Posts Tagged ‘hermist’

Baby, its cold outside.

January 16, 2012
(written a few days ago when it truly was a bit cold) I grew up where my summers stretched into late October and Trick-or-Treating was a  hot and muggy experience. By Easter sunday I was running barefoot through the yards again and had been known to go skinny-dipping as early as March. At night only, of course.   Fast forward to February of 1992, with me carefully trodding up a snowy and ice-packed trail to an inconclusive winter location on a piece of sheer rock face in Colorado that my then-sweetie Sam owned.  Teeth chattering, I couldn't recall ever being quite ... so ... cold.  After he examined my icy feet while shaking his head and chuckling, he handed me my new best friend, the Army-issued green wool sock.  Since that day, I've never had less than 2 pairs in my sock drawer, even now that we live in nearly tropical San Antonio.   Back then, I thought all I needed to keep warm was the heater from my '69 Ford pickup. Granted that heater could melt glaciers in other states without leaving the driveway.  Guess I got spoiled.  I quickly learned that thin cotton socks, even in hiking boots and one humble long john shirt under my flannel (it was all the rage in the early 90s yo) jacket were all I needed.  Oh  how I learned

My own personal heating system, via a 1969 ford pickup

I hate to be cold.  I'd rather be near passing out from heat, with sweat trickling down my back and the siren of the cicadas making me hallucinate.  I have learned of course, to disguise my teeth chattering ("boy is it BRISK out here, yes sirreeeeeeeee"), to walk faster in order to build up body warmth, and of course, and most important for me, to dress right. Poly-pro shirts and leggings along with wool socks are my mainstay.  Gore-tex sleeping bags ... I'd kill you if you had one and I needed one, thats how awesome they are.  You can practically cook your dinner in one, they are so toasty.  And of course, any combination of wooly mammoth layers that is necessary to keep the feeling in my feet, fingers and ears.  And as long as my lower back is covered, snug and warm, I can deal with getting everything else warm.

Tuck in, zip up and sleep tight.

It's been about 4+ years since we packed up and moved down to San Antonio. I remember putting out my old Sorrel-style snow boots upon our departure and singing them a goodbye song that went something like "so longggggg you WINTERYASSMOTHERFUCKERS!!!!" before putting on my flip-flops and heading off to the triple-digits of Texas. It must be about the high 40s today, with grey rainy skies and a chill that runs through this house along the floorboards.  Outside our chickens are fluffed up to comical proportions and one of the dogs does NOT 'wanna go' check out the squirrels. It's windy, its gloomy, I can feel a vampire-television-series marathon welling up... Granted, if the end of days is going to strike us; I'd rather brave it out in the wilds of Nicaragua, where we just returned from, than in any sub-freezing locale.  In the Nica, cold is defined as putting on a t-shirt to go out rather than a tank top.   I learned something important about myself that I am always careful to consider when making plans of any sort.  I don't like to be cold.  Breezy drafty, thats all fine, but if there's a freeze and my name is apparently on it, I make changes.  A warm hermit is a happy hermit and I'll be donned in the fuzziest abominal snowman attire that i need to, if thats what I have to do.

at least i am warm!

Because then, if I can be warm, I am happy.  

The Hermist Essential Cold-Weather Buster Guide

"Baby Its Cold Outside",  sung by all satin and maple sugar awesomeness, Ray Charles and Betty Carter. There is no better version. Recipe, Hot Buttered Rum.  Don't like rum?  Spiked cider. No?  How about mulled wine?  Don't tempt me, I could do this all day.  The army surplus store. Where else can I buy the treasured green wool socks, rain gear, freeze-dried hot dogs and nose plugs at the same time?  

The Adventures of A Hermit: Year 1 Retrospective.

January 6, 2012

We should be just about done with all the ''Best of" and Top 10 Most Spectacular Vomit Moments of 2011  that clog practically every newspaper and magazine in the land. But I wouldn't be a contributing member of blogger-society if I didn't put the Hermist's fondest adventures on record.

I've come into myself this year, owning up to the role of the Hermist, and no longer trying to force the social butterfly bullshit that simply wasn't me.  Once I did that, I found, much to my surprise, a feeling of relief and also an abundance of good things.  Let's look, shall we? 


A new and entertaining friend, Cheffapetta came to visit the wilds of Austin from the Land of the Sophisticated Palate (Denver), so I had to show him a thing or two about gritty-Coke-In-The-Glass-Bottle-With-Yer-Brisket barbecue.  Wood paneled walls, duck decor, plastic plates and a roll of paper towels. You've been schooled.

they wish they had something so divine in Colorado as the Smokehouse.

 This was the year of canning. I canned practically anything I could get my hands on, from boozed-up strawberries to grilled corn to watermelon rinds and lime-slapped kiwis. I actually killed my nice stove in the process and never had so much fun. The highlight of all that sweating and domestic syrup were the get-togethers with my hermitty friends who weren't afraid to step into the kitchen with me. Now, I'd post photos of the gooey leche quemada, the swimming-in-whisky strawberries and the rows of jeweled fruit in jars, but there are other sites that do food porn so much more justice.   
Can it.
Here was our first canning party, with myself in a feverish state, surrounded by my beautiful domestic-lovin' friends. God love ya. I barely remember anything thanks to that penicillin, what a hell of a party!   

Bringing the world together around a pressure cooker...

 Part of my hermit transformation was learning a lot about how to fend for myself.  And part of THAT includes a pressure cooker, which I was afraid of, and now, am only slightly afraid of.  Just a little bit.  Thanks to David Alexander, for the story about his grandmother blowing up her stove top/roof... but that is another story.  *Do take a special note of the Mistress of Ceremony, the lovely Milan, parked directly in the center of all the quick-paced and high-energy action in the kitchen.   She knows who's in charge.

Too much canning can only lead to drunken moments like this... (drinking cold stew)

Here's Russ. The man makes an excellent elderberry wine, which he creates himself of course, along with above-pictured beef stew, and can fully stock his own larder single-handedly.  The man has amazing potential for  Hermit status...   

Where The Wild Things Are.

My role this past year was the designated wielder of the knife and spatula, cooking up outdoor meals for the people crawling through bushes, being chased by zombies, and living the primitive life.  My inner hermit got much joy out of witnessing moments like these.

This wood elf will find you. Track your ass down and find you.

I loved watching the process of Human Pathers evolving into crafty, independent diy-ers who weren't afraid of getting dirty, doing it from scratch and taking care of themselves.   

Girl kicks man's ass soundly.

  Honestly, and I know everyone agrees on this one. There is nothing better than a girl who can kick your ass.  

No, I promise you I am totally normal.

When we hosted the 1st Annual Zombie Apocalypse this past October, it was an awesome experience to watch how zombies can really put a crimp on carefully planned disorder. 

Zombies and the People That Love Them.

Plus we got to witness zombies who barely stumbled, barely moved, barely accessorized. Zombie baby, zombie kid, zombie bride, zombie gung-ho dad.  And one zombie, who was a streak of darkness, running after pathers in the pitch black.

The Fastest Zombie We've Ever Seen.


A Drill. A Vat of Glue. And An Apron.

One of my outward expressions of happiness is to create textile installations.  Its a surreal Dr. Suess meets The Stepford Wives world, with my alter ego, the Kitchen Goddess.  Somehow, working with fabric and lots of laborious applications of string, stick-pins and nails, has become my defining mark.  My college art professors would be so proud. (probably not)   

Noche De Recuedros with my buddy Rick

  Here is the floating altar, year two, that Rick and I set loose in the Woodlawn Lake.  After an intense summer drought, 'setting loose' might not be the right term, as it grazed the murky bottom of the very low casting pond.   The highlight of the year for me was the day I could step out of Vi's hair salon with my hair sprayed so fastidiously into a beehive that it took me almost a week to get it out.  I stuck two shellacked forks in my hair, put on my pink flirtin' gloves and my favorite blue chiffon apron, was handed a never-empty glass of wine and out I went ... the kitchen goddess.

There is nothing more divine than a kitchen goddess that knows her place. In the home.

 Who says art can't be fun?  With the indispensible Rebecca Coffey fronting the kitchen lines, we opened up a alternate reality of frozen housewife smiles and pickles on a stick.  View the exhibit photos here!  
The Kitchen Goddess, April exhibit

Are You There Dog? Its me...

Not a day goes by that I don't have the company of my dogs; constant companions, artistic consultants and snuffler-of-ears.  We fostered 3 dogs this year and all found great new homes, mostly with other pathers.

Fozzy Leo.

It is a great life, living out here on the hermit-stead with these fine beasts.  This final image though, is my favorite.  It has been exactly 2 years now that Milan came home with us on the day my beloved dad-in-law Joe died.  She came broken down and tired.  Since then she's slowly recovered and is now our elderly dragon-growling matron, the mascot of the hermit.  Milan the Beautiful.

Sam brings Milan up from the pond at the quarry to help her make the trip.

Happy New Year to all of you.  May good things happen. Eat good food. Pet your friends and hug your dogs.  Live that life with intention and gusto.
-The Hermist.

The Scout Knee Plant

October 21, 2011
So. I'm standing there on a narrow wood platform about 4 feet off the ground, eyeing the rope hanging in front of me, and trying to muster my courage to jump out there, grab the rope with my hands and swing from it. Looked easy enough when the other scout students were doing it, gracefully jumping into the air and dangling from the ropes. 

weeee. gonna fly through the air. or not.

I stood up there for a couple of minutes, pondering the possible outcomes.  A moment later, I jumped out and grabbed the rope (yay!), but an instant later my grip vanished and with an impressive 'oomph' that could only belong to me, I did a knee-plant in the dirt.  While I am grateful it wasn't a face-plant, I was still flush with embarassment around what I was now certain was a tribe of wood elves.  Relegating myself to balance practice while the other scout students swung from beams 15 feet off the ground, vaulting tree limbs, climbing ropes and scrambling up telephone poles into the trees; I vowed that this time I would be practicing in between these scout classes.  Clearly the most clumsy of the bunch, my feet crunch-crunched on the run as they silently glided past me in their Vibram 5 Toe shoes.  They hoisted themselves up and down ropes as though they could do it all day.  In turn, I felt like I'd suddenly grown a second left foot and was sworn to use that and only that.  When did that happen?  I have a lot of work to do.  Feeling embarassed and ox-like in the class, I blushed and tried to fade out of sight.  Once on my way home though, I thought about it and decided I like it enough to learn how to do it better.  Who doesn't want to be light on their feet, flexible, strong and agile?  I do! I do!  Being a good scout involves not only being in shape, but also developing flexibile limbs that are strong and lithe.  Fingers that can grip branches and hold the body's weight, legs that possess the strength to pull the torso up the ropes and feet that are nimble enough to fit in and twist through the crooks in trees, obstacle courses and footholds. Quadrapedal crawling and plyometrics help develop this.

here you've got good old fashioned quadrapedal crawling. try it.

A good scout must also be in control of their breathing and thoughts, to develop better awareness and also to be more difficult to detect.  We stood on rocks in the 6pm yawning sun to work on chi kung, working on proper breath, directing energy and building focus. Good scouts are comfortable outdoors, in the trees, on the rocks, the brush, the water....  Blending into whatever their surroundings are, scouts simply seem to be part of the terrain.  

natural born scouts

  Scouts are the eyes and ears of a group, often working alone in the woods, which I like.  There's a certain romantic notion to the idea of moving through the woods unseen that is appealing.  But first, balance, strength and endurance.

Running Out Of Time

October 19, 2011
My reasons for running are uncertain even to myself.  I just know that it gives me a certain feeling that is freeing and for a moment, i feel as though I can connect with the skies. I run in the disappearing pink light of twilight, just as the neighbor's dinner tables are being set and curtains drawn for the night.  I run in the morning before the sun rises, when the moon, in whatever state she's attending, follows me up and down the hills to keep me company.  My company is only the skittering rabbit along the road, the watchful eyes of what I think is a racoon from behind the juniper bushes and my constant companion, Orion, who watches me from the winter skies and leaves me lonely in the summertime. I run to improve myself.  I run to beat the clicking and barely audible sigh of life getting older with me in it.  I run to chase away the gnawing and piercing pain from that summer spider bite that sometimes still lingers.  I run to clear my mind to a blissful zen-like place where all I feel is peace and pure joy. And I run for inspiration.  Ideas come to me that evade me when I have on my thinking cap inside.  Beautiful progressions of projects and visions of brazen artwork come together in my mind. I laugh and wonder how I could have missed such an obvious/clear/brilliant idea until that moment, feet flying down the hill, chasing the moonrise or spooking that tree down there with a dozen vultures roosting... I have a week to build the creation from tonight's run, outfit it in fabric that is appropriate for Dia De Los Muertos and launch it with other floating altars for the Noche De Recuerdos down in town.  The images above are from my first floating altar last year, and I can hardly wait to manifest a new vision, care of the skies of fall.