"People from a planet without flowers
would think we must be mad with joy the whole time
to have such things about us."
~Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

Thursday, February 3, 2011

“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons ...” J.R.R. Tolkien (English Writer -The Lord of the Rings, 1892-1973)

"...perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us."
~Rainer Maria Rilke~ Austria-German lyric poet~ 1875-1926 ~ 
I had to drive down to South Sacramento yesterday. I had an appointment for an eye examination so I could order new glasses. This is one of the big issues in my life. I'm losing ground ,as I mature, and continue to need stronger glasses to see the things that bring me pleasure and to discover new points of view. 
After seeing the doctor and ordering glasses, I sat in the pharmacy waiting for a prescription I needed and watch the news at noon on a TV suspended over the waiting room . Someone in Placerville, who worked in an elementary school as a custodian, shot the principal and killed him. This happen during school hours and the screen was filled with the chaos of parents trying to get to their children and the news media trying to get information. Oh no, not another angry person... and another..... and another.
The man accused of killing the Principal was picked up at his home and arrested. No one seems to know what the motivation was for this killing. The police are not talking, so the media is focusing on the parents, teachers and the children who knew the two men and of course they are all speculating as to what happen.
I thought, as I waited for my medicine, that this seems to be happening more often... more the way that people deal with adversity in their lives now. Some people reacted with so much anger that they fought and argued with the actions of the police who were trying to keep some semblance of order and deal with the frightened parents who wanted answers.... and their children. 
 The news continued and folks were standing near the TV watching and talking to each other, shaking their head and walking away. My name came up on the board so I got in line, paid for my meds and left the hospital. I still had to drive over to Costco. 
I always have a list when I go to Costco. It keeps me from impulse buying. BUT.....Sometimes I just start looking around, especially in the book section, and then I see something that I can't live without. Impulse buying is usually not a good idea but yesterday I had a reason. The premise, this time, being that my oldest grandson has a birthday coming up next month and I need to start looking for presents.
I found two. One I can't tell you about because it has to be a surprise.
Now, the reason I'm telling you about the other one is because I'm in a dilemma about it. I love this book. The Bean would probably love it too..... but I think I really bought it for me.
It's called DRAGONOLOGY; The complete Book of Dragons. I don't get too goofy about books. I like some and I keep  the ones I fall in love with.... but this book is beautiful. To really enjoy this book you have to maintain a small part of you that believes dragons just might still exist. I think I do or I hope that somewhere at sometime, they did. But this book takes dragon dust to a whole new level.
You have to suspend your logic and  believe in spells, Merlin, Beowulf, the Origin of Species and Marco Polo .You have to become a child again and remember "not to discuss dragons with people who do not believe in them, or with those who merely seek to amuse themselves."  
This book is about DRAGONS.... 
Fierce, fire breathing dragons that fly and have shiny eyes ..., and are an endangered species.
This book is the encyclopedia of Dragons and opens with a small envelope that says...
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN written on it. When you open it up there is a letter inside from Dr. Ernest Drake of St. Leonard's Forest~ April 1904
He writes that he has written this book, "...not that you might seek out and destroy the few dragons that remain, but that you might learn about them and, indeed, help them to stay concealed. For the wise learn much, see much, know much, but disturb little." and he wishes to, "pass on this knowledge to someone worthy of its keeping." 
He tells you how to refute the skeptics and how to befriend a dragon if you have the amazing opportunity of finding one.
He even classifies the dragons by habitat and shows you where you might find them on this planet.
There is a chapter for Dragon Biology and Physiology...
and The Life Cycle of Dragons. I think I'm in love with this little newborn infant. Something about him reminds me of Carl, my corgi.
The illustrations are beautiful...


And he adds a record book, riddles & puzzles and how to fly with your new "pet".
But wait, I've saved the best for last....
A real sample of dragon dust. I had no idea. You can use it for spells and charms, like making yourself disappear. HOLY DRAGON DUST!  All you have to do is take four freshwater pearls, ground them into powder with a dragon horn or jade. Mix the powder in the grease of  a freshly killed , seven-day-old Koi ( that's a big goldfish) and massage it liberally all over the clothes and body repeating "She zheng wang dong. li pa!" Nothing to it. This will last four hours. Now tell me.... haven't you always wanted to just disappear for four hours at some point in your life? 
I need to find a Dragon. I need to market this dust. I would be a wealthy woman.
Maybe these Dragons are like the gold that the Prospector and I seek. Maybe Dragons really do exist but they are as elusive as the gold of the Mother Lode here in California. All I know is that I will be looking for these beautiful creatures for the rest of my life and I have decided that I may wait for a few years to share this knowledge with my grandsons. This is some heavy information and I want to choose the opportune time to share this with them. I want them to be young enough to have an open mind but old enough to not be afraid. 
Also, they need to be old enough to do some field work with me because I see lots of "Dragons" in this world, in other forms.I see many dragon  metaphors in our lives and in the vast territory of our minds we seem to create them as part of our life stories. I want to teach my grandsons how to see the difference between the real dragons in our lives and the dragons that fly invisibly over us and live in magical places. Children need this. It's where Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Sandman live and if it's in my lifetime we will find it together. 
We can't tame the men who choose to kill one another, but we can start with them as children and teach them about goodness, love and the magic of Dragons. It's all about dreams, hope and being brave and it's about the dust..... that beautiful, magical and shiny dust that humans came looking for here in the California Foothills  thinking that it would be the answer to their dreams. It's all about the limits of our imagination and how we can soar above it all  if we choose.
I think I will keep this book for a while longer. It has given me back something that I thought I had lost... the magic of my childhood and the the fire breathing dragon inside of me.
 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Monomania.....I have found my new middle name.

In 19th century psychiatry , monomania (from Greek monos, one, and mania) is a single pathological preoccupation in an otherwise sound mind.
Wikipedia.org

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cookies, Treasures and Sunshine

Yes, you know what time it is. 
It's Cookie time.  When the urge to bake something sweet strikes.. ..When your better judgement breathes it's last breath and the hounds of hunger for something sweet and sinful ride across your landscape of resolve.... It's time to bake cookies.
This happens to me frequently. It's a weakness in my DNA.  I did listen to my long ago Weight Watcher lecturer who said...."If you don't have the bad stuff in the house, you won't have it around to eat." ... but that doesn't stop me when I really want something like Ben and Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch ice cream . The store is only 10-15 minutes away, so I usually fabricate a list of things that I need (to make the trip worthwhile), including Ben and Jerry's and then I drive down the hill and into town. NOTHING stops me from my craving for the sensual delight of really good ice cream. Well, I'm sure there is something that would stop me but last Thursday I couldn't remember what it was. So, on this very lovely California dreamin' day, I got the urge for something sweet and went looking into the cupboard and online for anything I could make without getting into the car and driving somewhere
I was alone because the Prospector was treasure hunting with friends... spending the day digging in old outhouses, foundations and chimneys in the gold camps around this area for the elusive hidden gold treasure he thinks is still waiting for him in the ruins of yesteryear.
I found treasure too. I found a bag of Heath Toffee Bits in the cupboard. I have no idea how it got there. HA! It was glowing with light and shinning in it's beautiful bag. There must be a connection here. Heath Bar Chips and Coffee Heath Bar Crunch Ice Cream?? It must have been a sign from my inner child saying..." This will satisfy your craving but you will have to work for the pleasure." 
So I did. First I went out to the chicken house for some fresh, unrefrigerated eggs. That's so I can eat the raw cookie dough without fear of some horrible ailment that they say hides in store bought eggs. I really wonder about that.
 Then, I found a better recipe online than the one on the back of the toffee bits package ...
 Adapted some ingredients and ...
And baked some cookies.....
These cookies are delicious. You must let them stay on the pan for a minute or two and then remove them fast. The toffee bits want to stick to the cookie pan. It says to grease the pan but they still seem to stick. I used my mother's old metal spatula. It works better than a Teflon one does.
Eight or nine minutes at 350 degrees seems to be just about right.
This is a very sweet cookie. I think that you could reduce the sugar even more than I did.  Also they tend to stick to each other in the cookie jar and I found they don't stick if you put them in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator.
The Prospector came home with some muddy broken pieces of ironstone, which I cleaned up and a really cool little, twelve sided  bottle that still has something inside of it and a cork in it.
This little bottle reminds me of Alice In Wonderland..... the bottle that said "Drink me." Remember? Only we thought it might have Nitroglycerin left in it because it was found near an old mine so we didn't want to move it around very much. I don't think that's what is in it. The Prospector had to dig it up and move it around a lot and it hasn't exploded yet. OK, I tested it. I carefully rolled it across a slab of quartzite outside and it didn't explode.Maybe it's just water. We don't know and we don't want to dig the cork out... Better to leave it as it is.
It's been in a  fire. The glass is so beautiful because of this. The glass has a rainbow effect, almost a mother of pearl look to it. I love these little treasures that we find around here. It's almost better than panning for gold and you find more of it. I will put it in the window with the other little bottle that my friend "C" gave me last year.

So we had dinner and ate cookies. It was a very satisfying day.