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The Cat Chronicles

Kitten is racing around the livingroom, batting bits of dirt on the slippery almost-wood floor. The lesbian neighbors are getting their yard done. Every week those guys are here trimming and mowing and making the place look like fantasyland. "Cierren la puerta" one of them yells, after the lady yells at him to close the gate, her dog might run away. I would run away too. I did run away. I was going to sunbathe up on the roof but her harsh voice and their mowing was incentive enough to come back inside and braindump instead.

Last night's potluck with the lesbian choir was good. We showed up late and they already had a table full of food. We listened to a lot of songs and rated them on a scale of 1-10 how much we like them. I had burned a CD of 20 shower singing songs that I picked from my singable songlist.....and actually got to play my 20 songs! At least parts of each one. And the group really liked several of them. It was gratifying. They weren't too interested in the Dolly Parton songs, or the one from Dan Fogelberg. And said that the Indigo Girls song Closer to Fine was overdone, and too much a signature lesbian song. Funny that I never have identified as lesbian, and yet I love that song, it is a lifetime favorite.

Cindy, the lady that hosted the choir gathering, has started several businesses, one of which is making hula hoops. She sells them for $25 each. She melts and tapes together PVC plastic pipe into hoops, sometimes with water inside to make it easier to hula. Then she tapes them all pretty with plastic tape. I stood in her back yard and hula'd for at least the 10 minutes that is officially a workout. It is a very fine core warmup. I might make hula hoops sometime. It's the latest rage at the gym, so she says. It's a good idea.

Cindy would love to do the song Deeper Well in the choir....as would I. Cindy's house is right in the flight path of the Portland airport. I told her that it will get better: as the price of fuel increases, air traffic will decrease. Right now it's really irritating. She said that she is still adjusting to it, after having bought the house and moved there in November when the windows are closed. The constant plane noise is jarring and for me would be discomforting, just as the mowing noise. I want to live somewhere that there are not motors running around me.

I was happy also to get to hang out with Sparky, finally. She's the president of the choir, though she doesn't sing much anymore. Her truck is older than mine and in worse shape. She was full of amusing advice, some of it too late, for example: You want to go to your 20th high school reuniun because the women look great, but the men are starting to go. We laughed a lot. Sparky talked about all her doctor appointments. She is the classic cranky noncompliant patient. She says her charts everywhere are filled with the word "refused". It was the most comfortable I've felt in a group for a while.

Kitten has been out and she just ran back in here and is raising hell. The mowing is doubled, they are trimming and mowing at the same time. I should put mowing day on my calendar. It's a ruckus. Good day to go out for breakfast.

There are so many more stories to tell about my life.....

Like, for instance, last weekend, when I was camping with Susan, we spent two nights at the Paradise Campground on the McKenzie River. The campground is large and most of the riverside sites are on the far end. The first night we took the 2nd crappy site we found open because we didn't know where to go look for good sites. So for our second night we decided to move to a better site. We jumped in the early afternoon to camp 19, where there is good access to the river. We hadn't even got our tents set back up when dude came along in a big truck with an emblem on the side, and told us we couldn't stay there. The site was reserved. Of course the site had been reserved the day before and nobody had been there. It was clear enough that whoever had made the reservations wasn't going to be around that night. We disagreed with the policy by about 12 hours, but we moved.

I asked dude with the big truck which was still idling if he had any sites to recommend, and he sent us down to sites 51, 55, that area. She was driving a little old nissan truck that belongs legally to her boyfriend's brother. We spotted sites in the 50's, and stopped in the middle of the road to gawk. I hadn't seen the number on the last site, so she backed up to see the sign. Then she started backing up some more. I didn't know where she was going or what she was going. We were accelerating backwards. Suddenly the truck stopped.

I was leaning forward a little at the moment it happened, and looking at Susan. Her head and hair whipped back. I was jolted too but more of my spine was away from the seat, so I think my core cushioned the impact to my neck. That night I didn't sleep very well and the next day I began to feel the whiplash. My sternocleidomastoid muscles on both sides are quite sore, as are a few right along my cervical spine. I imagine Susan probably is very sore. And she had a bike race the nice after. I wonder if she kicked ass. She probably did. She's quite the endurance athlete. She is an airplane pilot for a living, too. And she does not like backing up the truck.

After the impact she got quite upset and showed the inclination to be violent, but contained herself. I just walked away, to look at campsites. I could not help at that moment. A minute or two later she was looking at campsites with me and acting almost cheerful. I know she was still shaking inside. She was hearing her boyfriend's disapproval long before he started pouring it on her.

We moved our camp and launched on the river from camp. The boys in the campsite next door offered to pick us up downstream, we had only to call them on a cell phone from the takeout. The run reminded me strongly of the Nantahala. Fast cold green water, continuous class II bounce with a hole or rock here and there. Most of the rocks were just under the surface, making it a water reading challenge. The sun was also in our faces, more as the day progressed. S didn't have a hat or sunglasses, and she was very intent upon the painfully bright river downstream. I could sometimes see her lips moving and wondered where her mind was. She read the water and rode the bounce easily. Initially she was intimidated by the speed of the river, but gained confidence. She is frightened by continuous class II, but will bomb right through some stout and swirly class III's on Fish to Bob's.

I love to be on the river. That has not gone away. I decided after this weekend that my dream practice is located on the bank of a fast cold clean river. I am going to do structured and customized retreats with Priessnitz style hydrotherapy, airbaths and sunbathing. It will require some rock and mortar construction at the river bank. And it will require some space and privacy. That will be the hardest thing to find. It would be absolutely amazing if there were a hotsprings available for my use, but I know the odds of that are almost nil. I will probably have to heat water.

HOMEWORK

Oh yes, one more thing, my homework for my counseling appointment today. I will answer the first question, what kind of homework I like, and give examples. I like to be given reading or listening assignments that pertain to the state or situation that I find myself in, and then to be given writing assignments that help me to grasp or integrate the lessons. I also like homework assignments that directly rewire my brain, such as new practices to try. Practices that have been offered me before include mantras ("I'm sorry, I love you" for when someone is angry at me has been a great help) or the Gratitude list, one of Sandy's great teachings. I have greatly benefitted from regularly listing things for which I am grateful, and I am grateful to Sandy for that tool.

I would like to rewire my brain away from this new thought that my mind is going. I want to keep my mind. I don't want to make it go away just by thinking that it is.

I want to make my heart strong enough to keep it open all the time. Now it is sometimes afraid and slams shut. I want any practice that can help me to keep the flow of energy strong in my green chakra.

Ah, another thing that I would like my homework to do, is to help me with my primary goal of the summer, which is to establish a practice, and some routine, that I maintain through discipline on a daily basis. I have never had discipline and I would like to begin to develop it now. I need it.

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