Thank God … Later

There’s a story. About a, well was it a writer? a painter? Whatever, he couldn’t work. At all, just no ideas at all. He’d sit down and … nothing. Finally after his long dry spell he had an idea. Not just any idea. It was a fantastic idea. He could see how it works out all the way. The idea was so fantastic he was overwhelmed. He sunk to his knees to thank God for the inspiration. He said his thanful paryers. He got up to got to work on the idea. And realized he’d forgotton it.

God will wait. Get your idea written down so you won’t forget. God will wait.

I’m not saying I had a fantastic idea. But I did have ideas. Hopefully I’ll have them again.

Where Did I Go?

I looked back at the day and asked, where did I go?
And I remembered, the YouTube videos when one lead to another and another and there were hours.
And I remembered. the mention of a presidential candidate from two people from very different parts of my life. And I started to really look at his policies.
There was a day, watching and reading and not taking notes but I do learn a bit. A bit.

I tend to get interested in something and stay there until I kinda sorta understand it. That’s where I went. But it’s not someplace where I go on a plan. Something grabs my attention and until that curiosity itch is scratched I’m there, looking, reading, lost in the “what about …” questions and answers.

That’s where I go.

Crickets Sleeping

I’m waiting for tonight and we’ll make a fire and sit outside enjoying the summer sounds

Me, yesterday

When do crickets go to sleep

In the nights, in August
we have the sounds of crickets
telling us the temperature they say

In the morning, while still dark it is silent
they, the crickets, have gone to sleep
I’ve tried to stay up and listen for them to sleep
going silent bit by bit

but I can’t
they are there when I sleep and gone when I awake
even early, at 3:00
when do they stop, and go to sleep

Question Your Route

Why take I5 home from Salem? Why take a freeway?

There are other great routes between Salem and Portland. This view is from a walk. We’d just used the ferry to cross the Willamette River. While waiting we watched a cement truck use the ferry for the same route. We also watched ospreys in their nest. Later we passed through hop fields, filbert tree groves, and a field of hemp, not marijuana according to the sign. This was a fine set of views.

Wheatland Ferry, Oregon

Personal Odometer

That title, personal odometer, might bring to mind age or anniversary. Indeed those are the most common personal, human odometers. If you are a runner or cyclist you might track miles or kilometers traveled by running or biking.

Your life can contain many odometers if you care to track them. This is especially true if you are improving a skill. Tracking consecutive days of action to hit a target or to grow a streak as large as possible is a powerful motivator. Photographers take on 365 projects, creating an image a day for a year. Many groups have a 30 day challenge, frequently in April and September. Auto-complete in my DuckDuckGo session shows 30 day of … yoga, thankfulness, poetry, gratitude, and more.

A few days ago I completed my 700th consecutive day of practicing Spanish with Duolingo. Meditation Helper shows that I’ve spent over 120 hours meditating and yesterday completed 160 consecutive days with a meditative session. On my phone Google Fit reports yesterday I did not hit my modest goal for minutes walking, breaking a six day streak. This morning I filled my fourteenth morning pages notebook. A practice that has many enthusiastic practitioners.

Consecutive days are not the only personal odometer to track. Tracking the number of books read, people mentored, pounds lost, money saved, or any countable whatever is a possibility for a personal odometer.

Tracking your personal odometers, why? Life progress can be easily lost. Tracking helps you pay attention. It illustrates how many first steps you’ve taken on your journey of 1,000 miles.

Multiple Notebooks

I read Dorris Lessings’ The Golden Notebook decades ago.

This book is an experiment of sorts. The structure is: A main story (which can be sufficient by itself) and then four other notebooks Anna Wulf created in order to keep her sanity. Then there is the “Golden Notebook” where everything is supposed to be assembled together and should help her make more sense of her chaotic life, mental break-down, including the severe writer’s block she had.
In the basic story “Free Women” Molly and Ana(a successful novelist) are best friends, they are both divorced and have children. One of the ex-husbands has a difficult relationship with his wife and lovers.
-the Black Notebook is about Anna’s experience in Central Africa, during and before World War II.
-the Red Notebook is about Anna’s experience as a member of the Communist Party
-the Yellow Notebook is a novel she is writing about her failed love affair
-the Blue Notebook is Anna’s journal about her emotional and personal life. Most importantly the analysis of her dreams by her psychoanalyst. At times the dreams take over her real life.

Summary from the Multnomah County Library

The concept of having a different journal or diary for different aspects of life was appealing and stuck. Until this year, I never implemented it. It always seemed difficult enough to keep up a single journal. Over the past couple of years I’ve developed a strong habit for Morning Pages. 365 Photo Projects, and an excess of Facebook and Twitter posts. The Morning Pages and 365 Projects have enriched my life. The social media posts seem to be a black hole that do little more than be a distraction.

Because Morning Pages and 365 Projects work, this year I’ve embraced the multiple notebooks. Both sets of work embody paying attention. They include:

  • Morning Pages – ala Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way
  • Week Book – a page each Saturday about the week that just went by
  • Sketch Journal – heavily influenced by and following ideas in Lynda Barry’s Syllabus
  • Face Book – a 6×9 inch book filled with faces. Initial work using the exercises found in Andrew Loomis’ Fun with a Pencil
  • Hand (and foot) Book – goes with the Face Book and because Carlos Villa recommends one
  • Exercise Log – a page a day of what I’ve done physically. I strongly suspect I’ll be motivated to not have blank pages

I’ll update this entry in 2019 with how all the notebooks are working out.

Tassajara Cooking

Cover photo from Ceasars Mama booksellers.

One of the books that changed my life was Tassajara Cooking. The first edition was published just before I graduated from high school. This small brown book was the guide to how to cook, not a list ore recipies. In it, I think, is advice to try every recipe multiple times, leaving an ingredient out each time. This will teach you what each item contributes to the dish.  That “try it for yourself, don’t slavishly follow” was an early, important, life lesson.

At some point I lost my original copy. I’ve been looking for years to find a replacement. This search was complicated by not remembering the title correctly.  Having a copy of The Tassajara Bread Book in hand, from the same era, I kept looking for The Tassajara Cook Book.  That lead to other fine books, but not the one I was looking for.

Today on Amazon I noted the listings for Tassajara Cooking. Scrolling through the used offers I found one with photos of the book.  Eureaka! The full description confirmed it is indeed the 1970s era printing.

I ordered. I sent feedback.

This isn’t a question. This is feedback.

Your listing for Tassajara Cooking – with the inclusion of photos and detailed description – was Fantastic! I’ve been searching for months for this exact item. The published in the 70s copy. The book that was an early guide to cooking for my college-aged self.

Thank you so much for enabling me to find this bit of nostalgia.

Yes, I could have ordered a later print run. But then there would be no plain brown cover, there would be no cover to match my copy of The Tasajara Bread Book. There would be no memories welling up as I take the book from the shelf for reading.

Thank you so much.

This is a very happy start to the new year.

P.S.  Yes, it’s New Year’s Day, a federal holiday. Yet, Ceasars Mama has already replied to my feedback.

Message from 3rd party seller:
Thank you for the wonderful feedback !!
Made us so happy to hear !
Happy New Year to you and thank you !