Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wow! This is the Internet at Work

Okay, so given that there are important things going on in the world, like that lying sack of nonsense, Paul Ryan, running for VP on the Romney ticket, filling the airwaves with a host of utter lies last night. And then there is the flooding in Louisiana--which I'm glad is not as bad as people thought it could have been--and injustice and poverty, both circumstantial and engineered, in our own country and outright starvation in a lot of other countries. And then there was my Madeleina yesterday, who got in my truck after school already angry, and when we started talking about a small get together of previous guests of mine in the jungle suggested that I not be an "A-hole this time, dad, so you ruin everything..." which was the first time she's crossed that line. (Anybody who is a former guest who did not get a specific invite, forgive me. Just don't have the time to cull through years of trips. So if you want to be invited, write me a note at peterg9 at okay?)

Okay, given that, I am going wow because I discovered a button on the dashboard of this web page that allows me to see where people are who are reading the blog. And it was a pretty far-ranging group. Far-ranging enough that last Monday I began taking note of the countries that were accessing this blog. and here is the list:

United States




United Kingdom








Hong Kong







United Arab Emirates









Czech Republic









South Africa

South Korea








Now to me, that suggests the power and expanse of the internet. If people in Camaroon are reading about ayahuasca, or my family, or what the heck I made for dinner last night (which was just plain roast chicken with garlic served with rice, steamed broccoli and sliced cucumber with lime), well that is a long freaking reach. Why anyone in Estonia or Turkey or Malaysia would want those recipes or want to know that Madeleina, at 15, finally referred to me as an "A-hole", well, I have no idea. But I am amazed that web-visitors from all those places chose to visit this site during the last 10 days that I've been paying attention. Just WOW! is all I can think. Sort of brings to life the thought in the song from the 1964 World's Fair in Queens, New York: "It's a small world, afterall..."

Have a great one, everybody.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Night, Just Getting By...

Okay, so it's Saturday, August 25 at about 6:40 PM and I'm getting by. Not by much. But still, better than nothing. My stinking conjunctivitis still has one of my eyes leaking copiously after 8 weeks!!! And that's after a full 10 days of Cipro antibiotic and antibiotic eye drops. The funniest part is waking up at 3AM to take a leak--as guys over 55 will tend to do--and not being able to open my eyes because the leak has so much salt in it that my eyes are sealed shut.

On the other hand, I've written some kick-ass stories the last couple of days, or the last couple of weeks, and that feels good. I also had all the kids over yesterday for hours, including cousins and they went through nearly 10 pounds of chicken and two pots of rice. Little kids--the oldest was six--eat a lot. A lot. I'm doing my second load of washing from the visit as I write this.
Then for food today I was starving for something with meat. I don't really like the meat much, but the meat is the excuse for the baked potato or rice and I really love a good baked potato. my kids didn't come over for dinner much this week, I had a problem. I had a full pound of salmon filet left. I had two pounds of mussels left. I had a full chicken breast left. I had two pounds of fajita meat left. Plus some really brown, rotten, sweet bananas.
So I decided to cook everything. I cleaned and cooked the mussels simply, in garlic/olive oil and cilantro (I've got good bread for dipping and am sort of tired of tomatoes and wine as a sauce). I cooked the salmon in garlic/olive oil/diced red peppers/fresh ginger and a light teriyaki to finish it. The skin is like salmon candy. But I'm not eating that tonight. I'll turn that into a salmon omelet, or six, in the morning.
The chicken I cooked, nice breast, for Boots, the Wonder Dog, to go along with a couple of huge chicken legs and a couple of chicken hearts/livers/kidneys. Keeps him strong and keeps him out of the neighbor's chicken coop.
Then I made the kilo of fajita meat that would have gone bad in another day or so. Garlic/olive oil/onions/tomatoes/red and green peppers/spices/vinegar/stock/plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Gonna eat that, a little of it, over rice--I know it's not a traditional fajita, but it's damned good--with an appetizer of the mussels.
And then, I faked a banana bread, which is gonna be delicious.
Now, if I had my druthers, I mean if God came down and said I could eat what I want, I'd probably cook a ribeye steak, then eat the fat and toss the meat, and follow that with half-a-gallon of mint chip/chocolate/pistachio ice cream with about a gallon of home made fudge sauce, hot.
God didn't come. I'm stuck with the mussels and a small portion of fajita. And then salmon until it's finished. Damnit. Good, but the salmon has all that asparagus and fresh spinach, and while I love that stuff, sometimes I just want a piece of fat to suck on!!!!!!!!
Gonna live to be 100, just wait and see. And for my 75th birthday, I'm eating chocolate ice cream or fudge or something like that for a whole week!!!!!
Have a great night everybody!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My New Column

So I write this column for Skunk magazine out of Canada. It's called Drug War Follies, and normally it is about the horror of the war on drugs. I generally wade through a lot of really ugly stories about everything from headless bodies in Mexico to people dying when police raid a wrong home or how the private prison industry pushes for harsher and harsher laws against non-violent drug users. This time I decided to skip that stuff and write something about the upcoming election season here in the USA. This is what I wrote:

Drug War Follies

It’s an election year and there is a lot of important shit going down, so sit up, drop the bong and pay fucking attention!

By Peter Gorman

There’s an election coming up in November, 2012. And it’s an important election. In 2008 the United States voted for a man who had a black dad. That makes him a “nig..r” in a lot of people’s books and here in the good old US of A, that just is not possible to accept for those people. No black man, no matter who, “is going to tell me what to do!” is the feeling. And it is a deeply seeded feeling. So deep that in the first days after the election, the opposition party leadership, the Republican party leadership, got together and decided that the first and most important measure of business for them was to get that “boy”, President Barack Obama, out of office. How important was it? Well, important enough that despite Obama having been left with the worst plate of slop any president has been left with in 80 years, getting rid of him was more important. That slop included—in a nutshell—everything from an exploding housing bubble that would cost millions their homes to foreclosure to a recession that would finally cost several million their jobs. Among the causes were tax breaks for the rich, two unfunded wars and a giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry that was costing the US federal government $1/2 trillion a year. Add to that a Veteran’s Administration that was so critically underfunded it was unable to even pretend it could take care of the needs of our returning servicemen and women and voila! A fucking mess.

Given that, this November’s election is very important. It’s time for those of us who still have a vote to go exercise it. And here’s how this New York kid living out in the boonies in Texas sees it.

If you think that some other man’s hand belongs up your girl’s skirt with a transvaginal probe, then you might think of voting republican. If you think that people ought to have to buy a government issued identification card for the right to vote, then you ought to think of voting republican. If you think new wars, lower taxes for the rich, the end of public television being partially financed by the federal US government, the end of Planned Parenthood, the end of women’s rights to equal pay, the end of the right of gays to serve publicly in the US armed forces, the end of basic grants to college kids to help get them over the hump, the end of federal funds for the arts, the end of a woman’s right to choose, the end of the new banking regulations, the end of a way for kids brought into the US illegally to become citizens, the end of social security that you’ve been paying into weekly, the end of medicare that you’ve been paying into weekly, the end of the new Obamacare with all it’s warts but which does not allow insurance companies to deny people care for pre-existing conditions, the end of super special tax cuts for the very very wealthy, the end of unions and the end of protected public pension funds are all good things, then you ought to think about voting Republican.

And if you think that evolution is a myth and that the whole world was created 6,000 years ago, yup, vote Republican. If you believe that a fertilized human egg is a person with all rights of a human being but that society’s responsibility to that egg ends at birth, vote Republican. If you believe that women should have to carry the fetus of a rapist to term, well, vote Republican. If you believe that corporations are people, my friend, and that they deserve special cuts and tax breaks, and if you believe that giving billionaires more tax cuts will create more jobs, vote Republican. If you believe that unlimited amounts of money should be allowed to be donated anonymously to things called SuperPacs to buy elections, well, vote Republican. If you believe that trickle down economics was anything more than the rich pissing on your head for the last 30 years or if you believe in personal responsibility except for those people corporations; if you believe in eliminating work safety rules, the minimum wage, the environmental protection administration and that green house gasses are good because they help keep us warm; if you believe that the founding fathers were thinking of fully automatic assault rifles with clips of 50 rounds when they devised the second amendment; if you believe that the words “in god we trust” were engraved in US money bills before the 1950s or that the Pledge of Allegiance was written with the words “one nation, under God” in its original form, then you ought to vote republican.

And if what you want from a presidential candidate is one who has said he cannot tell the populace what his plans are because if he did he would not get elected, then Mitt Romney is your man. If you want a presidential candidate who wants smaller government but then used a $1.3 billion bailout to mount the Salt Lake City Olympics while claiming he personally rescued them, well, Mitt Romney is your man. If you want a presidential candidate who developed the health care bill for a state, Massachusetts—which was adopted by President Obama for the entire country—and now claims it is a bad idea, yeah, Romney is your fella. And if you want a presidential candidate whose leading advisor described his campaign as an Etch-a-Sketch that can be shaken up as needed, well then, it’s settled, Romney is your man. Oh, and if you want a presidential candidate who suggested, in print, that Detroit be allowed to go bankrupt, and now that General Motors has been saved claims he is largely responsible for that, uh-huh, Romney’s the one.

And we’re not even touching on vulture capitalism, or Bain Capital and it’s sister companies that had a habit of buying up companies, loading them with debt, taking their cut, then selling them off piecemeal or watching them sink into bankruptcy, costing a lot of workers their jobs. And no, we’re not hardly gonna touch on the idea that while Mitt Romney’s dad, George W. Romney, was running in the 1968 presidential primary against Richard Nixon, released 12 years worth of personal tax records but that Mitt has—as of this writing—not released a single complete year of tax returns and has promised to release no more than two years in total. And we’re gonna stay pretty much away from the fact that Mitt Romney has flip-flopped on nearly everything he has ever stood for politically, sometimes during the same day.

If what’s above is what you think will make a better USA, then Republican is the only way to go.

Which does not mean I am thrilled with President Obama. What he has allowed to happen, what he probably pushed to have happen with medical marijuana in California and elsewhere would normally be enough to get me to vote against him. But given what we’re faced with, given what the Republicans stand for, well, even Obama’s unfuckingreal medical marijuana stance is not enough to get rid of him.

And I’m not happy that Obama has not been left-leaning at all. I did not expect him to be a slightly right-of-center—at least old style slightly right-of-center—president. On some issues he’s been great. On others his compromises have looked like complete collapse.

But I still have faith. I have faith that if the president had a Congress that had any interest in helping the US rather than eliminating that black guy from the white house, well, he’d be able to show more of his true colors.

And he and the Democrats still have some things going for them. Like, if you want equal pay for women, if you don’t want transvaginal probes shoved up your girl’s privates, if you think a human baby is more important than a zygote or even a fetus, if you believe that the wealthy should pay a higher percentage of taxes than the middle class, or that schools should teach science, not religion-as-science, or that it’s vital that the arts are funded and that Public Television exists; if you think environmental protections should be in place to protect yourself and your kids or that everyone deserves basic healthcare and that the banks and Wall Street ought to have some regulation to prevent them from running roughshod on na├»ve clients and that alternative energy sources ought to be investigated and promoted, if you think everyone is important, not just a special color or class or those who are straight and white and define themselves as Christians, well, if any of that’s important to you, then the Democrats, with all their flaws, are the way you need to go.

See how easy that was? Okay, now get back to those bongs and have a great big fat hit! Enjoy.

It would all be funny if people weren’t dying and the prisons weren’t full.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Traffic Ticket Blues

Well, good afternoon, everybody. I'm gonna tell a story here that I might have told previously. If so, if it's familiar, SO WHAT?????? It's still gonna be worth reading again and I'm sure I'll tell it a bit differently this time anyway.

Here it is: In 2004, I was poor. I mean, I'd moved to Texas two years earlier and was so darned broke that, as you know, I wound up working at the day labor center here just trying to get enough dough to put a stinking chicken on the table with some rice at night. As my son Marco remember it: "Dad, we had chicken every day for two years! I had no idea there were that many ways to make chicken!" If pushed he'll remember some really good franks and beans as well, but yeah, we didn't starve but we didn't have anything.
In those circumstances, things fall off the table. Like car insurance. It lapsed and I got stopped while at the courthouse in Fort Worth. I think I was there getting a background check so that I could become a substitute teacher at the local grammar school--a job that, at the time, paid an unbelieveable low $22 a day, if I remember correctly. And if I'm wrong, it might have been $28, but whatever it was it was way below minimum. I remember them explaining to me how they got around minimum wage and it was some fancy footwork, I'll tell you that.
In any event, I get my fingerprints checked and so forth and come out and there is a cop at my 1994 Ford Ranger watching the meter about to expire. I made it back just as the red tag came up and knew I was in the clear. Despite that he asked for my license and insurance. I didn't blink, just handed them over.
He noted that my insurance was out and that he'd have to ticket me. I told him I was broke and that since I made the meter on time--if just barely--that he ought to let it slide and I'd borrow money to buy the insurance the next day. He didn't go for it.
So I got the insurance two days later and went to the traffic court and showed them that I'd gotten it and the judge told me to go out to the tellers and pay the $10 or $20 court cost and that was that. So I did.
That ticket occurred on November 6, 2004. My insurance was renewed on November 8, 2004.
Fast forward to February 15, 2011, and in the mail is a letter from the agency that collects delinquent fees for Fort Worth, telling me I owe $425.10 for the 2004 ticket. I couldn't believe it. I went into my tax boxes to find the receipt and wouldn't you know that I only had back to 2005. I don't remember tossing earlier years but I suppose I did at some point--I threw away a lot of stuff when we had the field rat invasion of the little building out back where I kept things like shoeboxes of taxes that the rats had made nests in.
In any event, I knew the city couldn't be serious but knew I'd have to go to court to explain myself. So I went to my insurance agent and asked him for a copy of any insurance I'd bought in November, 2004. He printed out an old copy of the purchase i made on Nov. 8.
Armed with that I went to court and explained to the judge that while I didn't keep tax returns--and recepits--for more than five or six years, I could prove that I'd gotten insurance within 48 hours of getting the ticket, and it only stood to reason that I'd come in and shown that, which is why the judge had told me to pay just $10 or $20, I couldn't remember which. I was sure they'd drop it--particularly given that there had been no notices in the intervening six years and three months indicating that was late in paying the ticket.
The judge didn't buy it. She asked me if I wanted a judge or jury trial. I told her jury trial. I thought that was best because a jury would understand my reasoning.
Well, it turns out the hearing was announced in June and held in July. As I was in Peru, I had no idea of either notices' existence. Which didn't stop Fort Worth from putting out an arrest warrant for me.
Today I called the city and asked how to handle it. I volunteered to bring in my passport to prove I was in Peru at both the time of the hearing notice as well as the hearing itself. And you know what I was told? By all means I should come in. Bring the passport. I will be arrested, and my bond will be the price of the ticket, $425.10, plus an additional $65. I will give them the money and they will release me and set a new hearing date. If I make it and am found innocent, I'll get my money back. If found guilty, they'll keep the money.
I'm not really happy about this nonsense. I paid the damned fine nearly eight years ago at this point. I don't think it's fair for a city to expect you to keep a $10-$20 receipt for more than six years. I mean, if I never did pay the ticket, why weren't there any notices for all those years? Does not make sense and puts the ticketee in the position of having to prove the ticket was paid, rather than have the city prove it wasn't.
As to why the city has no record of my payment, I really don't know. I know I'm not the only one in Fort Worth dealing with this--at least one, and maybe two, others at the Fort Worth Weekly newspaper has had the same issue, and last year the paper did a story about it and the writer found others to whom it had happened as well. Every one of the tickets involved deal with 2003-2004, the period of time when the city was changing computer systems in the traffic division. That might be where the problem lies--the city simply lost records. On the other hand, I think the problem lies with the legal team that collects the city's delinquent fees: They know that if they simply request fines--fines that have probably been paid years earlier--several years after tickets were issued, that people won't have their receipts, and so will have to fork over big fees. And from those fees the collecting agency is getting between 35 and 50 percent.
I don't know that I will win this one. I haven't the gelt to fight it properly and without my old receipt I cannot prove my case. So I'm probably gonna lose.
I'm not going to like that.
And it will still be wrong on the city's part.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I Had Madeleina and Italo Today

Today, I had Madeleina and Italo. Italo came over early to work on the air conditioner. The big one in the attic crawl space. We just replaced the fan and the motor two weeks ago and everything was good. But two days ago that motor began shutting down one or two minutes after it was turned on. And this being Texas, even though we had a respite from the heat of the last couple of weeks, it was still hitting 93-95 degrees Farhenheit daily, which has made sleeping difficult to impossible.

I checked the parts I knew how, and they all worked. Then Italo came over this morning and we began to take things apart one by one. We finally took the new motor to the place where we bought it and the guy said it was no good. He gave us another. And Italo put it in place. I hope it works. Because it's been hot here without air conditioning--and I'm not a fan of air conditioning. Up to about 90 Farhenheit I can deal with it; after that I'm a big sissy.
So Italo worked, Madeleina suffered, I helped. And now it's all working again. We'll see.
But how nice it was to have Italo and Madeleina over here all day. I made them food snacks--from watermelon, ice cold, to smashed new potatoes, to salmon slices. And they loved it. And that made me feel like a dad again. I have not felt like a dad in some time. So that was good. Cause I like being a dad.
Nuts, ain't I?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Almost Had a Freaking Heart Attack

Well, I almost just had a freaking heart attack--and I can tell you from the only one I had that that is not freaking fun. What happened was that Madeleina went to get the mail, at my behest, and came back with two letters, one for Chepa and one for me, from the IRS. I know those letters. Two years ago I got one that questioned something the tax person had done and when the IRS didn't agree with me--though they admitted they saw my point--it turned out the $3500 or so they wanted had become more than $5000 by the time it was done.

So I don't want any more of those letters. And I am meticulous. I do not even take my stinking charitable contributions--meager couple of hundred that they are--because I don't want the government saying that I got a tax break for contributing to a food bank or whatnot.
In other words, I know I'm clean. I earn my $32 grand a year, work my ass off both in the jungle and as a journalist, and sell my book these last two years. I pay my illustrator via breaks on trips to the jungle and I pay my designer out of the book royalties and I keep perfect records of what's paid out. In other words, my financial records are an open book--unlike one very freaking smarmy vulture capitalist running for president of the USA.
So seeing IRS letters so soon after paying off the $5 grand or so I had to pay, well, I nearly choked. I was verklempt or vaklempt, depending on which part of New York you were from. I couldn't breathe. I nearly drove Madeleina and myself, along with my 1998 Ford Ranger with 199,707 miles--that's the new truck folks; the other is a 1994 with just over 300,000, what do you expect when you're raising kids on $32 grand a year?--into a ditch.
Then I got home and realized that my friend Milan had sent me a small bottle of Sliv, homemade Serbian rotgut and I opened that and had a long pull before I opened the IRS letters.
And when I screwed up the courage to do that--it didn't take long, really, I hate waiting on bad news--the letters were not asking me for more money for a new problem. They were just explaining that I'd paid off the last debt and was now in the clear. As is Chepa.
So there you go. I'm glad I didn't go ahead and have that heart attack. That would have been a waste of pain for real.
So now Madeleina is at her high school marching band party, and she's intact. And I'm here having another pull of Sliv--wretched though it is--and thanking the gods in heaven/hell and all around us that the devil himself, in the guise of the IRS, didn't think to roast me again. HooYA!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Simple Swordfish

Okay. I'm sorry I killed the swordfish by buying it. I'm completely guilty. I also let my cat kill a mouse--after playing with it for 30 minutes--and two beautiful grasshoppers this morning. And I fed Madeleina orange juice and watermelon and canteloupe. Hell, every stinking thing I do turns out I'm killing things. I know, as a born catholic and alter boy, that I'm going to purgatory for a long time. Shit.

Having prayed over that, I'm sauteeing a 1" piece of swordfish--total of 1/2 pound--in fresh olive oil and garlic. When I turn it I will add sea salt--$18 dollars a pound!!!!--and fresh cracked black pepper--and when I pull it altogether, I will put some diced red pepper, fresh minced scallions, diced red onion, and minced cilantro into the pan with 1/2 tea spoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of teriyaki sauce and a dash of balsamic vinegar.
At the end I will add 2 ounces of capers with the juice, which will give it a bite.
And I am serving it over fresh spinach dipped into boiling water and strained, then sauteed with garlic, olive oil, and raspberry vinegar.
And when it's all done, there will be 8 ounces of fish, 10 ounces of organic veggies and 1 ounce of organic sauce. Half each for Madeleina and I.
So we'll be okay from this meal, I think.
And if I could, I would go to a take out place like sonic and buy a couple of sonic blasts--ice cream--to have instead of the swordfish. Damn, why did I have to grow up catholic?????

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ayahuasca Vision Question

A friend of mine, Bill Grimes, lives in Iquitos and has a bar/restaurant named Dawn of the Amazon. He's got a blog of the same name, though I think it's called Captain's Blog, Dawn of the Amazon. In any event, a recent blog was posted by a woman (using the title Ayahuasca in My Blood, which I didn't appreciate since that's the title of my book) who is in a tough spot and who went to Iquitos, Peru for ayahuasca healing. She went to two well known ayahuasca centers; at the first she spent several sessions mostly vomiting and pooping and complained that there were no visions. At the second she saw her long dead father on one occasion--and got to straighten out some things from her past--and on another occasion saw herself at various ages/stages and then saw herself as a young person preparing to ferry the current version to safety. Two or three additional times she saw her heart, long close, open up and take in radiant love. But she continued to insist that she was not happy because she'd had no visions. She also brought up the cost of those retreats in a less than positive way as well.
A friend wrote to me and asked if I would look at the blog entry and possibly comment on it. I did, and here's what I wrote--and I think it has some bearing for a lot of people who drink ayahuasca and concentrate on looking for fantastic visions and who subsequently miss some of the most important stuff.

Dear X: I am having a hard time understanding what you mean by visions. You saw your dad; you spoke with him. You saw yourself at different ages being brought across a sea to a place where you will be safe. Your heart broke open and allowed love to enter for the first time in years. What else could you want from this wonderful healing medicine?
Did you want the funhouse of desires and fears? Did you want the visions of other planets or of the past or future? Those are mostly show. It’s when those are done that the real work begins: The healing on deep levels. And that healing begins with cleaning out the pain you’ve been needlessly carrying with you all those years: The pain others gave you, the pain you inflicted, pain you cannot remember receiving because you were too young to put words to it, but still pain you carry. That’s what you threw up and that’s what you shit out. You need to be clean before ayahuasca can paint you with it’s colors, as my late teacher Julio said. So you went to the Hummingbird and got cleaned out. Then on to the Temple and had those wonderful healing visions. Just because there were no fireworks displays does not mean they were not visions. Seeing your father; seeing yourself, watching yourself get protected… It sounds to me like you had the most wonderful time and were taken care of by very generous and good people and healers.
Celebrate your heart opening. Celebrate the gifts you received. The heck with the money it cost: There is no amount of money in the world that could ever pay for having your heart re-opened and allowed to love again. So celebrate your growth and keep growing, keep being open, keep the flame of love burning within you.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Sex and Ayahuasca: My Perspective

So someone from a board I sometimes write on asked me what I thought about the general dictum that you shouldn't have sex before or after ayahuasca. I was thinking the person was imaging a day or two, which is often proscribed by curanderos. But not all curanderos. So I thought about it and then wrote this as a response. Here it is:

Dear X: Well, I can't say I've always lived by that code. When I was with my wife and we were in love, it was hard to keep us apart. BUTTTTT...I will say that if someone is trying to be alone and doing dieta, it's difficult to get quiet if your libido is raging all day.
So I guess my gut feeling is to say I feel both ways: I think healthy abstinence is good; I think painful abstinence, where you are constantly thinking of what you are not getting (the love, affection, etc) is not good. I think sex is okay but shouldn't interfere with your ability to get silent so that you can hear the spirits whisper. Does that make sense and clarify things or make them muddier. In a sense, I think it's like food. Yes, you should abstain from food/liquids for 10-12 hours before drinking Ayahuasca--so that your stomach is empty and your purge is of foul things in your life, rather than a purge of the food you just ate--but at the same time I recognize that someone going into ceremony nearly feinting from hunger or dehydration doesn't do anyone any good either. And if you are one of those people who is going to be sugar-depleted if you don't have a cup of tea before ceremony, then I think you ought to have it. If you are someone who is going to spend the entire ceremony thinking about the sex you didn't have, then have it and get it over with. On the other hand, if you're going to be dreaming of the sex you did have, well, that's going to interfere. So people need to assess and appreciate their personal situations, rather than living someone else's expectations. Remember this, and it's important: While gringos nearly universally talk about the blandness of the boiled plantains and fish they are served while on a dieta, for the riberinos I know, the Peruvians who live on the river, boiled plantains and fish is their favorite comfort meal--equal to a hot fudge sundae or a prime rib with onions and garlic and a side of baked potato with cheese to a lot of gringos. It is important to recognize that nothing is what is seems with the medicine. There is trickster every step of the way. And that's good because it keeps us on our toes and separates the willing workers from those who want a quick fix. I hope that helps.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Banco Ayahuasquero

A number of people talk about "banco ayahuasqueros" as if they are something more than regular people. In my experience, especially of late, I've realized what a "banco" is. It is someone who has outlived his/her teachers, but whose teachers are still available to help in an emergency, when the curer asks for it. I recently wrote this to someone who was very taken with the word and concept of "Banco curandero". I did not write it as a way to elevate me, but simply as a way to explain what it is. This is what I wrote:

A banco is a curandero who had deceased teachers who are still available to him or her. In my world, Julio llerena, Pablo, the Matses curaka, Moises Torres Vienna, Bertha Grove, the Southern Ute medicine woman and her brother. a Southern Ute Peyote Roadman, sit on the bench next to me when I pray--and I am not a curandero. Still, they are my banco.
I think it's important to understand that many, many curanderos are banco curanderos. It merely means that you've outlived your teachers and they continue to help you while also being in the next world. They sit on your bench, and like any good athletic team knows, you need a good bench to win. Cause everyone knows people need all the help they can get to effect cures, healings and the setting of things right in this world.
What having a banco means is that you've got help when you need it. That's all. And that's a good thing. That's a wonderful thing.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Okay, So I Had a Sort of Blow My Mind Day Yesterday...

Okay, so I had a sort of blow my mind day, yesterday. More than that. It was a blow your heart out day. A clean up your insides day. A "watch the wind whistle through your heart" day.

I told you I fell for this beautiful Canadian gal who was on my trip. All was on the up and up till after every medicine was done and it was just time to have a party. Until then I was right on the mark with what I need to do as a trip leader.
But boy, I thought she was swell, and as I've told you, I have not had the man part of me appreciated for a long time. I'm not talking about sex. I'm talking about someone wanting to sit and talk with me, someone wanting to kiss me and hold my hand. Simple, profound stuff.
So I came home thinking she'd come down to Texas next month and we'd see where we stood. I was looking forward to it.
Seems it's not going to happen, as I noted a couple of posts back. She's got a full life and had a full life before she met me, and now that she's back to it, well, it's still full and I don't really fit. Good enough. I still had a few days that no one can take away and they were fantastic.
So yesterday is a full moon in my opposite or whatever. I was feeling under the gun from pressure to get a cover story written in too short a time, in wishing that woman would make a change in her plans and get down here if I bought her a ticket, and then I went to the mailbox and what did I find? A small package from my first real lover, CL. I've written about her in this blog and in the book and we had nearly 15 years together--though some of that was jagged--and I simply was not ready to accept love. I thought it constrained me and so I was the most lousy passive-aggressive person you could ever meet. What a freaking louse I was to this very very fantastic and giving woman.
Anyway, she finally left and married a guy and had the greatest 25-years she could have had and though I often missed her, I never interfered.
I was in touch last year for a phone call, after her beloved husband died. A few months later. Strange story that I've already related here.
So to get a package from her yesterday was astounding.
In it was a note to "P" from "Cl" and there was an outline of a small whistle we used to use together. I kept my whistle but never imagined she'd kept hers. Opening and reading that note just blew my mind.
Part of the note explained that she was sending back a ring that my mom, Madeleine, got from my dad, Tom, after she went crazy one night and had Tom cut her wedding ring off. This was what he gave her as a substitute.
Mom gave it to me to give to Cl as a measure of my love. She didn't think it was right that I was living with a beautiful woman who didn't have a ring on her finger.
So Cl wrote that she wanted to give my mom, Madeleine's ring to my daughter, Madeleina.
You don't think I was crying all over the place? Freaking watered the lawn. Nicest think she could have done and that from one of the nicest people God ever bothered to fashion.
The outline of the whistle on the note was an indication that it was okay to call her, so I looked her up and did. I kept it short, wasn't high, was nice. It was lovely to hear her voice but sad to hear that she's still having a tough time with her husband's passing.
An hour later, my beautiful Canadian called me to tell me I was fantastic and that she adored me but I wouldn't quite fit in with her life right now. I understand. Don't like it, cause I fell for her, but I do understand.
And then I decided to go to sleep: My first real love--and I am not short changing those who came before her, only that she's the one I stayed with, even if I was a cruel idiot--wrote and reminded me how valuable she was and is. Then I spoke with my most recent love who reminded me that while I was special, I wasn't quite special enough.
You don't think that was a tough couple of hours?
Every now and then the Universe just says: Tag! You're it!
And then you are.
And yesterday was my day to be "it".
Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I'm gonna dance a little tonight. Because very very very few people have ever had the love I got from those two very beautiful women/souls. How lucky can one guy be?
Most just don't get as lucky as me.
Thanks, Universe, for the reminder.

Friday, August 03, 2012

CL: That was so so nice...

CL: Thank you for the ring for Madeleina from my mom. It is so simple but something she will remember forever.

You are the best and you have always been the best.
Thank you for being you.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Feeling Alright, Not Feeling So Good Myself....

Well, Damnit! This sort of sucks.

I told you all that I fell for someone in Iquitos. I know it was fast, and that she was white and I have not fallen for a white woman since 1987 or so--I just have loved Peruvians since then, but then this woman, a grown up, came into my life and something clicked and that was that.
And she was fantastic for me. Broke open a shell I didn't even know I had built around my heart. Not saying I fell in love--that takes time testing--but I did fall for her.
And then today there was a sort of Dear John letter about a curveball in her life and she'll be in touch and I'm just sayin' that sort of stinks. Did she forget to tell me she had a husband/boyfriend/wife/girlfriend? Did she forget to tell me she's about to do three years in the state pen? Did she put on her glasses and see what I really looked like?
I don't know.
It ain't gonna kill me but I am not really dancing around the house this second, if you know what I mean.
Damnit! I thought she might be a keeper for the next 20 years.
Still, I loved the loving and kissing for the short time I had it. And that was good.
Nuts. Want more.
Just saying what's on my mind is all.
Sorry for the bother/blather.