Sunday, February 21, 2010

If I could sing only one song, I'd sing of you

For me, this is a time for looking back, for asking myself did I live as best I could … climber, warrior, healing, husband/lover, healer, father, author – I’ve been up and down that dusty trail a time or two and the best thing about me is you.

If I could sing only one song, I'd sing of you, Leslie.

These are good times - stressful, I know for you, with retiring (again) and the changes ahead. Yet here we are, Berkeley, baking, going to the market, slowing down, enjoying, back to Cali in 6 weeks and everything still in bloom. These are the days.

I posted this somewhere else: I'm thinking there's all sorts of activism and the Dharma may or may not be in what we do. Several years ago my wife gave up an enormously satisfying (and difficult) path of helping people in difficult straits to be in charge of the environment where it was happening. She took on a lot of grief and lost a lot of joy in administering space for others to do the helping. But somebody has to negotiate the lease, buy the supplies, raise the money, etc. At some point I realized she was following a boddhisatva path, giving up paradise for the greater good. I have such huge respect for her doing this, not to mention everything else. And I think it's activism - actively making it happen - relieving suffering - Dharma.

Hear it ring, so pure and holy.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I am officially old and in the way

I posted a restrained account of receiving the clear message that I am officially old and in the way. Then, whatever, nevermind, and I deleted it, but want to make note of this week, when, in wonderful symmetry, I brought in $10,000 for the clinic and also got the message.

Old and in the way
That's what I heard him say
They used to heed the words he said
But that was yesterday


Photo: unnamed tarn somewhere along the 4 Pass Loop in Maroon Bells, 2008

Friday, February 12, 2010

More bread and so on

Beautiful Vision
We haven't bought any bread since December. No-knead pot bread has been a true breakthrough - crusty, good taste, good to look at, easy, and forgiving. This week, during a cold spell I baked another loaf. It started off rising slower than I planned and the bread-making slipped into my three day work week and I had to put it in the refrigerator to slow rising and once it rose too much and in the end, another good loaf of bread, hot and crusty from the oven. Photo left: moments out of the oven and the bread is still in the pot.

Photo below: orange marmalade, another breakthrough, so good! On a par with Mr. and Mrs. Robertson's, they of the thick-cut marmalade we bought in Hong Kong. Pear or peach preserves next. I hope to never buy preserves or marmalade again.

The full BREAD recipe is here. I made a summary (below) because the article uses a lot of words. But I recommend you read it.

4 cups/20 ounces/567 gm flour (3 all-purpose, 1 bread)
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
¾ tsp instant yeast
2 cups ice water

Stir dry together, then vigorously stir in ice water.

Oil top, cover, fridge 8-12 hours
In cool room let rise 8-10 hours
Oil top, let rise until ~doubled
Fold using oiled rubber spatula until mostly deflated
Cover, let rise until doubled (2-4 hours)

Preheat oven and bowl to 450 – lower the middle rack 1st
(Go fast) Light olive oil to hot pot
Dough in – use oiled spatula
Spray water generously and put top on, shake it to level dough
Bake 55 minutes
Top off, reduce heat to 425
Bake 20-25 more minutes


Changing the subject, I wrote this a week or so ago: Over the years, especially during hospice and when the Khmer came to Dallas I was advised by several people that if I didn’t slow down I would burn out. I never did slow down – and here I am, 65 years old and finally finally burned out. I thought all along that I had it right and now I know.

It's better to burn out
than it is to rust


I am tired
I am weary
I could sleep for a thousand years


Yesterday and last night we got 12.5 inches of snow - the greatest accumulation ever recorded in Dallas. Our electricity went off around 9p and came back on around 11p (I was asleep, so I'm guessing on the time). I love the snow - in small doses - having lived in Indiana and Colorado. A beautiful day and now in the evening, our welcome lights on the arbor sparkling in the snow.


It was a nice surprise to stumble across this on the net (in a Roma website): "From Charles Kemp's page, formerly on the Baylor University Website, and too valuable to be removed from the Web"