Category Archives: Feed your head

The Street of the Lifted Karateka

Two random topics this morning:

1. In my eternal state of dementia concretia, I have decided that I simply cannot live without a replica of the Lorax’s Last Stand in my garden. What you can’t see from the picture on Amazon is that the circle of rocks left behind when the Lorax departed includes a half-moon-shaped stone engraved with the word, “UNLESS.” This thing is going in my garden. Probaby around the dog waste composter. Too bad I can’t find something that looks like a Truffula tree to plant in it. I wonder if that would make a suitable site for a Bottle Tree instead?

While we’re on the subject of the Lorax, has anybody else noticed that magic scarves bear a striking resemblance to Thneeds? I keep thinking I should get a bright pink one and wear it with a Lorax T-shirt and just see who gets it….

2. Two and a half years ago, after four years of combat karate lessons, I packed up and moved to Tulsa, where I promised myself I would get back on the mat somewhere as soon as humanly possible. Then, in typical Emily Priddy fashion, I got sidetracked and found myself up to my teeth in dozens of other projects. But it appears that a new dojo, a new sensei, and a new fighting style are about to materialize right here in Red Fork. A guy who lives here in Red Fork but ran a kung fu school on the other side of town has secured a space in the strip mall down the street, and at noon today, I will be bowing into his dojo and finding out just exactly how combat kung fu compares to combat karate.

Which means I’ve got about 10 minutes to get dressed, pull my hair back out of my eyes, and figure out where I put my gear. Let’s see … tonfas? Check. Gi bottoms? Check. ‘Chuks? Bueller…? Bueller…? Ah, fuhgedaboutit. If they’re working nunchakus, I’ll borrow a set. I have no idea where I put my belt. Which doesn’t matter anyway, because this is a new art and a new instructor and I’m starting back at the bottom of the food chain. Maybe I can figure out where my white belt went before the next lesson….

Emily

Stuff I have learned

I was thinking about all the stuff I have learned in the past year. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I think it hits the highlights pretty well:

1. A fiery temper should be considered a manifestation of error, not a personality trait.
2. Nobody is really an idiot, although a good stunt double can make it look that way sometimes.
3. It is entirely possible for conservatives and hippies to get along, even without the assistance of beer.
4. Chivalry is not dead.
5. Every girl should know how to defend herself against an attacker, change a tire, and perform basic home repairs. It should not, however, be considered antifeminist to allow a man to do any of the above for you if it seems appropriate.
6. Richard Bach was right: “There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.”
7. And the real gift is understanding that there is really no such thing as a problem. Period.
8. Bruce Lee was right: Sometimes your opponents are your best teachers.
9. Mortal mind is a terrorist. Don’t negotiate with it.
10. When you believe you’ve been wronged, take the Hitchhiker’s Guide’s advice: DON’T PANIC.
11. In a pinch, it is perfectly reasonable to expect God to supply you with quarters for the parking meter.
12. In heavy traffic, it’s funny to flash a peace sign at the guy who just flipped you a bird.
13. Life is prettier when you pay attention to sunsets.
14. Wintergreen Lifesavers really do make sparks in the dark.
15. One well-placed ladybug can restore your faith in humanity.
16. Feeling competent is not a prerequisite for successful healing work.
17. Helping somebody else will soothe a migraine faster than Excedrin.
18. The Beatles had it right: All you need is Love.

What have you learned this year?

Emily

On the nature of healing

Still waiting on that baby to show up. My sister is understandably scared, so please keep lifting her up with your prayers and good thoughts.

While we wait, I have a story to share about a wonderful healing I experienced recently.

As a Christian Scientist, I don’t take medicine when I feel unwell; instead, I turn to prayer to overcome the problem. If my own work doesn’t bring quick healing, I call a practitioner to help me adjust my thoughts about the situation and focus my prayers in a more productive way.

On a recent afternoon, I was dealing with a vicious migraine headache that seemed to be intruding on my consciousness. I felt too sick to get up or read or work or even think clearly, so I picked up the phone and dialed a practitioner who often helps me in such situations.

After I talked with him, I decided to let go of the problem and just try to get some sleep. (At that point, I felt too rotten to do much of anything else anyway.)

I rested for a couple of hours, but after a little while, the thought came to me to call and check on someone who had requested prayer about a difficult situation a few days earlier.

I balked. I couldn’t possibly make that call right then. I was too sick! How could I be any help at all to this person when I felt too ill to hold my head up? I didn’t need to make a phone call. I needed to sleep!

The thought came to me again: Make the call. I tried to ignore it, but it just wouldn’t leave me alone, so I finally gave up, grabbed the phone, and made the call.

As soon as I called, the conversation commanded my full attention, and we wound up talking for the better end of 45 minutes. I felt so much love for the person I was helping — and I was so focused on trying to be helpful — that I didn’t even realize at first that I’d been up and wandering around the house the whole time we were talking. I have no idea when the headache left, but by the time we hung up, it had vanished without a trace.

I think that’s the aspect of healing that amazes me the most: We can work on our own problems and find healing, but the work goes much faster when we take a break and help somebody else in the meantime.

I think maybe it’s like math. I always thought I was terrible at math, but when I taught high school a few years ago, I supervised one section of study hall, during which I was allowed to hand out only two hall passes at a time. If three students needed to ask other teachers about their classwork, one of them would have to wait until someone returned with the pass.

In moments of desperation, the kids would bring their math books up to my desk and ask me to help them. I would joke that there was a reason I’d gotten my degree in English, but invariably, I found that in trying to help my kids, I would gain a much deeper understanding of whatever they were learning. A time or two, I found myself explaining algebra or trig concepts that had always eluded my grasp in the past.

I think metaphysical concepts are the same way: I can struggle with a problem for hours, days, or even months. I can work with an idea and work with it and work with it and get absolutely nowhere. And then, quite unexpectedly, an opportunity will arise to help someone else, and the situation will require me to understand the very idea I’ve been struggling with, and somehow — often without really thinking about it at all — I understand, and both of us are healed.

Emily

Irritant

As you may recall, I discovered in July that someone had plagiarized a book I wrote. It really hacked me off, and I had to figure out how to handle the situation without letting pride or anger or a vengeful attitude clutter up my response.

I took some steps in that direction, but for reasons too numerous to list, I never got around to following up on it after my initial contact with the guy (who was completely unwilling to own up to his mistake).

In the meantime, I developed some really annoying allergy-type symptoms that threatened to make me miserable for the entire season. They hung on for weeks and weeks. It was maddening.

I called a practitioner and asked her to help me with the allergy problem. She didn’t know about the plagiarism situation, and it had never occurred to me that there might be a connection between the two … until this morning, when, between sneezes, it suddenly came to me to check eBay and see if the guy was still selling his book on there.

He was.

I surfed eBay a little bit and learned that I could report his copyright violation in a way that wouldn’t get him in any real trouble but would let him know that I wasn’t buying his excuse. Basically, I could report him to eBay, and the eBay folks would cancel his auction and tell him to stop selling the book or risk being banned from the site forever.

It took me just a few minutes to file a claim with eBay. By the time I finished, I realized that I wasn’t sneezing or sniffling at all.

I don’t worry about physical causes for physical problems; I’ve found that invariably, physical symptoms are simply red flags alerting me to an underyling spiritual problem that needs to be corrected. Instead of dinking around with cold medicine to mask the symptoms, I’d rather cut to the chase and heal the spiritual problem itself.

In this instance, it occurred to me that we typically associate allergies with some kind of irritant — pollen, mold, smoke, pollution, whatever — so it stood to reason that an irritant in my thought (this situation with the plagiarist) would manifest itself with the physical symptoms of hay fever.

The instant I removed that irritant, my thought was healed, and the physical symptoms disappeared.

What a lovely healing … and what a lovely autumn.

Emily

Learning something new

I’ve got a busy day ahead of me. It’s my turn to work in the nursery at church. When I get home, we’re heading out on Route 66 to have lunch and then talk to somebody for a Route 66 Pulse story.

Assuming the interview doesn’t take the entire afternoon, Ron is going to show me how to build a fire in our woodstove when we get home. I am very excited about this, because it means I finally get to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: Learn to cook on a woodstove.

My first project is going to be something very simple: Vegetable soup. L-A-Z-Y vegetable soup: A jar of canned tomatoes, half a bag of frozen vegetables, and some garlic from our garden. The goal for today is simply to warm up the soup without burning it.

Our stove is just designed for heating — it’s not one of those fancy-schmancy Irish cookstoves you get for a zillion dollars from the Lehman’s Non-Electric Catalog. It’s a compact little woodstove my parents gave us in exchange for our freezer, which we weren’t really using any more. But my mom used to make soup for us all the time on our old Earth Stove, so I know I can feed us this winter, even if most of our meals just involve some kind of soup.

I have a LOT of soup recipes, so we’ll be in good shape. 🙂

I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, here are some links I found that have information about cooking with wood:

Homestead.org
Sunset article
Mother Earth News article
Impractical but nostalgic article about somebody’s grandma
Bit of navel-gazing from Gardenweb, with practical tips sprinkled in

We’ll see whether any of this does me any good when the temperature drops down to 35 tonight. If this project goes well, I’m installing more shelves in my living-room-closet-turned-pantry and doing more gardening and canning next summer. The idea of living closer to the land right here in Red Fork makes me happy. I just hope I haven’t gotten so attached to my modern conveniences that I can’t bring myself to do it.

Emily

Ask the Hippie, Vol. 1, Issue 6

Someone found my blog today while searching for an answer to the question, “Are tomatoes bad for dogs?”

The answer, according to my test subjects, is an unequivocal NO.

When we lived in Belleville, Scout had easy access to the entire garden. Her normally white fur was stained green all summer from her forays into the wilderness of tomato vines, where she would search for split tomatoes. We had a pact: She was not to touch any intact tomatoes, but if she found a split tomato within her reach, it was fair game.

She ate a lot of tomatoes — and a fair number of bugs. Especially ants. Split tomatoes have a way of filling up with little black ants. Scout didn’t mind. Extra protein, I guess.

Jason and Songdog will also eat tomatoes on occasion, although they are not nearly as fond of them as Scout.

But yes, I think Scout has demonstrated, quite clearly, that a 15-pound dog can consume 30 pounds of tomatoes in a 24-hour period with no apparent ill effects….

Emily

Inspiration

In case you missed the comments section of yesterday’s post, my sudden enthusiasm for dementia concretia has inspired a similar flurry of daydreaming by my mom and my sister, who are probably going to end up being next-door neighbors in the near future. They are now plotting all sorts of craziness, from an Indian medicine wheel to a faerie garden (CAUTION: Cutesy, twinkly music begins automatically) to a sort of enchanted bunny forest inspired by Kit Williams’ Masquerade.

To fuel their daydreams (and yours) this winter, I have assembled a little collection of links to various and sundry gardens, restaurants, museums, books, mythological beings, works of art, roadside attractions, and various other ephemera generated by some of the world’s most creative minds. Happy surfing!

The Lost Gardens of Heligan (includes sound effects, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to look busy)
The Venice Cafe
City Museum
Dave Dardis’ Secret Garden
Firefly Lights (CAUTION: Site features obnoxiously loud, automatic music.)
Fake fireflies, butterflies, infinity mirrors, fountains, and more
Faerie houses
Gnomes
Various mythical creatures
Jack O’ the Green
Sheela-Na-Gig (CAUTION: Images are a bit, um, “adult,” albeit in a weird-primitive-looking-stone-carvings-found-on-14th-century-Irish-churches sort of way)
Another Masquerade site
Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book
Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Address Book
Maurice Sendak
Pippi Longstocking
Elmer Long’s famous Bottle Tree Forest
The Watts Towers
Labyrinths (the concept)
Labyrinth (the first reason your favorite Hippie Chick utterly adores and desperately misses Jim Henson)
The Dark Crystal (the second reason your favorite Hippie Chick utterly adores and desperately misses Jim Henson)

Feel free to add your own links in the comments section. These are just the ones I thought of off the top of my head. I’ll probably tack on more as I think of them.

Emily
Hippie, artist, gardener, and overgrown 4-year-old