…At The Grindstones

{October 20, 2010}   Where Did Yesterday Go…

Wow, and here I thought I was going to be able to post an amazing large post yesterday instead of just the cute fuzzy budgie. What is new with me, so much. I am gearing up for another trip that has several parts to it which should be amazing. I’m looking forward to going to several tea stores, one of which being Kusmi tea,  which I discovered last winter there (though the store had TERRIBLE service) but I came away with a Buffalo Grass Green Tea which tastes amazing, like sweetgrass of course, perfect for curling up with a good book as the days get a little colder up here. They have a lot of blends that are “Russian”, in other words, dark dark teas with lemon or bergamot flavors or that have been smoked. I appreciate blends like that but I do not crave them by any means. Smoky Tarry or Lapsang Souchong is not meant for an every day drinking tea in my mind.  I’m hoping to try:

-Russian Morning (blended black)

-Green Tea with Mint and Seaweeds

-Genmaicha (I’d love to see what theirs is like) or Hojicha

-Irish Blend

As the winter approaches here you can look forward to many many tea review videos since I’ll be drinking more. I just ran out of a favorite of mine actually from Teavana called Six Summits Ooolong which is a nice  light oolong mixed with dried whole raspberries, it’s honestly so amazing hot or iced, I can’t wait to get my hands on it again when I get back to the United States:


I mean look at that- how fresh and amazing does that look? You can check out more of their teas HERE.

Meanwhile I am still suffering through The Healing Wisdom of Africa by M.P. Some. I had already read his other book Of Water and the Spirit and it was beautiful and inspiring, but this has stirred up a lot of frustration and even anger to the point that I keep putting it down. I’ll have a lot to say on it very soon. I really don’t agree with some of the things he suggests.

I also spent some time watching a sunday afternoon movie or two gluing a lot of souvenirs from my last big trip into cheap dollar store scrapbooks- it was nice to look over a lot of the things I had done that I didn’t forget about and finally catch up with all the people whose business cards I exchanged for..

Oh the next book I’ll be reading will be Lost on Planet China as I work through that German Language workbook I mentioned in my White Point videos. Ha, I have this all planned out. Once the German is completed I’ll be working through some Chinese and Western Herbs, reviewing them and discussing different traditions. I have a full fall planned, but I’m really looking forward to the dark time of the year for study and expanding .

What else.. cleaning out my closet significantly and I have such a pile of stuff ready for a new home, but not enough time to post anywhere online for it so that’s been frustrating..

My next steps have been to find blog/ research sponsors and I have 5 or 6 projects on the go, I feel like I really need a secretary. I actually interviewed for one yesterday and the whole idea of it was so weird to me but we’ll see how that works out.

I think that’s it for today, hoping to post many many photo and video blogs over the next week as I am away on this work and play trip..



{October 1, 2010}   Ten Thousand Peach Blossoms

If Hsi-men Ching had not heard these words nothing might have happened, but having heard them:

The spirits of his Three Corpses became agitated;

The breaths of his Five Viscera ascended to Heaven.

Anger flared in his heart, and

Malice accrued in his gall.

Heading straight for P’an Chin-lien’s quarters;

Without permitting any further explanation,

he sought out the cat and, dangling it by one foot, strode out onto the veranda, took aim at the stone stylobate, swung the cat up into the air, and dashed it against it. All that could be heard was:

A single resounding report,

at which,

The contents of it’s brain burst into

ten thousand peach blossoms,

Its mouthful of teeth were reduced to

scattered fragments of jade.


No longer able in the world of light

to capture rats or mice,

It reverts to the abode of the dead

to become a fox-fairy.

When P’an Chin-lien saw that he had taken her cat out and dashed it to death, she sat on her k’ang. Without turning so much as a hair, and waited until he had vacated her quarters, muttering to herself, as she cursed him, saying, “You lousy death-defying ruffian! If you had only dragged me out and killed me, it would have been more heroic of you. Did the cat really get in the way of your shit-eating business so much that you felt compelled to barge in here, like a madman, and dash it to death? When it comes before the authorities in the nether world, it’s likely to demand your life in compensation. What are you so exercised about? You’ll come to a bad end, you lousy fickle ruffian!”

I just finished reading I’m Off Then, by Hape Kerkeling.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot in combination with the fact that my father is walking the Camino right now (what the book is about).

In the book, first of all it’s essentially about a month-long hike across Spain, the main character challenges himself to do this walk/ hike/ journey, and skips a bunch of the first part, but does all of the last bit, which you have to do to get credit and a certificate for having completed it.

In it, he meets a lot of other people going on the same journey, in the same part of the world, same weather, same terrain.. so there’s some what of a family there with you even if they aren’t walking with you all of  the time, like Burning Man, which I just got back from.

On a side rant, Burning Man happens in a place on earth where nothing living goes- nothing grows there. So it’s already a challenge to be there on you physically and emotionally and can be exhausting. Not everyone who goes gets it. Like Burning Man you don’t get phone or internet access on the Camino really, it’s not the focus and in fact even better for you to ignore all of that and look within.

People open up to you in both cases because they are their raw self.. faced with nothing but what they are and could change, generally in these situs the more you surrender yourself to them, the more you get out of them. Let things come to you. I’m not saying you should be passive or lazy, you still absolutely need to do everything to keep yourself alive and well, and so does everyone else.. and it’s odd that even with that being the case, rarely do others steal for you or try to hurt you on these kinds of journeys, even if there are limited resources.

I’m wondering if it’s because it is such a difficult thing to do and something you do on your own, self-reliant… and puts you in a place where you are staring at a mirror of yourself and thinking of your place on the earth, much like being terminally ill  (though not the same), or recently handicapped in some way ( as in, not quite used to it, not at the acceptance phase).. a new challenge. I realize I didn’t finish that phrase, keep following me here. I’m wondering if it’s because everything is so easy these days, that we take so many basic things for granted, that we’ve lost this tribal, human thing where we could care about a stranger, want to help and give to another person, want to learn from someone else, something that could help us- but not financially..

In the book the journeyman has a friend who is a Buddhist, who speaks a lot about her journey as suffering, and the value of suffering. I couldn’t find the paragraph that dealt with it unfortunately (lost my place in it) but I don’t think that matters so much as different ways you could take that statement. How life must be over come, how it’s a struggle and a fight, do we know what we are fighting for? How life is suffering…I guess it reminds us that we are alive an human however.

I forget which blog it was, maybe one on love, but I do believe that the intense emotions in our existence are a gift. Can you imagine never having felt that tug in your chest… of love or sadness, when you meet or lose someone very dear to you? That whole, tis better to have “loved” and lost than to have never business I mean…

Suffering brings people together. It’s unfortunate that there are so many people suffering needlessly, but I think that we all need to suffer to appreciate what we do have at some point in time.

Many of you know that my recent trip was a result of a very serious injury that I will probably never recover from. I can’t take back that moment and I probably shouldn’t. It was a very lengthy recovery to get to a point where I could get my own groceries. As a result of the amount of time I was out, people got weird. By weird I mean scarce. There were many many people who didnt speak a word to me because they didn’t know what to say, and because they didn’t want to help me, they “didn’t” have time. I find it very hard to ask for help at all so, asking for help and getting a hell of a lot more nos than I felt I deserved was a very very difficult lesson for me to learn- that no matter who is around in our lives .. we are all alone, always. No matter what we give, we can never expect to receive, that giving should be done because we want to, and we should never assume that someone might want to give back someday.

Many of you have probably learned that already but it was pretty new for me. REALLY lonely, REALLY frightening. This trip that I took, I surrendered to. I went once I could feed myself and walk on my own for hours without having to sit down, once I could read again and once I could speak without tripping up so much.. I said to myself, well, this might be as good as it gets, get over it. I went through the same stages as someone being told they had a terminal illness, because for all I knew, I was going to be a veggie with brain  and nerve damage. It’s a miracle that I am not, and I feel blessed.

Anyway, I surrendered to what other people wanted to give. Not in a selfish way, in a way that didn’t take the joy of giving away from the people I found, who wanted to give and share- who are so amazing- so, if i hadn’t been hurt, I would not have found these people, who I made deep connections with, and I wouldn’t take that back for ANYTHING. The suffering was worth being able to move beyond the suffering. The old rules were gone, how did I want to rebuild? I think that the pain of injuries or, suffering in terrible climates can have major rewards… like the people who fight so hard to dive into the Mariana Trench- think of the wonders they found there that so many people will never see!!

Think of how our hearts open after these periods of suffering…

Did you know that the earliest Christian women were the most hardcore? They gave away all their money, ate very little and drank little, helping people, slept on hard mats … having come from rich families… to open themselves up to God and to understand and connect with others who were suffering. I’m not one to support people starving themselves to get to a woozy state where they think they are talking to God, but I am very supportive of people helping one another WITHIN REASON. There is a fine line where you hurt people by helping them too much and I have been guilty of that many times. This trip helped me see that line a little more clearly, rather, my injury did. People were angry with me for being hurt! They were angry with me for suffering! I was shocked- but these were people who had become dependent on me for my help, and when I wasn’t there, I was being an asshole.

I also saw this anger towards me when I announced my journey. Could have been out of jealousy that I was taking all this time off of work (after being forced to for 5 months), people interpreted it as a vacation, as a want, not a NEED. I think when people choose to go on these journeys, yes, due to jealousy or what have you, a lot of people will start to treat you differently. They see it as a selfish act, and maybe it is, but maybe it’s time for those people who take off, to focus on their own pain rather than that of others.. even for a moment. I found it brought me back around to helping people, but not in the same way. More in a heightened awareness of the general suffering of being alive, and yet appreciation of all that we get out of it, it’s not a worthless journey, life….

Every time I go on one of these (by the way, I’m a badass journeyer in the body of a sick person), I become more of a Yes man. I try to say yes more instead of.. hmm I don’t know… because who knows when you last day could be… because I can learn more form others than sitting at home, because I can meet people who can expose me to experiences and passions that I would have never otherwise known….etc etc.. By the way I loved that movie.  Burning Man made me more of a Yes person again, being a self-employed hustler or adult life in general can really beat the life out of a person. I’m really lucky that I actually like my job(s). I think that happens to most people, we lose trust in others, use others piggy back, dog eat dog.We are so disconnected from the actual struggle and suffering of living and being human that we create more garbage to wade through and unnecessary drama to make things more intense when they actually already are. Maybe we don’t want to admit to weakness over something little like, a new mate (they’re great but I don’t know.. they eat oranges in bed and don’t own a car- what?) Why do we jump to negative so quickly instead of telling it like it is?

Do I ever know where I am going with these things? This is way too long already. I guess I’m saying that we all need a little journey on the side now and then. At Burning Man some people can’t handle it and leave. They think it’s all a party. I’m sure it’s the same with the Camino, they think it’s all scenery. Why do we have to go away to be near ourselves? I don’t even need to ask that. Disconnecting to reconnect makes so much sense I shouldn’t have to say it. Stepping out of what is familiar for me, helps me instantly pink up on people who I would click with as well, from a crowd.. that’s a different topic altogether but it happened en masse while on the road.

I think that’s about all I wanted to share today, the book was a decent read but in the end it just gave me dreams about hiking and sandwiches, well wishes for my Dad who is still hiking the thing, and made me curious about how his journey will gift to him after and during his suffering, and what he will come away with. I’m so excited to speak with him once he gets back and share our stories of suffering and joy together. Life I guess 🙂


“Summer is just beginning to recede, as the star Antares

gradually moves toward the west.

The handle of the Dipper is moving toward

the Northern Palace.

A single leaf of the pheonix tree flutters down,

and everywhere a hint of autumn can be detected.

The evening clouds float idly as the stridulation

of the cicadas resounds.

The nighttime breeze is gentle as the coruscating

fireflies begin to fly.

On the Celestial Stairs the coolness of the night

is as clear as water;

Most appropriately, paintings of the Magpie Bridge

are suspended on high.

In Golden basins five sprouts are planted,

In alabaster towers banquets are prepared”

Chin P’ing Mei-  Vol 3 -Chapter 58

{September 16, 2010}   My Vise is..

{September 14, 2010}   But their Hearts are Dead…

“There are those who are not happy unless they can

accumulate jade and pile up gold,

They remain unaware that wealth and valuables are

merely the roots of catastrophe.

They treasure every single cash as though it were

a part of their flesh and blood;

While those who are chivalrous by nature can only

laugh at them for their insanity.

They  treat each one of their relatives and friends

as if they were total strangers;

The preserve a facade, but their hearts are dead,

which is certainly regrettable.

One can anticipate that one fine day impermanence,

or death, will pay them a visit;

and they will proceed, empty-handed and all alone,

to the abode of the everlasting night.”

-Chin P’ing Mei- Vol.3 -Chapter 56

{September 1, 2010}   Shiny Old Things And Being Human

{August 26, 2010}   Records of Thyme Gone By

{August 23, 2010}   Last Summer, In Halifax…

I did many many things….

I visited the underground pedways and sadly saw all of the things that had closed down or had gone out of business, and what they were being replaced with.. still, a good way to get out of the rain…

Visited the Town Clock… As mentioned in my circle blog here:


At Delicious dumplings and noodles from the Cheelin Restaurant in Halifax on the water over looking George’s Island and the sister city Dartmouth..

Walked by the new Bud The Spud- famous chip truck, now under new ownership and parked in a new place- still by the public library in Halifax in between the 2 – what once were- major shopping streets..

Went into the library for the smell that takes me back, and the coldest most delicious water fountain aka free water in the perfect place for a break on the library lawn .. with fries.. hehe.

Ate delicious cupcakes from Suzies Shortbreads, and picked up a bright pink box full of cupcakes to deliver to friends downtown who were working…mid-afternoon sugar rush..walked by the clock and checked out the so called candy cane smoke stacks and view..

Walked downtown over the Citadel Hill to mix things up…and busted our a pocket kite I bought the day before to see if the wind would take it, and it did…mostly.

I find this door kind of creepy…

“The Wave” Do not climb.. haha. Everyone does. Halifax Waterfront. We had people complaining between this and the poster boards about how sexual our landmarks were once..

The Pirate play ship by the Maritime Museum, once used to stage a wicked pirate battle.. The museum is pretty great too- and free Tuesday nights 🙂 The play-boat used to be more interactive, with tire swings and fake cannons, more doors and “cup phones” etc etc and more educational stuff in there but year by year they’ve stripped it away..

I always preferred to play on the anchors though, but the last 2 times I went they were fenced off for construction 😦

Ship cat. We have lots of wharf cats too, there used to be a lot ..and I mean a LOT of kittens and cats closer to the port that people would go leave food for, but one year there was something about it in the news and I think they were all captured and sent away 😦

The ferry between Dartmouth and Halifax coming in to dock..

My favorite flower outside my childhood home.. or rather.. summer isn’t summer without that smell…

Later that summer I went to White Point Beach Resort in Nova Scotia, near Liverpool. Didn’t stay there but ate there and went to their beach..


It’s a pretty great little beach especially for families since there aren’t too many places near the water where they can run off and you can’t see them.. I had great company and great chowder…

Saw an enormous Whipper-Snipper thing ripping down bushes on the side of the road as we drove to an old school turned perma yard and craft sale.. anyway I thought it was pretty hardcore..

The old school..

I bought a French textbook from 1930, and a set of postcards with covers of the old Goosebumps book series on them. It had some great crafts, and some boring touristy ones. some amazing prints, great book selection (put your money in the tin) and so many records I wish I could have taken back with me..

Check out this dated map of Canada hehe:

I took a few videos at White Point, the place I stayed, and one of the old school, look for those in the future,.. wooooo! I loved this arrow, this way for jams and pickles!

Oh yeah and I fed some bunnies 🙂

More soon, I have about 5 or so accompanying videos from the second of the two trips that these photos were taken during..

More soon!


et cetera