Saturday, March 31, 2018

Tired but good

Getting tired. In the last week or so, two bridges over the creek painted with three coats--some to go on the big one--10 foot by 18 foot--but looking good. Friends finished the chicken coop redo and bought 14 chicks and two ducks today. Three huge loads of junk off to the dump--including a broken foosball table and a broken air hockey table that were family christmas presents when I was really broke and couldn't buy the kids individual big things, along with a rat-eaten weight bench set that the kids bought me one year. Plus old chicken wire, empty bottles, unidentifiable pieces of waterlogged tables and chairs that sat too many winters outdoors. New small patio finished on the office out back, which over looks the garden we're putting in tomorrow, as well as the seasonal creek and the chicken coop up on the hill. Office spotless as well and outfitted with a new chair/couch. Hay bought for the coop; organic hummus for the garden; roto-tiller rented and ready to go; baby chick feed in a nice new container, rat poison under the flooring in the coop house. Lawn needs mowing. I've had a lot of help, but I am both tired and broke. Ah, ain't life grand!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Details of my Sapo Training Course

Someone asked me about my sapo course: Time, cost, what is involved in the training. Since I don't know that I've ever written it down, well, here it is.
Training is 10 days. Cost is $1500; if you stay at my house and I have to cook and clean, it's an extra $500. We eat well. Alternative, if you don't have a friend nearby, is a motel/rental car down the road two miles. Nice, clean rooms. My house is a relative steal if I have room available when you train. Details: First couple of days there are sort of long talks about the medicine, issues that come up with clients, the history, that sort of thing. By day 3 we're into more specifics and so some days there is an hour of talk; some days maybe not much.
In terms of medicine, there is a lot: Day one: One burn. Day two: two burns, first nu-nu if you want to learn that as well (no extra charge; no discount without it). Day 3: Three burns, and nu-nu. Day 4: 3 burns morning, 3 burns afternoon. You do your own afternoon burns, plus you burn me and whoever else is is the house, one burn each. Day 5: 3 morning, three afternoon, plus nu-nu, plus burn me, plus give me nu-nu. Day 6: repeat day 5, with more pain because you will be getting tired of being whipped by the medicine. Day 7: Kambo style application in the morning. Smaller burns, mixed with water, drinking water before medicine to facilitate vomiting. Day 8-9, I will call in several people each day for you to serve. I will supervise but let you run your show and quietly critique you. I will also act as your assistant on those two days.
You will also be serving nu-nu to those who want it, and will be expected to tell me what to buy to make certain that everyone has access to fast sugar (oranges), electrolytes (Limes/sea salt), and plenty of water for rehydration. I will buy the stuff or we can do it together, but I will expect that you will know what you need, top-to-bottom from your first week's experience.
You will be expected to know when people are allowed to leave--they've got to be fully back together--and if someone needs two extra hours, you will be expected to give them that. It's certainly something you will come up against regularly in your practice.
Day 10: A written exam. 25 questions, short essay answers. You can use my book or a computer or your class notes with me as much as you like: It is not a test to trick you but a test to make certain you have grasped enough to be able to answer the questions your clients will have. You are welcome to leave after day 9 and do the test at your leisure if you like.
If I left out anything, let me know.
Overall, you will be expected to do enough medicine that none of your clients will be able to BS you and tell you the big amounts they've done because you will have done 7 days, with three of those double days, more than most people have ever done in a month. You will be expected to know how to serve both sapo and nu-nu; sapo style and kambo style, and handle emergencies with aplomb. You will know who not to serve and why they can't be served. You will understand the need for an assistant for groups of three or more. You will be able to answer questions your clients have or know where to find the answers. Good?
And then , when you leave, you will get one fresh stick of sapo, and the remainder of the stick(s) you worked with. That will be more than enough medicine to repay the cost of the entire cost and then some--you will find you will get 25 or so (often more) people on a single stick. And you will have me to call when you run into things that throw you off. No limit to the help you can ask--I mean, reasonably ask. I want you out there helping people gloriously. That's what I am aiming for with this course.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Bordering on the Obscene. What my dog, Boots, the Wonderdog, is eating tonight, is crazy.

I'm tired of the leftovers in the fridge. None of them are more than three days old, but with just my friend Devon and me to eat them, they will be old soon--my daughter is away at college so she cannot help--and then they are garbage. So Boots has sliced chicken breast and shrimp (Under 15s, so they are huge) with some veggies. Then he has a half a prime rib that a guest brought on Sunday. Then he has about a pound of roast beef with potatoes, broccoli and pan gravy to mix it all together. Hell, cheapest meat on the table is the air cooled organic chicken breast at about $9 a pound. Dang if that boy doesn't eat well sometimes.
Me and Devon? We saved what was left of the corned beef and cabbage for tomorrow, and tonight I'm making thick cut pork chops stuffed with spinach sauteed with garlic and shallots, mixed with fresh smoked mozzarella and parmesan, breaded, seared, baked, and served with good saurkraut (always cook for an hour or two, add vinegar, good black pepper, pan juices) and small red potatoes: boiled then seared in the pork chop pan juices. Gravy will be made with those same juices and include sliced pears and apples just to blow our taste buds out of the water.
I hope you all are eating well tonight. I hope everyone in the world gets something good to eat tonight. That I know there are hundreds of millions who will not eat well, who do not even have drinking water, makes me want to lash out. I know that if people would just stop being afraid--afraid that they won't have enough, afraid that they won't seem important, afraid that no one will share with them, hell, afraid of everything, then we could/would all share and there would be enough for everyone. End of world strife in 10 freaking minutes.
Anybody who is hungry who reads this, I'm sure there is something good for you to eat if you stop by. Please do not stand on ceremony.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Why Would Anyone Need Sapo/Kambo Training?

Someone on a social media platform asked me what I thought of people being trained in kambo --frog sweat -- medicine by an organization called IAKP which has been training people in the medicine use for several years now. They suggested that indigenous kids just get the medicine a couple of times and are good to use it on themselves and others. This was my response:

I do not have any direct experience with IAKP, but have met some of their practitioners and they appear well trained. I know that when I occasionally train people -- and I don't know where I get the right to do that other than wanting people to use the medicine in a careful and positive fashion -- it is not at all similar to someone being brought up in an indigenous culture that depends on the medicine for hunting, for eliminating the grippe, and so forth. Those kids are around the medicine from birth, just like they are around the jungle from birth and so are at home with it without any need for formal training. But then you take a kid from Whitestone, Queens, New York, like me and put me in the jungle and I need lots of training to be able to survive well out there. I think the same applies to sapo/kambo training. 
Yes, a person can just use it once or twice and then give it to other people, but what happens when something goes wrong? What happens when you allow a guest to walk, unattended, to a bathroom and they black out and hit their head on a counter top? Or wind up with their head in a bad position and start to vomit and then choke and panic? What do you do when someone absolutely freaks out on taking the medicine? There are so many things to learn to use the medicine in our cultures that it is impossible to compare the learning to indigenous culture learning. I have guests who need two or three hours to come together again after a session, and other guests who are good to go 20 minutes after initial application. How do you judge when to give them back their car keys and let them drive off? 
I am not a believer in shrouding the medicine in a whole lot of mysticism and pomp theatrics, but I do sing people into the first four or five minutes of the experience to help them go into it gently -- as you all know it's darned abrupt!!! So while I do not know the IAKP directly, I think that training people to the things to be aware of prior to serving others, is probably a good thing. And I do not know what they charge, but if they are giving you 10 days or two weeks' attention, well, someone has to get paid to do that. That is a lot of work.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

New -- Old -- Car. Get Lucky Sometimes

Get Lucky Sometimes. Couple of weeks ago a friend called to say she had a friend who had a sister who had a mother who was going to move into assisted living and she had an old car she wanted to sell for two hundred bucks. Would I want it? My first thought was "Of course not. I've got my truck with the beautiful new engine that my son Italo built, my second truck that's nearly back on the road, and no, I don't need no more stinking clunkers around here."
I didn't say that, of course, because the woman who was bringing the car to my attention is a really cool friend and I didn't want to offend. So I said I'd take a look.
Day came to take a look and I really didn't want to drive the 35 miles to the place where the car was, but I was committed, so I let my friend and her husband drive me there. We were nearly at Lake Granbury, where the car was, when my friend got a call from her friend that the car was not available to be seen because the sister and her husband were currently using it and were in town and wouldn't be back for an hour. Cool. I was ready to head home. My friend, however, insisted we go and wait it out to take a look.
We were visiting with my friend's friend when the car pulled up. It was so quiet that I did not hear it pull up behind me. When I turned to it I was fairly amazed: it was a 1999 Crown Vic, silver, high polish, not a mark on it. I took it for a ride: 83,000 miles, original owner, smooth as glass. Leather upholstery, faux wood highlights on the dash, AC and heat worked beautifully, radio was really good, and it had an opening to play casettes. Cigarette lighter worked. Spotless inside. I double checked the price: I mean, right off the bat it was worth $2 grand, easy. No, $200 was the price.
I said I'd buy it after I drove it for 30 minutes. It easily jumped to 55, then 75, and oops, 90 without anything more than a purr from the engine. Unreal. The sister and her husband needed it for a couple of days, and when I went back to pick it up I saw that they had changed the oil, filled the tank, included a few hundred bucks worth of tools and roadside reflective jackets and such.
I got it home, then took out my truck for shopping. I felt the clutch slip. It got worse quickly. So I got the car on the perfect day when I needed it. My son Italo will have a new clutch and a slave cylinder in place in my truck this week sometime. Meanwhile I'm driving a pimp car. Thanks to my friends, their friends, the mom, and the universe. I just get really lucky sometimes. I hope you all get lucky today too.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Cooking Duck Breasts

Just something to make non-vegetarians drool. I bought three large duck breasts today. I've scored them into diamonds on the fat side, not touching the meat. Then I threw 6 small red potatoes, cut into quarters, into salted water to par boil them. They'll come out in two minutes; they will be drained, then go into a ceramic saute pan that my daughter just bought me with diced sweet red onions, diced fresh garlic and olive oil.
While they are cooking I will saute the duck breasts, fat side down, for 7 minutes or so, after salting them with good pink sea salt, and peppering them with good rough ground pepper, in plain olive oil. After seven minutes I'll turn them meat side down, add quartered scallions, long sliced red pepper, sliced--not diced--onion and garlic, and put them into the oven at 325 for another 7 minutes or so. Then I will pull all of that and put it on a plate. I will take some of the duck grease and add it to the quartered potatoes and onions to finish them, put on a pot to make nice steamed asparagus, and in the duck breast pan I will add balsamic vinegar, fresh basil and a pint of fresh, organic raspberries. I'll add organic vegetable stock as needed until the raspberries have become a sauce. Then I'll serve the duck breast over a bed of sauteed spinach, top it with the raspberry-basil-balsamic vinegar sauce, and serve the potatoes and asparagus on the side. Bon appetite! Worth the pain, for sure. We all deserve a treat once in a while. But while you're buying those expensive duck breasts, don't forget to give some money to the local food bank, because not everybody gets to eat duck breast. Some people just need tuna. So give what you can, but still enjoy an occasional luxurious meal. At least that's how I'm justifying it to myself!!!!!