Saturday, January 24, 2004

By the end of the day I will have traveled about 3000 miles to San Francisco. I'll be visiting mom and dad and giving my sister a welcome break by taking over driving them to the doctors, the house of pancakes etc. One bit of irony to this is that in 1967 when I decided that I'd had enough of the pain living with my parents and alarmed at the upcoming whirlwind my sister was about to create, I hitched to SF, to Haight Ashubury and checked out the Summer of Love. I stayed with a friend of mine in San Rafael and later hitched to Samuel P. Taylor state park, where I lived in a redwood stump for awhile. The stump was about six feet in diameter and maybe two foot high. We were all pretty high, the four kids who camped in that stump. Every day I would hitch to San Rafael and panhandle enough to pay for another night in the park. I always thought someday I would get a house near there, maybe San Anselmo, maybe Fairfax, ya never know.... Now my parents live in Fairfax, and I live about as far away as you can get without swimming, and my sister lives in San Rafael.

People often mention that there is an irony to having to care for your parents when they grow older. How dependent they become as they lose their sight, their hearing, their memory. I don't see the irony, but then I'm pagan, and we tend to see things as big circles. It isn't ironic, it's appropriate to take care of your parents. There is a strange irony to the fact that my son, who was lost and found, now gets around in a wheelchair. My father, who now lives a few steps from where I ran away so long ago to escape his wrath, gets around in a wheelchair. If I don't stop crushing vertebrae, I'm gonna end up in a wheelchair. Actually there ain't much doubt but that I will end up in a wheelchair. Dad used to hit me because he thought I was into drugs. I got into drugs, finally, because he kept hitting me, and I was getting suicidal. So I smoked pot and it saved my life. Now dad is addicted to drugs and I drink too much beer because I hurt a lot. Mom has lost her short term memory. Mom used to tell me stories about her father, who died from pneumonia after swimming thru the Great Flood to rescue people trapped in their homes. Those stories are about all she remembers, and they are right on the tip of her tongue. Now my son has to take all kinds of drugs because he tends to get pneumonia from not moving very much.

The Republicans want to eliminate Medicaid and Medicare and Social Security, which would make both my parents and my son homeless. Jon would have to live with us and I would have to wake up every two hours to turn him and suction his lungs out every four hours or so. Shove a plastic tube down into his lungs, make him choke and double up and grab at the trache in his throat. But that's just a reflex says Dr. Shroud, just a reflex, not a reaction. He doesn't feel pain, because he is PVS. That's what Dr. Shroud says. Dr. Shroud also likes to call him "William" instead of Jon and sometimes refers to him as my father. It's hard to have great faith in a doctor who doesn't know the name of the patient, the age of the patient, the relationship of myself to the patient. And great faith is what you need with people in a coma. So my faith in the Goddess comes into play.

People who are stricken with this kind of sudden slow death, this strange ripping away of humanity from someone they love, tend to live a lot more in memories. Jon was my golden boy, with golden hair and cloudy grey-blue-green eyes. Handing out little flowers, he charmed and amused the girls. He grew up sad and angry because mom and dad were living in two different states. I was still sane, she was not. Jon hit the road, like his dad, but in an old van. I used to catch rides in old vans but never got to own one. After Teddy died in a car wreck I always wore my seat belt. Jon heard the tales of people burning, trapped in thei cars by their seat belts, so he never wore one. Now he is trapped in a wheelchair. Big wheel keeps on turning, proud Mary keeps on burning. The wheel is the Wheel of Life, the Great Mandela. Proud Mary refers to Mary of the Cross, buring in her silent rage that those boys her son traveled with got him into this trouble. She brings him down from the Cross, snarling at those boys, those fishermen who got her baby boy in such trouble. She and that other Mary, the Priestess, bring him to the cave and wash him and rub herbal infusions into his skin, now so cold. He murmurs to his Mother, "I ain't dead yet, ma, we got a plan, me and the boys...." The Ceremony of Osiris is performed by the Virgins from the Temple of the Goddess. Like Osiris, Joshua stays underground for three days and then emerges. Mary the Priestess brings him to the temple where the other pagan healers try to get the fluids out of his lungs and heal his wounds with comfrey and St. Johns Wort. Mary the Priestess tells Mary the mother that it may be that he will get the pneumonia and die yet, he needs to rest. She advises him to travel to Crete, to see the High Priestess, who may yet heal him. In the meantime he should lay low, but he won't. He promises his mom that he will behave, but he doesn't. They take him to Greece, Mary the Priestess and some of his friends, where he dies and is buried according to the Plan.

Jon has no Mary to take him down, not for three days, or three years, but that is how long it has been since he died in that van. Three years. A year is a day in the life of the Gods. So Jon has been down for three years, but there is no Priestess to rouse him, to bring him out. Without Isis, Osiris would have been a pillar of the community for a very long time.

If they shut down the facility, Jon will not come home, not unless there is no place left. With my own injuries I cannot be expected to live on two hour naps, plunging needles into his arms and sucking out the pneumonia from his chest. Shamans are always weak, crippled outcasts. Like me. Too weak to hunt, to plow.... too strange to visit unless the stars are right or the dreams have troubled you. Dreams of caves and black dogs and shooting in the distance. Dreams of bombs and volcanoes and women named Mary in veils, wailing at the wall. Dreams of dancing blindfolded at the edge of a great cliff with a black dog dancing beside you. Dreams of sitting on a hillside with Granddad, talking about the coming storm, seen as a great wall, a cliff of grey clouds, still far away. "What's it feel like, being dead, granddad?" "Well, Billy, you see that cloudbank over there?" "Yes" "Well, it's like being in that cloudbank, full of mists and light." "So how did you get on this hillside?" "I like to watch." He says. So we watch the light and the clouds and the in between. There's a computer program I have that takes pictures of grey scale values and assigns an altitude to each value. Then it creates a 3D image and you set trees and sources of water on it. You render it with clouds and sky and perspective. I can create an animation, flying thru and up and over those trees, those hillsides. When you are sailing high overhead the camera tips down and you see that the landscape is a Great Mother, a female form, spread out below. Her legs are wide and receiving, her breasts flow with sweet waters. Her eyes are watching you. I love this program and do things the designers probably never thought of. I create myths and sacred landscapes. I fly dragons overhead. This is a land I would like my son to wander some day.

So today, when I fly over this sacred landscape I will think about Jon and dad and Grand dad, and Joshua and Mary. Flying from breakfast to dinner with a bag of peanuts between. Flying from a son in a wheelchair to a father in a wheelchair. There is a curse, a blessing that goes, "Grandfather dies, father dies, son dies." The order of things. Dad has died a few times, Jon has died a few times, but the order is getting all mixed up and the son becomes the father to take care of the grandfather. Like some kind of play with the pages all mixed up. I remember riding on the back of my father in the swimming pool in Yuma. He makes like a whale, diving, and squirts waters at me when he emerges. When he gets tired I go to the wading pool and play, practicing holding my breath under water. The next day I have a fever, my ears are infected. The pressure and pain grows until my eardrum bursts and green ooze and blood flow from my ear, but the pain subsides. Eventually I can go back to school, to the bullies and the frowning teachers. I remember sitting at the side of the bed, watching my son, holding his hand. He stirs and rolls his head to look at me. Reflex, says Dr. Shroud. Suddenly green ooze and blood flows from his ear. I run to the nurse for help. Another ear infection. "Another? When did he get an ear infection?" "Last week, he spiked a fever, but didn't have a seizure so we didn't call you." I watch them clean his ear with peroxide and bandage it. If he doesn't get a fever, he won't have a seizure. But he seizes while I watch. He stiffens, then twitches, then shakes. They inject a drug and watch him until it passes and he sleeps. I take myself away and drive home, stopping off 9W to weep until I feel like my eyes are bleeding. My poor baby boy, my golden child, my son. I can't do a thing for him, I can only watch and tell him I love him. I tell the nurses to take good care of him. I tell Dr. Shroud that I want them to donate his organs if he dies. He tells me that the drugs and the injuries make that impossible. No organs to donate, no good out of bad. We'll burn him when he dies and scatter the ashes somewhere, maybe on the Mogollon Rim where the hawks fly. It's time to check the bags and fly to San Francisco. No flowers in my hair, but grey streaks the dirty brown strands. My eyes in the mirror are my father's eyes, but his have gone blind. The storm clouds are the color of my son's eyes but they no longer see me. I see no hope in my eyes, but faith in the Great Circle. I'll brush my mother's hair tonight.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Memo to self. Go to Staples and buy one of those little digital recorders. I can't find my daughter's, so I guess I'll have to buy me one. Another "object" to lose. I'm sure I made this memo to myself many, many times....usually while driving. I put on "Pirates" in honor of my daughter. She likes pirates and I often wonder if my "asides" did that. You know, stuff like my something or another was a pirate, or horsethief...She might have liked those stories and then decided she liked pirates best. Don't know. But I gave her a little recorder and told her I thought she very probably would have these great ideas, so here's this recorder to capture them. Well, turns out she's all "anti-technology" and likes to write memos to herself, but she took the recorder and I thought she left it in her room. I was going to borrow it and "capture" some of my more interesting thoughts. In case I ever had one...something besides "DAMN! THAT hurt!" when the shooting pains happen. That's pretty rare, unless I spend too much time at a keyboard, like writing in a Blog. So this should be short.

My asides. "A great many people seem to have an idea that a sure fire test for soul is communication. The thing is, that eliminates those beings who choose not to, who don't understand the question...They thought they were having a FINE conversation, and those whose communication is so subtle and delicate that you have to pause.....and listen. You listen first outside, like to the CD playing, the house creaking. Then you maybe listen to more inside thoughts. Then, sometimes, communication is achieved. And it's always something of a surprise."

Year of the monkey. I'm presented, always, with the image of this monkey with his hand caught in a hole because he won't let go of a fruit, or something. Someone asked me what I thought I was trying to say to myself in injuring my back so often and so hard. I said I thought I probably should stop falling down so hard. Maybe roll more. And definitely pay more attention to central details as fringe details. Less time sitting and more time thinking. AHHHHHH! That means I should go check to see that I haven't let the sink overflow again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

So today I went and got my body scanned for osteowhatsit....checking bone density. Seems my tumble down the basement steps fractured another vertebrae, just what I needed, but maybe they can re-inflate it if it hasn't been too long since the fall. I tried taking my back injuries and overlaying them on the Tree of Life to see which chakras or sephora line up. So far I have made no conclusions as to the cosmic nature of these things. I think the idea is to make me hurt a long for as long as possible. Maybe this is what a sculpture feels like inside the kiln as it's body changes into something different. Maybe I'll be harder and shinier after this. I'd like to say I'll be more careful, but I doubt I could back that up with any real hope.

The more you hurt, the more you notice the pain. Now that I know a bone in my back is crushed and needs a needle and some Great Stuff injected I seem to really be able to point right to the break. Funny thing is I find that knowing that I'm not a wimp has helped a bit, except for the pain. It may mean shorter posts as my back won't let me sit for very long. I guess I should not be carrying 50 lbs of hen food up the drive... Probably wasn't a good idea before I fell, but now it's for sure. I'll be able to fly to San Francisco to help care for mom and dad for two weeks, which will give my sister a break. Her break will go better than mine, no doubt.

Almost heard George Bush give his BIG LIE tonight on the TV. Everything is fine, go back to your workstations and don't foget to vote for George. The millions of people out of work, out of health care, out of hope don't matter. The trillions of dollars flowing out of the country to support our happy allies the Communist Chinese... the guys who brought us the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, and are now our best buds, well, that's nothing to fret about. It'll be our grand kids who pay back the loans. Unless the guys who said they would overwhelm us decide to call in their loans. The Chinese hold about 1/3 of the US national debt. We borrow money from a country with 10,000 nuclear missiles aimed at our hearts. This is not well thought out. Now the pain in my back is matched by a pain in my head as I try to understand why it's so important to tear down our country from the inside. I guess it's just another attempt by the Bush family to find some place where even George can't do any harm. But, they left him hanging with a group of psychotics and bloodsuckers. That was bad planning on their part, now we're screwed.

The next election is already fixed, we know the winner. Now we just have to decide if we have any chance at all of getting out of the country with our crippled backs before the economy crashes and we start paying for bread with wheelbarrows of greenbacks. If not, I have a big garden and some chickens, but I'll have to buy a rooster. That means I'll get woken up even earlier, and that means more back pain so I sure hope he wasn't lying when he said that we would have some kind of drug plan in place for old guys who broke their backs too many times. Otherwise I hope he lets us distill our own tonics and grow our own herbal meds. I have to go now before the back starts in twitching from sitting too long. The leg is already kicking in, tingling and burning. The back is stiff as a board but not as stiff as Dick Cheney's upper lip in the face of certain disaster if we can't get the UN to somehow bail us out while making George look like he can kill women and children and still be a born-again Christian. I guess plenty of Popes did it, so he can too. Like the Egyptian Pharohs of old, they are all on their way to immortality. I'm on my way to bed.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Yesterday I woke up with a raging headache, nausea, stuffy nose.... Pretty bad stuff. My wife thought I might be getting another migraine, which would make sense because I had been drinking the night before, but I wasn't sure, because I hadn't had anything but a few beers. They were Labatts, made in Canada and therefore shouldn't have had the chemicals that American beers tend to have. I didn't take the migraine meds I have...Partly because they knock me out and partly because I wasn't sure about the migraine business. I had been able to walk, not crawl to the bathroom and get myself a cold washcloth. Now, with a migraine I would have been crawling, moaning, unable to bear the light. We have a line of bulbs above the mirror and it's pretty bright in there.

So, I figured it out later when the headache had passed. I had slept past noon and woke up feeling tired, but not wasted. It was chicken shit. I had been out in the henhouse the day of the headache and I noticed that the floor of the henhouse was not entirely covered with straw or woodchips. The weather here has been bitter cold. I went into the garage and got a big bag of woodchips. Before I dumped the chips on the floor I cleaned out the nests, which were full of chicken shit. The older birds in this house, the reds, the aracaunas, were not laying and didn't maintain the nests well. I know they feel bad about it and I'm sure the memories of all those eggs bother them, so I didn't lecture them about it. I also didn't wear a mask or gloves because I was just thinking about the woodchips and how much I needed. Chicken shit is bad stuff, full of toxins. Our hens are not fed dead chicken parts, they are free range and such, but even with that their shit is going to be poisonous. So, I guess I poisoned myself slightly, probably I chewed my nails at night, as I usually do. I'm real bad about that, I chew and tear my nails and my fingertips are often covered in bandaids dipped in comfrey oil.

This morning I awoke thinking about a friend of mine. Last night I had raised my voice at him, talking about the War in Iraq. He was taking the stance that kicking in the doors of Iraqi homes, throwing the father out into the night and pressing a boot on his head was reasonable because there was a chance that the father might be a terrorist. I should point out that he had served time in the military and is very protective of soldiers. I have no issue with the idea that young men and women should not die thousands of miles away from home, but I have had the experience of my door being kicked in, myself being roughed up, thrown to the ground,, humiliated and threatened by people I did not know, under circumstances I did not understand. Back in 1968 I'd been staying with an old school chum who, as it turns out, had been dealing drugs, and not exactly the same kind of drugs that his customers expected. Never sell bad drugs to bikers, it will almost always come back to haunt you.

My point is also that in Iraq the culture is strongly tribal, with the father as the ultimate authority. Also, in Iraq, the shoe or boot...footwear, is a strong symbol of disrespect. That's why they wave shoes at people to show hatred. Placing an American boot on the head of the father of the house show massive disrespect for the family. Most of the time we are in the wrong house and that father is not (yet) a terrorist. The young soldiers are there at the behest of the lies of our government. We know this, everyone in the world knows this, the government even admits it in a roundabout way. Sort of like a kid saying "You shouldn't have put the cookie jar on the table if you didn't want me to eat them all."

Well, I think it would be good if we, the People, were made sick by bullshit in much the same way I had been made sick on chickenshit. Think about some guy like Rush, chatting away on the radio about how we should have camps for Negroes to live in where they would all be happy dancing and drinking and stuff "those people" like to do. Suddenly, he grabs his head moaning. He bends over and pukes into the basket and staggers from the room, sick as a dog. That would be good....for us anyway. I'd feel sorry for the man as a man, but as a citizen I'd rejoice. We'd know that he had been spreading bullshit. Or picture the Shrub on CNN, giving a speech someone else wrote, and someone else coached him over the big words,(words he didn't understand, like "constitution" and "Democracy"). Suddenly he groans, clutches his head and falls on the floor puking. Everyone would know there was some bullshit flying.

We need this kind of thing in our country right now because there is so much bullshit flying. It's not as deadly as chickenshit, but just as distasteful. Actually, looking at our "Take over the world and grab vital resources" attitude I guess it is kinda deadly. In my case it could be even worse. Because we are billions, going into trillions, of dollars in the hole financing wars and CEO vacations, they want to get rid of things like Medicare and Medicaid. My son is on Medicaid. It eventually paid for his wheelchair, and it feeds him...thru a tube to his stomach, brown stuff flowing from a bottle, but it keeps him alive. If the people running the country have their way...and we can't stop them with letters to the son will be thrown out of the facility. They will shut it down and he will have to live with me.

Now, I am good with chickens, but I am a wimp about things like killing them when they stop laying. I just could not take old Red or Fuzzybutt and rip their heads off and plunge their corpses into a vat of boiling water to loosen their feathers. I like fried chicken, but not fried friends. These birds, and the regimen of caring for them, has helped me keep sane thru this brain injury thing. But if they close Lake Katrine I will have Jon at home. I will push a plastic tube down into his lungs thru that hole in his throat and suck the mucus from his lungs so he doesn't get another pneumonia. If he gets pneumonia he spikes a high fever and has seizures. I'd have to give him a shot of sodium pent and I can't use needles. Even back in the 60's all I did was acid and pot and speed, and that in pill form. I can't suction out my boy's lungs, but I would have to...I will have to....and that will make me crazy and my son will die and then I will want to die.

All because people used to tease Georgie Bush when he was growing up as the son of the Texan Governor. He grew up drunk, he grew up snorting coke. Those bikers that kicked in the door and beat me up and shaved my head to humiliate the long haired hippy, they snorted coke. That's the kind of thing that coke heads eventually get around to doing. And I'm pretty sure George has introduced Blair to coke. I saw the Prime Minister on TV and he was speaking fast, sweating and grinning wildly as he spoke of bringing democracy to Iraq. He was obviously comfortable saying big words and I got the feeling that he was actually saying things that he wrote, not some nameless woman who would later make money writing a book on her years writing speeches for the President. But I think that event would have been much better for all of us if, in the middle of thier speeches, Blair and George W. suddenly clutched their heads and dropped to the ground puking. The commentator would say, in an unscripted speech, "Well, it looks like the President and Prime Minister were trying to bullshit us again. The President apparently ate corn on the cob and perhaps some fried chicken at lunch. The Prime Minister seems to have had mostly beer. Both men may have been drinking milk as well, because their upper lips were covered in some white substance...probably milk.....Back to you, Connie"

Sunday, January 18, 2004

I'm surprised anyone thinks these stories of mine are funny! I just calls 'em as I see 'em. The chickens are there, the cats are there, the pookah is there...I have mentioned that we have a pookah, didn't I? Well, actually, it's mine...or anyway it has followed us here from Arizona. It's not a 6' tall rabbit by the way. Pookahs can take any form, like most of the fay race. This one is a very large grey cat, about 2 foot tall. It hangs out on the edge of vision, usually in the hallway. We've had people drop in and sit in the living room chatting when suddenly they'll stop and stare at the hall entrance. Then they ask me how many cats we own. Well, first off I correct them about "owning" a cat....cats are room mates. Then I tell them we have two calicoes and one black and white. They sit for a minute, thinking, and then they ask, "No grey cat?" To which i reply, "Oh, you must mean the pookah! I'm not sure if he lives here or just visits, but he seems to spend a lot of time in the hallway...." It seems to make some folks nervous. This is not unusual for me. Back in 1975 my brother-in-law, Teddy, was killed in a terrible car accident in SF. He had half his head torn off when the car flipped over a few times. He wasn't wearing a seat belt. Teddy is one of my spirit guides now and has been known to visit when I really am at my last piece of rope, like when Jon got hurt. One time a friend came to visit and spent the night. The next morning he came down the hall and asked me if I had been playing bagpipe music during the night. He said all night he's been dreaming that he was in a woods, chasing a bagpiper thru the trees. Everytime he thought he'd caught up he'd hear pipes a little further off. I told him that must have been Teddy. Teddy was an excellent piper, even cut a single recording with Capital records a rock and roll band! He asked me if Teddy wore a tam and had a wispy red moustache that joined a jaw-line beard. "Yup," I said,"That would have been Teddy. He must like you, that's a good sign...."
Like I said, I just calls 'em as I see 'em. Nothin' but the truth....well, I will admit I sometimes embellish the chicken stories. They speak with such a strong accent I can't always be sure what they say, so I interpret a bit.
Life is not odd, but it tries to be.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Today my neighbors were all riding frantically around their land in their 3 and 4 wheelers. They all rode in and out of the woods at what I would call "high speed" because that's what neighbor Bob likes. But Bob doesn't like helmets and as he says to me, "What's the worse that could happen? If I die, I die." Now, I introduced Bobby to his new wife Cathy because I felt they were both looking for the same thing. Fun without too many rules, love without games. Bob's daughter Janine was on the 3 helmet....thru the trees, bouncing on the lumps in the snow. I stood at the door, watching, and thinking how ironic it was that Jon used to say, "What's the worse that could happen? If I die, I die." He was talking about seat belts. I watch Janine, that sweet eyed, bright young girl, driving thru the trees without a helmet, without a clue. What's the worse that could happen? Come on down to Lake Katrine, I got a couple dozen people you should meet... bring the family. They won't. They don't want to know that being stupid has a price, that being unlucky has a price....
Well, I guess they were lucky today.
I want to live on 15 acres without neighbors, without all terrain vehicles. I want to fill my life with art and music. I want my boy to dance again.
Jon was driving to work in Prescott four days after his 26th birthday when an oncoming pickup truck hit a patch of black ice and slammed into the front of Jon's VW van. Jon was thrown thru the windshield and suffered "traumatic brain injury" That was 3 years ago.People tell me I am too focussd on "negativity" and that I should do something positive. So I have made a series of ceramic masks that show the emotions I have felt and the emotions I think my son must feel. I write a lot. This is the first time I have written about Jon to the general public. Until now I have only vented to a group of TBI caregivers online, people who know what is going on and understand the frustration and pain.
Jon was a happy kid, loving and giving and really good. He wouldn't want me to bring people down, but I am not him, and so sometimes I mull over depressing truths. If you don't wear seat belts or helmets or otherwise take care of yourself, sometimes you send your best friends, your father, your mother...your best friends....down into a pit of Hell. And there isn't much you or anyone can do to rescue them.
The thing is, people with TBI can be saved, sometimes. It takes money, and people, and time. The trouble is, I have $30 in savings, there aren't enough aides at Lake Katrine to give full featured therapies, and time sometimes seems to be running away from me. The work I have done, my art, since Jon was hurt, has been the best I have ever done. Sometimes I think it's really good, and I am a hard critic. So I have that going for me. I just wish that somehow I could turn what talent I have, such as it is, inot a tool that would help my kid. But I guess time will tell. It's late, I'm tired, my back hurts. I should stop writing.
Looks like today might be a bit warmer than yesterday. That wouldn't be hard to do, yesterday had very distinct arctic qualities. I think here on the home front we have a new kind of cabin fever. Here's an example. Furlinghetti, the black and white cat, walked past me to the folded up spare bed we have in the corner of the room. She started out reaching up, clinging to the bed covers and "murping". That's the sound she makes when talking to humans. Then she jumped up on the folded bed.... You know the kind, they just fold up like a book. Furball gets to the top and begins dancing about, shaking her head, and murping. Once she had my attention she put her head down in the corner of the bed where it meets the corner of the room, and stood on her head. She rolled over onto her back and then did the routine again. I watched for about five minutes at this strange act and then she jumped down, murped twice and ran down the hall way. Maybe she was bored, I just don't know.
My wife Margaret says I should try to think more about the positive aspects of my life. I seem much too aware of life's failures. I have been unable to do most of what I have tried to do lately. The drugs for my back make me forgetful and clumsy, so bringing in the eggs from the henhouse got as far as the kitchen counter before I dropped the basket, breaking all the eggs. Not a big deal since the last few days all the eggs have been frozen, but still, another failure.
Chronic pain can effect brain chemistry and make you depressed and clumsy and forgetful. The same kind of side effects the drugs for the pain offer. Kinda hard to be perky when your leg feels on fire, but I'm working on it.
I used to tell folks that inside your psyche there is a version of yourself that is the accumulated result of all those times you were told "No", or all the times your got your feelings hurt. That "terrible child" has tantrums and fits of vindictiveness. You need to find that terrible child and somehow metamorph them into the "wonderful child". You first have to accept them, really acknowlege what made that persona, and then listen to them and reward them for protecting you. Because that's what the terrible child is doing, being your mentalguard. That's a good thing. The terrible child is like those big statues in front of the temple. Awesome to look at with their swords of fire and toothsome mouths. The terrible child is the force that gives you the anger to fight back. But they need to be cared for and they need some limits. They can run around in your psyche, knocking things over and causing a mess. That's why we get forgetful, things are in a mess.
On the gatepost to the garden I have placed my first helmet. I used to be a Viking guy in the SCA, the Society for Creative Anachronism. That helmet was pretty clumsy and heavy, but it was a Viking-style helmet and I like it. I guess the head changes shape or something because after a couple of decades i couldn't fit my head into it. So now it sits on a gate post some 7 feet off the ground, glaring at those who would enter the garden. It has a little skullcap of snow now and looks vaguely like a Jewish robot head. There's actually a lot of the SCA around this place. There's two real swords propped up in the hallway and a couple of bladed iron maces. Janis is the throwing mace I bought from Kirby D. Wise, an armorer in the western edge of Arizona who used to show up at tournies with a station wagon filled with swords, helms and daggers. Once he brought this fantastic greatsword, actually a claymore. It had silver inlay and ironwood grip and you could wield it one handed. For a mace man it was a great toy, but the $900 price put it out of my range. I much prefer the bold thunk of the mace hitting its target. I taught my daughter Jess to throw Janis, one handed. We have this large left over stump of a hemlock tree and we place bottle caps in the bark and back off about 12 feet or so. I can hit the cap fairly often, but when Jess hits it, she nails it dead center. I remember one afternoon when she was practicing and this car pulled up with a kid who was sort of interested in her. She nailed the bottle cap and the kid backed out and drove away. Too much for him, I guess.
Further up the drive is our kiln shed. I built a two chambered wood-fired kiln, a style called noborigama. You can fire it in 12 hours to bisque temperature, or 18 hours for sculpture temp. I also have a small anagama kiln, a simple updraft design for masks and small vessels. I usually fire that in 8-12 hours. The brick lined pit is like a flattened bowl in the ground and aside from the solstice and equinox bonfires I use it to fire small pieces like bowls, figurines and pipes. Beyond that is the not yet completed sauna. I framed it in the country-Japanese style but getting the roof completed has been an issue. My back won't allow me to push plywood on to the frames. I guess I'll have to use boards. I have this cute little wood stove I plan to cover in slabs of soapstone for the heat inside. I'll have two or three benches at different heights and a good time will be had by all. The idea is that when you fire a kiln you can wind down in the sauna.
It's a nice place to be, but slow working when your back is so banged up. Two crushed vertebrae, a missing disc and arthritis. Makes me depressed too often, but at 53 I expect much more of me. My terrible child never misses a chance to scold me for not working harder, but when it's -30 with wind chill, there is no work to be done outside. So I sit inside and make exotic birdhouses. The idea is to try to bring in some money so I feel like I am not a bum, which is what my dear old daddy would have called me. I don't have a job, I stay at home and clean the house as best I can and make sure that Margaret comes home to a nice place and warm food. I had to quit my job three years ago when I decided that working for morons would make me crazy. Then my son Jon was thrown thru a windshield into a coma and I haven't gone back to work since.
Well, having posted one version of "Day one" and then deleted it, let's see if I like what I have so far. Time to spell check and publish.