a bit complicated to coordinate hands and feet (and stay sitting properly!) It has to do with that “make her go sideways” movement along with hands held properly. Paula basically grabbed my hands and said “Hold them like this,” which was pretty damn effective. I became acutely aware of my hands and managed to almost always hold them in the right place. And at the same time to do the right thing with my feet—get Lightning to pivot around the corners. And it went right!
   So I was riding in circles and oblongs and long rectangles with rounded corners and then even weaving between obstacles and holding my hands and feet right and sitting back in the saddle and damn but I could feel that everything was done just right. Yow! I have said that when I’m doing things right with Lightning and we are working together and I’m just gently guiding her to do what she wants to do in the way I want it done then everything is just perfect. And by “perfect” I mean that I feel right on the horse and then I feel like the whole damn cosmos is just perfect. Everything. It is exhilarating and if I wasn’t relaxed and breathing just right so that Lightning snorts with pleasure too then it would take my breath away.
   It wasn’t until I got back into the car that I realized I’d spent the whole lesson off the lunge line! Like, no strings attached to my dear teacher! And learning how to turn properly! A fantastic part of my wonderful day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Oak Dance, 2012

For the last couple of decades I have been attending an annual ceremony called the Oak Dance. It's a trance dance whose purpose is transformation, both personal and extrapersonal. Or to explain it another way, it is where I go to get a direct line to my personal Higher Power, dead friends and relatives, and whatever disembodied entity wishes to communicate. And also, after decades, I visit with a whole lot of people from places distant from me who have become friends, or are becoming one. 
A Live Oak Tree
     Like many such activities, getting there is half the adventure. On the way south I blew out a tire and discovered we didn't have a lug wrench. That's when Officer Collins pulled up behind me and lent me one while she walked her K9. I attended an NA meeting in Santa Rosa and ran into a friend I haven't seen in a decade or more. I locked my keys in the car and instead of burglarizing my own car I remembered a lock box where I'd stashed an extra just for the next time I did this.
     Before the ceremony I was asked to lead a sweat lodge ceremony, which is always a high point. During the dance I realized I was no longer young, desperate, or stupid enough to be compelled to stay on my feet for all 10 hours of the dance. I was nabbed for a while by Trickster and facilitated its manifestation for a gloriously beautiful moment. I came to terms with the death of a dear, dear friend who had died some 15 or so years ago.
     But most surprising and pleasing to me was to again measure the changes I'd undergone in the year since the last dance and discover that I am actually feeling happy. Not just ok, not just good, but downright happy. The information that I've felt unhappy most of my life is perhaps news to everyone who did not know me intimately, because in social circumstances I nearly always felt ok, and always felt a genuine joy when seeing good friends. But it was always transitory. I used to stumble upon joy at times, and many times worked my ass off to get it. But at this time I just feel happy, and without the feeling that surely something bad must now descend upon me. I feel that people who don't suffer from depression might not have a clue what this is about, but I am speaking more to those people who do know. It feels so nice that I have no qualms about exposing my former self just to share the news with others that it can change. It has for me. 
     And I am happy about it.
     How nice!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I'm in this book!

Foyou hard core GS fans, here's a new book coming out to which I have contributed. It will be available from Stone Skin Press and I have a very nifty little fable that I penned for it, titled "You Can't Teach a New Dog Old Tricks."
Learn more at