Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Difference between Liberal and Conservative

So I think I may have figured out the difference between "Conservatives" and "Liberals".

Conservatives are adults.

Liberals are people who like to act like adults... sometimes.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Triggered by Broken Glass

I am triggered. It happened this evening while I was washing the dishes.

I am emotionally unraveled and am having some difficulty putting my emotional self back together.
I am experiencing anger but I am experiencing something else as well. Whatever the feelings are, I can't directly seem to identify them, but one is certainly fear of unknown danger. It feels like I am in danger and I don't know what to do about it.

The problem is that my spouse is, in my opinion at least although she has never been diagnosed this way, passive aggressive. That gives her the right to express her grievances secretly and get away with it without confrontation. We have had many discussions about this problem and in fact were separated for a year and a half mainly over this issue but the issue remains unresolved.

The problem is also one-sided meaning that it is a problem for me but for her it's just a way of life. To her it's just normal behavior. To me it's intolerable and at times dangerous, even life threatening.
The amazing thing about being a passive aggressive person is that when you are passive aggressive you don't need to be aware of what you are doing or why you are choosing to do it. You can be too nice of a person to hurt somebody deliberately but if you are passive aggressive you can hurt somebody deliberately but subconsciously.

I have learned to identify her passive aggression when it rears its ugly head this way. She hurts me or endangers me but claims innocence when I point out the danger or the hurt. I ask her why she did what she did. She responds with a lie.

She's normally an honest person. She has a reputation for honesty. She's perceived by the public as a good person. So where does the lie come from?
It comes from the same place her aggression comes from, her subconscious. She isn't even capable of admitting that she just made up a lie and told it to me because her subconscious won't allow her to admit it was a lie, yet to me it was an obvious lie. If I confront her about the lie she just digs her heels in deeper telling as many lies as are needed to hide what her subconscious mind has done.

She has been living this way for so long, actually most likely since early childhood, that the whole process is on autopilot. It's automatic. It's also something she knows by experience she can't do in public. It's manipulative abuse and subconsciously at least she knows it and hides it in public. She only uses it where she can get away with it, with her spouse.
She grew up in an abusive relationship with one or more of her parents, learned to live with manipulative abuse in denial, and accepted it as a normal part of her life and she believes in it because she knows how effectively it works.

The final nail in the coffin is that if she gets caught doing it and I get triggered, she perceives my anger as abuse. She sees herself as completely innocent, a victim.
It's classic textbook passive aggression.

So here I was washing the dishes this evening and she happened to be in the kitchen and she saw me put a few quart canning jars in the dishwater. She saw that I was washing one of the jars and she said is that the broken jar? (or something to that effect)
Instantly I had an emotional reaction.
Broken? One of the jars is broken? I ask.
Well not really broken, she says, but she can see she has to hide what she does know.
Just the top, she says.
So I look at the jar and sure enough there's a chip out of the rim leaving a small razor-sharp edge on the top of the jar.
I throw the jar away. It's just an inexpensive quart canning jar, nothing worth saving, but there's a powerful wave of tension that has washed over the kitchen. In my head I'm beginning to wonder why she would knowingly leave an inexpensive canning jar with a sharp edge left from a chipped rim where it will find its way into the dishwater, especially when she knows I do almost all of the dishes because she's too busy with work to do housework.
So I fume over it for a bit thinking maybe my emotions will settle down, maybe this doesn't deserve a confrontation, maybe there's a good reason. But undeniably it's clear to me that she knew what she was doing. She warned me when she saw that I was in danger.
So eventually I asked her why she didn't throw a broken jar away as soon as she saw that it was broken.
Well I thought maybe I could use it to hold pencils, she explained to me.
The lie.
Why would anyone save a dangerously chipped cheap run-of-the-mill clear-glass quart canning jar worth less than a dollar when brand new to store pencils in?
How do you know, I asked, that you didn't save it just to hurt me?
You wouldn't ask that question of a person you didn't suspect capable of passive aggression but it is the only important question to ask of a person who is.
She didn't have an answer or even a defense. She is familiar now with the possibilities. We have covered this ground many times recently.
So I told her I don't think she saved the jar to store pencils in. I told her I think she just now made that lie up and told it to me.

What I think actually happened was that when she saw the chipped jar she knew she should throw it away but she was just too lazy to do it and she turned the situation over to her subconscious mind which was perfectly content to put me in harms way because there was some unresolved issue with me, some grudge she can't admit to, that she had stored down beneath her conscious mind. I've had the feeling the past few days that she is holding something back that needs to be brought out and talked about so it's not all that far-fetched or paranoid for me to imagine this possibility.
But if I'm right that means she's upset enough about it to want to draw blood.
So I'm triggered.

Sunday, November 05, 2017


What triggers you?

By "triggered" I mean you have a strong negative emotional response to some sort of provocation. Something provokes you and you react emotionally in ways that often seem out of your control.
Lots of things seem to flip a negative emotional switch in people and trigger fear, anger, or rage or other forms of uncomfortable and many times inappropriate emotions and behavior.
We don't normally do things to ourselves to bring on these emotions. Things are done to us. Other people do things that trigger us. Here we are going about our business the way we always do and someone or some event comes along and upsets us and if we allow it to happen, we have an emotional situation going on inside our head that we believe we can't control until whatever it is that triggered us is no longer there, no longer a concern.
We even expect other people to be careful about what they say or do to us because if they aren't careful they will trigger an unwelcome and unpleasant emotional reaction from us.

If this isn't ringing a bell, here's a YouTube video of a routine traffic stop where the lady who is stopped for going 13 miles an hour over the speed limit works herself into an emotional frenzy over it despite the fact that the police officer is about as unthreatening and polite as he can be.

Ulster NY Legislator Jennifer Schwartz Berky Traffic Stop (FULL)

I have a theory about this woman's behavior.
She seems to be having a hissy fit while at the same time she is preventing this policeman from saying whatever it is that he is trying to say to her. From the start of the conversation, before she is triggered, she is interrupting what the policeman is saying to her. Her emotions seem to build as the policeman attempts over and over to speak to her. What the policeman is saying to her is upsetting her and the longer he tries, the more upset she gets.
This woman seems to want only one thing, for the policeman to stop speaking to her and let her go. If you don't believe me just give it a moment of thought. The one thing anybody who has been stopped by a policeman on the highway wants is for the policeman to stop talking and let them go. Rare is the exception.
This woman wants the policeman to stop talking and let her go.
He doesn't oblige.
She escalates by exhibiting behavior that she knows by experience causes the person triggering her to become uncomfortable and definitely uncertain and usually accommodating to her wishes.

If you think about it, children do this sort of thing to adults all the time. Usually they get away with it. Sometimes they don't get their way and sometimes they are even punished for their behavior but usually they get what they want.

So my perspective is that this woman became triggered as a means of controlling the policeman's behavior. It's hard to imagine any other reason for a rational, civilized, adult human being to behave this way in a situation as unthreatening as this.

My theory is that there is a form of manipulation where one person can control the speech or actions or even thoughts of another person simply by becoming uncomfortably emotional.

So to be triggered means to choose to exhibit uncomfortable emotions and/or behavior in order to control the person who is not doing what you want them to do.

Happens all the time if you stop and think about it. We all do it. We shouldn't. She shouldn't have acted this way. But we all do it.

It dawned on me yesterday that there is a positive, uplifting word in the English language that expresses the alternative to being triggered. Forgiveness.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Gabrielle Louise

I've been on a bit of a health foods kick today. I made my whole wheat bread and it was baked and out of the oven by eleven this morning. Then it was on to a pot of black bean chili started in a base of fresh-pressed wild apple cider that my wife and I pressed Saturday afternoon at her brother's place. All the time I was cooking I was listening to a new CD my wife bought of a mature young female Colorado folk singer.
Here's how all those things tie together.
I needed to have the health food kick today to recover from eating this enormous pastrami Rubin at a family gathering of my wife's brother's wife's family Saturday afternoon after we had finished making the cider. It was a restaurant meal and was supposed to be by reservation so we crashed the party about an hour, maybe an hour-and-a-half late thinking everyone would be having desert by then and we'd just have a desert but oh no, the meal hadn't even been served so we each had a Sam Adams OCTOBERFEST and ordered a meal. Mine was pastrami on rye - stuffed (!!!) with pastrami.
I'm not much of a meat eater but not because I don't like a good Rubin, or for that matter a good feed of just about any good meat. Not eating meat is a health thing for me. So today I just needed to pig out on fiber!
So there's that connection. Now to the music which is also connected to the family gathering at the restaurant.
The family gathering was celebrating the presence of a charming young musician member of the family who had agreed to come to Maine to perform for family and friends at a tiny fireman's hall in her grandmother's tiny (by small-town Maine standards) town. It was at that event where my wife bought her newest CD and that's what I was listening to this morning. The musician's name is Gabrielle Louise.
A little confession here...
At the restaurant we sat at the same table as Gabrielle and her mother and I did my very best, a genuine manly effort, to ignore this very attractive tall blonde female, Gabrielle. Nobody even introduced us. At the evening performance where she was by far even more attractive I did the same thing, seriously trying to ignore her.
I was able to keep up the effort through at least the first two or three songs, but she is one convincing musician. Her music broke down my resistance and by the end of the show I was - let's say - about as firm on my conviction to ignore her as melted chocolate. My cause was lost.
Anyway, her last song Saturday was by request. I have found it on YouTube. It's called Try the Door. She performs it here at eTown Hall in Boulder.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Mara's One One One Peanut Butter Cookies

Here's a recipe for quick and simple but outstandingly delightful peanut butter cookies. All you need are three ingredients for cookies that melt in your mouth with flavor.

One egg
One cup of sugar
One cup of peanut butter

Mara never told me how to go about combining these three ingredients or how to bake the cookies and being a guy I was too embarrassed to ask, so I have been experimenting. The last two times I made these cookies I beat the egg first and then mixed in the sugar until they were blended well. No need for an electric mixer. Then I mixed in the peanut butter until the dough had an even texture. Then it's onto greased cookie sheets and into the oven. Simple as that!

The last two times I made these I used different oven temperatures and different cooking times. The first was one single giant cookie baked below 300 degrees oven temperature and the cookie came out a bit undercooked which means it broke easily coming off the cookie sheet but was enormously soft and tasty!
The most recent try I used a 325 degree oven and baked the 16 cookies for 30 minutes. They came out overcooked but not burned. They had quite a crunch once they were cooled down.
So I'm tempted to use a 300 degree oven and bake for 30 minutes next time I make these.
Update: Mara suggests baking at 350 until the bottoms of the cookies begin to get brown.

I have tried adding other ingredients to the recipe. Coconut didn't work and neither did cocoa powder. The cookies lost their charm that way. But I have tried chocolate chips and the cookies were still delightfully delicious. They also do well with rolled oats. I used a half cup of rolled oats in my most recent two batches with good results.

Mara told me this recipe came from her grandmother so I want to thank both Mara and her grandmother and I'll bet if you try them yourself, you will too!

These go on the menu for sure.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Windows 10 Microsoft Edge Hotmal Glitch

Looks like I spoke too soon (read my post below).
The problem has returned already. Sad face :^(

I use Hotmail as my primary email and have been using it for somewhere around twenty years now. Last Saturday, about the time Irma was swiping the coast of Cuba, Hotmail decided to start sending multiple emails whenever I hit Send. To make things worse, an error message came up suggesting I didn't have an Internet connection so after testing my connection, I hit Send again and presto, another 8 to 13 duplicate emails were sent again despite the fact that Hotmail gave me the same error message.
I tried Googling the problem but with no luck. Finally after four days of this it dawned on me to Google the exact wording of the error message. Google gave me only one result, a Microsoft forum.
One of the responses gave an 8-step solution that seems to have worked. So far so good at least. I've sent myself two test messages and everything worked correctly, no errors and no duplicates.
So here's the error message and the solution:
"Error: The message can't be sent because your device isn't connected to the Internet. Try again when you regain connectivity."
Here's the solution from Microsoft:
  1. Launch Edge.
  2. Click the icon with the three horizontal lines. 
  3. Click the clock icon to show the History pane.
  4. Click Clear all history.
  5. Check Browsing History.
  6. Check Cookies and saved website data.
  7. Check Cached data and files.
  8. Click Clear.
My thanks to Ron Sommer

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Greek Oregano in the Maine Highlands

Two or three years ago I started a small rock garden out in my back yard for growing some Greek oregano from seed that I am thinking came from Fedco down in Clinton just off I-95. For years I had a small oregano patch that never did much growing but did come back year after year despite its shady location. I attribute its survival to compost-enriched soil more than to any other factor. Who'd a thunk something like oregano would grow up here in the Maine Highlands!
This summer my rock garden oregano patch finally thrived, most likely because last winter I cut quite a few of the mostly linden shade trees that have for decades been expanding their reach over and under my back yard garden. So last month I harvested a very large fistful of fresh green oregano stalks just as the plants were flowering. They've been hanging overhead downstairs by the woodstove and have been dry for weeks. Today I decided I'd see just what it was that I had so I took a large stainless bowl and crumpled my dry treasure by hand to get as many of the stems out as I could. What I wound up with from my tiny rock garden was more than a quart jar full of oregano spice.
To test the worth of this new treasure I heated a can of Campbell's Tomato Soup mixed with some raw cucumber and carrot relish that I made yesterday and a teaspoon at least of this oregano. I overcooked the soup but let me tell you, eating that soup was an oregano experience! My head nearly ignited with oregano flavor!