mjj (flemmings) wrote,
mjj
flemmings

However many things make a post, again

1. I've been cooking more and eating out less. It's very satisfying even when simple. Things like a poached egg on caraway rye bread spread with avocado; a few grinds of the pepper mill, a sprinkle of sea salt, and voila: Heaven. Or my stir fries, now I've learned how to handle the garlic (mash don't chop, fry with the ginger, then remove. Garlic dislikes me intensely.) Broccoli, mushrooms, celery, bok choy, and tofu. I have to freeze it almost immediately or else I'd eat a pot at a sitting.

But the downside of all this is dishes. Every day there are dishes. Somehow in the last fifteen years I've never had dishes in this quantity. I must practise daily Buddhist mindfulness and treat the dishes as an opportunity to wash dishes, much as I've sort of managed to treat flossing my teeth as an exercise in flossing teeth: the thing done for its own sake and not for the end goal. The end goal isn't worth it, really, so one dismisses that aspect and just does the thing itself.

I'd still love a dishwasher. In a renovated kitchen. With an attached powder room. In the rebuilt mudroom. Will be a while before the impermanence of downstairs toilets leads me to give up the dream of having one.

2. So I've been reading books on Buddhism for almost three months now. So far I respond best to the ones by easterners. The westerners talk as if they're selling something, and there's an awful lot of Self present for a religion that's all about the non-existence of the Self. There's no Self in the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh, just a serene 'this is how it works.' Granted, the Dalai Lama is a bad place to start: he's teaching the graduate course, and a lot of the BA basics I got from westerners. Still.

Among the western examples is something called Just Add Buddha! subtitled 'Quick Buddhist Solutions for Hellish Bosses, Traffic Jams, Stubborn Spouses, and Other Annoyances of Everyday Life.' His solution for hellish bosses is to imagine yourself as your boss' mother, observing your little boy having a tantrum. 'You can't truly stay angry at toddlers. They're too puny and helpless. They lack a sense of their own failings.' Well maybe. But you can give them time outs until they cool off, and you can't do that with a screaming irrational adult.

His solution for barking dogs is to imagine you are Kanzeon 'the bodhisattva who hears the cries of the world'. 'You are to the barking dog as Kanzeon is to you: a being of enormous compassion and inconceivable powers.' This is bad enough. But worse: when you find yourself in times of trouble, follow the lead of the Lotus Sutra and call on the Bodhisattva:
repeat these words...

Eyes of compassion, observing sentient beings, assemble an immeasurable ocean of blessings

...And if you're really in trouble, don't worry about the whole of the verse, just cry "Kanzeon!" and feel comforted.
And no I say no I can't no. Guanyin maybe, Chenrezig or Kwanum or Avalokiteshvara if it wasn't such a mouthful. But Kanzeon to me is firmly and unmovably an ijiwaru-ppoi hermaphrodite who wears too much lipstick, and that's that.

3) My local library renovated and half its books disappeared, or so it seems. Luckily everything I want is at the branch down the street from work, even if half of it doesn't circulate. (The Judith Merrill collection buys *everything* SFF so nobody else has to, but it's a reference library. A pain.) To round out my DWJ reading I went there and snagged an armful of volumes I'd never heard of, plus those missing Brusts. Plowed through the Brusts doggedly and then turned to dessert. Dessert was a disappointment.

A Sudden Wild Magic was... odd. Didn't sound like her at all. The three stories in Shopping for a Spell touched that same puzzling thing I noticed in Black Maria: extreme paralysis in the face of social intruders and appalling behaviour. Granted a certain kind of Canadian niceness dislikes telling people to get out, we're still capable of saying no on occasion. DWJ's people don't say no. They are wet and a weed and ultimately irritating.

The stories in Unexpected Magic were a slog to start but got steadily better. I very much liked Everard's Ride. And loved the moment in Little Dot where the cat is sleeping happily on the guy's lap, 'and then, suddenly, there was this huge human woman's voice screaming "Len Iggmy son of Trey, la moor Tay Una!"' ie Gli enigmi sono tre, la morte una!

That in fact is how I first met Turandot, in a now vanished dress shop on Bloor Street whose BGM came from the classical radio station that was, just then, playing an ad for the Canadian Uproar sorry pardon Opera's fall season. It turned out to be the Apocalypse Now version (heads on poles, dirty mist, generic peasants as the population of Peking) and confirmed me as a fan for life.
Tags: dwj, food, music, reading, reading_11, religion, rl_11, saiyuki_gaiden
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