Archive for the ‘Aging & Dying’ Category

Zen time is gold

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

I want to say that the reason why I haven’t posted anything in the six weeks since I landed at San Francisco Zen Center is because I haven’t had time to write, but that would be untrue. The fact is there are  24 hours in every single day, with 60 minutes crammed into each hour and every minute packed full of moments. That’s as much time as there’s ever been and all the time I will ever have. I’ve got all the time in the world, and really, it’s enough.

If there is one overriding lesson to be learned by living in a Zen center it is that time is gold. Every second between every hit of the wooden han as it calls me to zazen—the hits increase in frequency but not in urgency. They all matter equally. From the 5am ringer (more…)

My dental vacation

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

angrymolarThe angry molar is gone. In its place is a stitched excavation bleeding into a wad of gauze. Before Dr. Loo yanked it out I ran my tongue over its pitted surface one last time and thanked it kindly for almost five decades of loyal service, but when he asked me if i wanted to keep it for a souvenir, i declined. It was a good long run but it’s over.

I could rant on about the scam that is the dental industry but I won’t. Well actually i will. It pisses me off that the only people who get all their dental bills paid for them are the ones who can easily afford to have their own teeth fixed. If you work for a corporation or institution you make a fat wage, plus get your teeth fixed and your glasses bought and a year off to tend to your babies. Self-employed people, or part-timers or wage slaves, have to foot their own bills and those bills are high. I’m not talking about cosmetic dentistry, I’m talking about the care we need to maintain our health and our livelihoods. It’s not easy getting a job, let alone a date, with no front teeth. But Canadian medicare covers none of it. Why? Who knows? (more…)

The monkish (married?) life

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

buslife2I’m living the monk’s life in my green turtle bus, up on the bluff over the lagoon.

Wake up, chop wood and carry water, wash my panties in a pail and hang them to dry in the sun. Sit a bit, stretch a bit, watch the tides roll out and in. Out, and in. Soak some beans, then boil them slowly on the two-burner hotplate, seasoned with garden tomatoes, zucchini and herbs. Eat. Wash. Empty toilet bucket into pit. Sleep. Start again.

I wonder how my monk life will mesh with my married life … I wonder, but can’t know. The beauty is, we are grownups. We make up the rules.  It is my life, it is our life, it is art: all one grand experiment.

Carmen getting hitched

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

dc-collage-signed-smDig this: Carmen is getting married. Yes you heard that right: CARMEN is getting MARRIED.

I’ve been super skittish about outing myself on this because frankly, it is about the scariest thing i’ve ever done in my life (and i’ve done some pretty scary things).

What is most scary about it I realize – what is actually flipping my stomach over and keeping me awake nights – is not that i don’t want to do it, or that i think it is a bad idea. I’m into it. What is scaring the living shit out of me is that getting married totally messes with the carefully constructed edifice of identity that i have spent 53 years building up. I swore I would never do this, and ha ha, the gods laughed. (The gods on their mountain snicker into their sleeves when they hear the words ‘never’ and ‘forever’.) (more…)

The progress of long-distance love

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

crows troutlake horiz8This long-distance cross-border love thing—this thing that everyone says DON’T DO, it’ll drive you crazy, it’ll never work—i daresay, seems to be working. The naysayers are probably right, too—long-distance love never does work. For the young. But I am a grownup, and grownup love is different.

I am in love with an American man, and there have been times when it has felt utterly crazy-making. There have been days when i was sure it was all just plain over. (more…)

Dying stars

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

landscape-1452522826-david-bowie-5

Can anything ever, so beautiful, die? So sexy. So alive. So hot. So bright.

Lou Reed. John Lennon. Glenn Freye. Freddie. Bowie, Dylan, Keith and Mick.

All dying suns.

Shooting stars.

Burning always through night sky.

The wake of Kenny-La

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKenny was the reddest man I have ever known. Pure fire. A burner, of bridges and walls and so much more. He left a wake of creation and destruction, chaos and art.

Kenny was my teacher in so many ways. He taught me about my own anger, my ego, my pride. There were times I genuinely wanted to kill him, but I kind of believed he was unkillable, since by all laws of physics he should already have been dead many times over. He forced me to work with the fire of my own anger, and in that Kenny was right: fire purifies. He taught me about forgiveness. Kenny did not hold a grudge against anyone, his own demons included. The times when I hated him for what he said or did, I had to confront my own monsters eye to eye, forgive them, and move on. (more…)

In love with a boy and his dog

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am in love with a boy and his dog. It’s an old-fashioned sort of a thing.

Because mostly how things go in these fast-moving times is: you meet, and you flirt, and then you have sex. Sometimes on the same day, or maybe on the second or third date. And then hormones explode and you get all dizzy and euphoric, and then mildly to madly obsessed. You can’t think about anything but him/her, you replay every moment and fantasize relentlessly. You ignore most of your friends and bore the rest of them half to death. This, is what the pop songs call Love. (more…)


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