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Monday, January 31, 2011

Realizing That I Cannot Save Them All

So the sperm donor is at it again. The need for sex, sympathy and control is high with him. Sympathy because he comes from a family of abusive right-wing extremists who take what is naturally yours and abuse you for any signs of your independence. (Up to and including smacking me around because I refused to eliminate my mother and sister from my life...and they thought "they are bad influences on you, they teach you to disobey") which of course, he allows, as Mama will occasionally funnel him filthy lucre- er, money. Which of course, it's ok for a "good Christian" to rob from whatever source they choose. When asked why he thinks it's ok to attempt to sleep with teenage girls (against their will) the formulaic answer is that he doesn't have to grow up, he had a tough life. (BOO HOO!) Any woman who gets with him will be warned...repeatedly... because he steals, isolates and physically abuses. And sexually abuses. I still occasionally find myself accidentally repeating things I was told by him, that are detrimental to myself, or casting my eyes down, particularly when a man tells me I'm pretty. I still have a hard time giving hugs... a few manage, some might actually receive the half-hug or an alarmed, squeaked "Hands off the Beth!" I still will go for a man's hand at first meeting... testing for limp handshake, or general untrustworthiness. I gauge the strength, the actions, the behaviors. It takes me a very long time to get close. At one point, and up to about a year ago, I used to be a shaking little jelly if a guy got too close. At the worst point, after being hurt and raped by a friend of his late summer of '08, I could not get closer than 10 feet from a man. This made for awkward dinners. And a really awkward relationship where I actually could not touch the man.
Some people do work on themselves. Attempt to be better. But often, snakes only shed their skin...they remain snakes.
This is behavior done not just to me, but to others, by the same man:
*Will, at the beginning, seem a rather charming but wounded creature. Note though, the eyes stay icy. There is no emotion whatsoever, and he "changes" personality based on the person.
*Will take umbrage at anyone telling an intended mark that they are such, and that he needs to be avoided.The mark will be isolated
*Has been jailed numerous times for harassment. This is his go to. If you say "Well, D. is a bastard" he will attempt to make your life a living hell.
*Mommy NEVER LOVED ME! (Really, avoid this at all costs.)
*Thinks nothing of inviting swingers to play, with or without permission of his "intended". Thinks that a woman waking up to find herself in bed with a strange man and running is hilarious. Rape, he thinks is good for every woman to experience at least once. See, to him, "Forced sex is every woman's fantasy"--- (If this floats your boat, who am I to tell you you're wrong? But this is easily answered with "not so much"
*Showing signs of independence, disobedience, or in any way making him look stupid is going to cause pain.
*Telling him "no" is right out. I know, in the months leading to my surgery, he would get mad because I hurt too much to give him what he "needed". Then he had a friend of his tell me that if I loved him, and weren't a selfish bitch, I'd fuck through the pain or give him a woman who would satisfy his needs until I was healthy.
*Will have friends of his control you when he's not around. Think 3AM phone calls ordering you around and telling you that you need to change your personality, that he doesn't like such-and-such.
*Has burned a Bible and laughed at the natural response to grab it before it burned.
There's more... lots more... and it sounds like absolute pulp fiction.
In short: Control, power, and your self-esteem will suffer. You are not the first. You will not be the last. Crocodile tears are not from emotion. He loves HIMSELF, the way most would love another, or a child. Everyone, to D., is a slave.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Tough Look at Me

A website did an article on "I'm Single Because..."
Well, let's see...
1)I am generally unhealthy. This can scare off men
2)I get shy when meeting men... often I'll go for a handshake first or attempt to meet them with a lot of sarcastic humor. I'm a big sissy and can put up quite a front.
3)I don't go for "In your face" type sexy... I save my filthiest, and my more aggressive, for the bedroom. And it takes me a while to get there.
4)I'm sometimes awkward in conversation- English is actually difficult for me, and I have to work hard to have a conversation.
5)I hide a few things. It's true.
6)I can't have sex without feeling something for a man. This means... if it's JUST SEX- prepare for pain, because I won't be open for you.
7)I'm still working on my confidence. Admittedly, someone will tell me, that I'm pretty, and it will still shock me.
8) I've become somewhat comfortable with having a lot of friends, but no real intimacy.
9) I still wonder if I'm paying penance for, after a bad relationship, and trying something, with a sweet friend with whom, there was mutual love, and getting scared by it- and telling them they were too good for me. We stayed friends, and attempted a reconciliation. Then they were MIA in Iraq- and then confirmed KIA. So much for that. I broke a heart... as he said, and death intervened before we could fully repair ourselves.
10) I have a lot of nightmares
11) I have an easier time being a "cute friend"... the "Sweet Girl"and/or a "a little doll" to be sweet to, but never really seen as more.
12)I've had guys break up with me because they wanted to "fix" me. I was born with no enamel on my teeth, for example- one guy kept torturing me about it... why else do you think I refuse to smile with my lips open half the time?- and while yes, I'd like to fix that, at present, it's difficult to do so. Don't order me around to do something, if you know I cannot do so on my own power.
13)I have a lot of allergies and food-related issues, as well as a prematurity-related gag reflex. (Say no more, right?) While I'm willing to help, I understand how draining that is.
14)I'm awkward in some ways... balance off, eye hand coordination, etc, and while I know I worked hard to learn, and have tested above 150 in IQ, I feel a little dumb and awkward. Particularly as I have only a basic grasp of math because I taught myself. I also have some meningitis related damage to my brain, affecting my balance and EHC.
You know, something? I have survived a lot though, and I like me. If I'm forever single, I'll be happy with some hand picked friends. I'm a fighter. And when I'm flirted with, or told I'm sexy, sure it flummoxes me, but it's nice. I appreciate all kindnesses, I appreciate an honest person. And, well, there's got to be another oddball out there. And I'll actually attempt a date or two again. I'm rusty though. But I'll figure it out!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Making Grape Juice From Lemons

I’m a little lamb who’s lost in the wood
I know I could, always be good
To one who’ll watch over me
-Someone to Watch Over Me

In these past almost 28 years, I have met wolves a plenty. I've faced a lot of health issues, walked through hell, occasionally with someone on the narrow path next to me, holding a hand- and I cannot thank them enough! I'm facing a yearly issue right now... my kidney apparently attempting to assert its' dominance: "Heeeeeeeeeeeeere's Johnny! And he's MAD!" Same antibiotic, that generally gets added in higher and higher doses that happens when the issues from '06 rear their ugly heads.
This little lamb is...well, tired. I see so many people consistently hurting... and of course, some exhaustion comes from fighting massive kidney infections. And of course, fighting with thirst...thirst... ugh... I always did consider this the last temptation of Christ. Luckily, no one is feeding ME vinegar on a sponge!
But you know, as hard as life gets, being sick, living between two worlds, and really never feeling like I belong to either, like I can't quite make people happy... I am content and thrilled that every time a bad prognosis... I was supposed to die in my first 24 hours for example- has been made, I've beaten it. I got my gut and strength from people who, not realizing I'd used their example, have lauded me for "Making lemonade from the lemons life hands me". But that's no miracle! A miracle is not making lemonade out of the lemons handed. That just needs some sugar, or it's rather piss-poor lemonade. I can, with the help I've gotten, and with faith, make GRAPE JUICE out of lemons. Lordy me, that IS a miracle.
I've faced wolves, as I've said... looked into the eyes excited and gleaming with sadistic glee, looked at the shining fangs and bleeding maws... and have survived.
I have goals I'm slowly achieving, though slowed down some by illness and a small loss in my eye-hand coordination, and while I always am very sad to see the world hurt people over and over, I know, I can give care... and to myself, first.
I am going to make grape juice from my lemons :) This little lamb may occasionally get a bit lost, but I always find my way.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Rosary Beads

The string barely holds the large beads together, and yet, the large, ornate cross still hangs, heavy against my knuckles
Christ holds the patina of age and mystery, as the large oval beads are slid through my fingers
On string that might have been new in the 60's.
In prayer, in sorrow, in anger, in grief, fingers clutch desperately at bits of wood, metal and string
A rosary that once graced a monk in a habit
"Bring me your tired, your poor your oppressed" may be an accidental motto in life
But as I hold the large, heavy rosary, a little voice, one heard barely, speaks:
"You have faith. And your faith will make you whole".
A string of old beads and a crucifix, a symbol of torture, a symbol of faith in adversity, looks so large against my girlish hands, a crucifix made for a monk, for a girl who tends to live like a monk...
"Your faith will make you whole"
"I am not worthy..." I begin, "But... just say the word, and I shall become whole."
What am I praying for? I begin to wonder as my tendency to over-think comes through.
Relief from recent illness piled upon the chronic illnesses?
Relief for the pain I see so often in others?
Of anger and fear and hatred, and gratitude, too, for living in two separate worlds--- and my inability to completely fit, my discomfort, my tendency to forever swim upstream, and feeling the demons at my heels? My gratitude, my sense of having been blessed, at the same time?
"My child" comes the voice very insistently... "You cannot always stay strong. You have to bend before you break, you have to learn to lean sometime. I give you fire, I give you what you need to teach you. Fire and pressure make a beautiful diamond over time."
And the old rosary glides between my knuckles, the crucifix tap, tap, tapping against the bones.

Fighting With Hello Kidney

Somedays, sleep doesn't quite come as it should. You can be all antibiotic-ed out, as I am, running on cranberry juice, an Exedrine PM, and pure and simple exhaustion. I have a terrible habit... I over think, and sometimes make apologies late into the night, to everything, including the refrigerator, but myself. To those on the list of those I made needless apologies to, and it's longer than my arm... yup, I'm a big schmuck.
Today, I should be exhausted... 3 hours to diagnose a kidney infection (in a sole kidney) after days of limited output and major water-and-cranberry juice input, and then waiting at Target for scripts, dealing with Mom, who is becoming overtaxed by a boyfriend with Parkinson's Disease, and issues stemming from a doctor who screwed with medication doses, causing me to feel a wee bit drunk, and just a lot out of it... I should be pinned to the pillow. Instead, I'm up...and overthinking as I do, becoming awfully enthralled with the side effects of Macrobid... that is... I've never seen so much orange in my life- but hey, I can pee! (And you probably didn't need to know that, but it's sure lovely when you haven't in a few days!) Of course, lately, I've been my schmucky self... must knock that off... I hate it with every part of me. Let it be, Beth, just let it be.
As for the fight with my kidney, well, I suppose I'll take it over the bout with the symptoms of meningitis I had in 'o6. Like a lot of things, say, tuberculosis, there's a penchant for me to feel it, and occasionally exhibit the stiff neck and headache/ exhaustion, and pain from the cold of winter on my ribs, one of which is gone. I just wish Dear Hello Kidney had not decided to act up now... and I hadn't been stubborn before I stopped weeing.
Well, to end, how about a childish joke?
Why did the lobster blush?
Because the sea wee'd.
PS. I am considering theological classes, actually working to be a member of clergy. This would mean that I'd need to become a nun, or undergo a sex change to avoid changing "major religions" or go Episcopalian, all the caffeine, only half the guilt. I am seriously thinking, and don't know if I'll do so or not, it's a lot, and I know many who do not put up with female clergy.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Truth, Justice and the American Way

There's a few tendencies I have, where if I could harness and use them for the power of good, and of course Truth, Justice and the American Way (Cue fanfare), I could probably rule the world. It really hasn't stopped me from trying, however.
I feel everything. I can generally tell you, "Um, yeah, not a good idea", although some things must be learned via experience, while it'll hurt me to grind my teeth and watch a person having to learn tough lessons, it's necessary at times. It's been said people like me might as well have 100 fingers as opposed to 10. While this means I can generally pick out when someone is hurting, it'll also mean I'll feel extreme guilt if I can't help them. One person asked me if it worked for the lottery. Yes, fifty bucks. Now see, if I wanted to try that again, I'd get nil, but if I could use it for that, I'd likely be a wealthy woman. That, and if I could only sell kicks in the ass (It SHOULD be a buyers' market!) would have me rolling in the money. Well, and every guy who ever said the magic "I'm a nice guy..."
Then of course, there's brain to mouth filter. While as of yet, I still manage to say things that I THOUGHT I had written or said clearly, and have them come out in a way that I shock, mystify or am otherwise misunderstood, I also have a terrible habit of, according to some, "Being too honest". (I make some people rather uncomfortable)- odd, because I do actually hold back some. I guess we're all complicated. :-( But my filter is either set LOW, has a hole in it, or else, my frontal lobe decides to take it easy when I'm attempting to get a point across.
And of course, it has come in handy. But I think I have hurt good people with it a time or two.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

So Tired Of Being a Good Girl

Sometimes, I get tired of loving, but asexual relationships. Of always being a cute, sweet friend, but never "the girl". I have no illusions that out there, someone waits for me. A girl with constant headaches, scars, who needs to watch every move and facial tic to try to understand a conversation, who will become annoyed by breath down my neck but not pick up the words spoken behind her, who lives in fear of things that most take for granted, is no catch!
I've had a few that I tossed to the curb- for insulting things I could not change "Ethopian gut", "Too many scars", while assuming they had easy access to physical release. Not knowing... if I don't have an emotional connection, if sex were to take place, it could be impossible or painful for all. Here and there, I still recall "You make me need more, you just lay there. You're so into your faith, you don't understand that the rules have changed, no one just has one sexual partner anymore." I remember being forced by a drunk man while people watched. Then getting beaten because I couldn't willingly have sex with him to please someone in a mood to watch someone else have sex. Apparently, I'd ruined his erection and the other guy thought his penis would break from hitting my pelvic bone because he couldn't get in. The three some arranged without my knowledge and my escape after getting tossed out of bed for ruining everything with my reluctance.
Now, today, I want very much to chuck my usual "good girl" ambiance... I can't change ME, not totally, but bring out more of the tiger I like to think I can be. Dress a little sexier, nothing much, actually figure out what I want.
I have no illusions I'll ever be in another relationship as most consider them- I think I'm paying penance for breaking a heart that now, it's too late to go back and fix. ("You're sweet, but honey, I think you're too good for me"...way back when in '03.) So, I'll adore my friends, and if offered a shot to quietly bring out more of me, later, I will... right now I'm working on the nightmares, but wanting to show more confidence, wanting more to be that sweet girl. I'm told I figure in dreams, I get flirted with, but I can never take it seriously. I am a mess. One guy who did want to try something, offered an "easy out" and I took it. I'm not guilty about that. I'm guilty because I think I have yet to quit hiding things, that might allow me to finally release some aggression, because I know that I will lose a lot more if I say any of them. But grief is getting to me too, and I don't know how to get it out. Crying is good, but when I am so close to doing so, the "A good soldier never cries" speech comes back to me, and I suck it in. But I don't want to be a good soldier, or a good girl.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Beth and the Keystone Kop

There has been the occasional spirited conversation on disabilities and cops, from various sources, the former cop with hearing issues, myself and my sister, who fall into the HI spectrum (hearing impaired, conductive loss)the occasional hearing but shocked, the jokester, and so on.
There is good and bad and all. A disability will not make you a saint. You can be a supposedly nice and gentle person with the ability to use yours to manipulate, I've seen that too. It's why I choose to teach and practice that you are not your disease, you have choices on how you're going to teach people. One little girl I knew would attempt to get out of mundane work, with "You have to do it for me, I'm disabled". From what I recall, her mother rather quickly snipped that in the bud! You are not your problem, you are affected BY your problems. (Should that be effect?)
So, my tale of the idiot cop:
The spirited discussion stemmed from this:
Really stupid and infuriating comment read one day: "I stopped a car, and found both driver and passenger to be deaf. I never knew deaf people could drive, let alone get licenses, but to my surprise the license came back valid". And I never knew someone with an IQ of 30 could be a cop. You learn something new every day, aight?

Well, there are honestly marvelous people in all groups. There are idiots in all groups, and there are people, whom after receiving a missive letting them know that I'm not putting up with any bullshit, suddenly kiss my butt.
See, I've met the ignorant cop.
Once, in an attempt to remove myself from danger, my body chose that inopportune moment to go into panic mode. Not only was I attempting to slowly extricate myself, from people who didn't understand that attacking me and then getting too close and hugging me (Who has to really be comfortable with someone to offer touch)- but my anxiety kicked up and all I had was the basic signs for "No, go away" while I struggled against a panic attack (having been informed they're embarrassing, I always attempt to fight them.) A cop seriously thought that the gesture and my panicked, shallow breathing as well as the tears flowing and the gutteral sounds I attempted to make "Get away, you're not helping" were actually violent. He grabbed my arms forcefully, while I stood there, unable to do more than cry and attempt to breathe. I recall him shouting "That was a violent, threatening gesture. I could arrest you right now!" Who ever called the lawyer that put him in his place, I am eternally grateful. I've never been the trouble-making sort, and generally am a "good girl", so I couldn't understand why, on a day when the order of the day seemed to be "Shove her around, she doesn't complain", when my body chose to say "Hey! Too much!" I was the one accused of violence. Herein concludes my rant on the criminal justice system.

Peace, Harmony and Idiots

Because of the type of personality I seem to have, people seem extremely comfortable unloading... I always manage to find one or two idiots who seem to take a great delight in saying things that would cause most people to give them a good smack!
My former mother in law, years ago, responded to an email I sent, begging for peace between families, "Look, I've had just enough of this pissing match. Lorelei needs people to come together for her, precisely BECAUSE she has special needs, precisely because she is a beautiful little girl who doesn't need to see people at each other's throats while she fights to survive and thrive" with "Goddammit, I am a Christian who does not put up with swearing"- madam, you do realize that "God damn" is a curse, both literally and figuratively? You basically asked God to damn something. Pissing, of course, is an act of urination. Seen in 1st Kings and the Book of Samuel:
And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends.(1 Kings 16:11 KJV)
"Lorelei (of course she spelled it wrong!) needs to see that some, including your abusive family (EXCUSE ME?) are not the nice people they pretend to be. You, a Catholic, needs to come to Christ, if I can lead the way, that's great. But don't even think for a second there can be peace between our families. You need to come to terms with the fact that a disabled mother cannot possibly help a child, and that you cannot love her as you say if you try so hard, along with your bitch of a mother, to try to raise her without the input of us, who can hear her crying (And do what, shake her like you did to see if you could get her to cry, and make the apnea monitor quit wailing?)". See, most would have thoroughly throttled her or sent back the knee-jerk "You fucking bitch" missive. As it was, I did paraphrase Gandhi. "I am very familiar with, and do know Jesus Christ, thank you. I am only saddened and disappointed that many of his erstwhile followers have yet to actually listen." (It earned me an ear-boxing, but I'm not ashamed.) I've gotten to the point where I bottle up my snap reactions to the stupidity I've seen, trying to live between 2 worlds, and being able to "pass" occasionally, enough that I'm told what should never be said by the ignorant.
Sometimes, they have no idea that it's not just the word but the actions that speak for them, and I've learned to really watch people. I can tell bottled up anger from a mile away, just as I can feel others' sadness and rejoice when, as long as they don't get their happiness hurting themselves or another, they find some peace. I can also smell danger. Now, I have learned to go very far away from dangers. My gut will tell me when something is not right, I generally am not wrong when I follow it.
In closing:
Love even the awful people you meet, even if it's merely that they are human. We are called to give love and peace, not to hate. I am relearning this, after actually receiving a good lesson in hatred.
Be kind to all. Stick close to, and care for, that select few. Separate the wheat from the chaff, and only keep the "wheat" around. Say what you need to about those that have hurt you, forgive, and move on, keeping the lessons that even they can teach, with you.
In closing:
"The world is a beautiful place. You must go into it and love everyone. Try to make everyone happy, and bring peace and contentment everywhere you go..." Gaston, the French Waiter, in Monty Python's the Meaning of Life.
And: It's not very special, but: Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.
Yes, both are ended with filthy humor, but good advice to live by. And if I can help another, then that is all I can ask for.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Let There Be Peace...

Pain, anger and suffering are a sad fact of life. I can shake my head and cry about the cruelty of the world. As it is, when someone is sad, I have a terrible habit of letting it break my heart into a billion pieces. But- I'm truly nothing if not an optimist, most of the time! (Yes, yes, I know, it bloody drives people insane!)
I am trying to focus my attention on "Look how silly life is... idiots are terribly funny creatures, particularly when they attempt to offer you their "wisdom" and so on. There is good in all, I think. Yes, I need to toughen up, until then, I do have songs in my heart- "On Eagles' Wings" a favorite of Dad's and of Miss L., and "Let There Be Peace on Earth." And so, I'll try to live that too, as well as attempt to be patient, kind and honest with myself and others. In the meantime, let the beautiful lyrics and the beautiful boy in the video say it for me.
Let there be peace on earth And let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth The peace that was meant to be. With God as our father Brothers all are we. Let me walk with my brother In perfect harmony. Let peace begin with me Let this be the moment now. With every step i take Let this be my solemn vow. To take each moment And live each moment With peace eternally. Let ther be peace on earth, And let it begin with me. (child) Let there be peace on earth And let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth The peace that was meant to be. With god as our father Brothers all are we. Let me walk with my brother In perfect harmony. Let peace begin with me Let this be the moment now. With every step I take Let this be my solemn vow. To take each moment And live each moment In peace eternally. Let there be peace on earth And let it begin with me.
_Let There Be Peace On Earth, Jill Jackson and Mark Miller, 1955
Let There Be Peace On Earth- most members of this group have Down's Syndrome. It's AMAZING!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Animal Research- from 2009

Remember that essay I had to write on animal research? Well, I got a 90.3 as, apparently, I do not write in a straight clinical style. Here it is. A lot of quizzing, blood, sweat and tears went into this. My next assignment is on the function of the two hemispheres of the brain and on whether I believe I am right or left brained. I guess for the most part, on this topic, I ran on the emotional side.

I am split on animal research.
For cosmetic use, such as testing lipsticks or shampoos, I am putting my foot down and saying "No, definately not".
These (excluding shampoos) are non-essential items, and can lead to animals being in great pain.
It is up to researchers to remember that we have a responsibility to not only create safe products, but to do so with a minimum of pain, if at all.
This also goes towards the creation of folk medicines, such as bear gall, where North American black bears are brought to China, the lead producers of bear gall in medicines and aphrodisiacs. Or they are killed illegally and devested of paws and gall bladders (and everything else left.) Not only is a poaching problem being created, but bear gall production has already drastically cut down Asian bear populations, leading to demand and greed for American bears.
There are very few documented proofs of effectiveness for bear gall, although it is promised to cure athlete's foot, cancer, and more. More or less I consider this to be at best, cosmetic, at worst, a modern day snake oil. For more information, I consider this article to be a gold standard.www1.american.edu/TED/bear.htm
In other words, cosmetic animal testing can lead to needless pain and greed.
On the other hand, medical testing, provided it be done with a minimum of pain for the animals affected, is something I can agree with.
Because of animal research, we were capable of creating insulin for diabetics. Many lives have been saved, both human and animal, because of insulin either taken from the pancreases of pigs, or synthesized to create an artificial form, Humalin, which owes itself to that from pigs.Unlike bear gall, there is a documented effectiveness.
Other non-snake-oil "miracles" have come in the form of medicines such as Catapres*, which involves snake venom as part of its' makeup, and can be used effectively for both heart conditions and ADD/ADHD. Without pigs being used to test effectiveness, could we have found a dose that is therapetic, not lethal? Without at least one researcher being indicted for murder? I think not!
Medical research is not without its' greed, of course, but for every bad researcher, every researcher more interested in a bottom line than someone's health, there are thousands more who want only to help and to heal.
Another example of the use of animal research in medicine is that we can see how diseases develop in controlled settings, and can find ways to treat them quickly, in ways we cannot in many patients who are in advanced stages of disease by the time many see a doctor for treatment.
For cosmetic use:
1)But isn't better that a rabbit gets a rash from a new shampoo or lipstick, then a human, who in this liturgical society, might sue over any little bump or blister?
2)So there's some poaching. How do we know bear gall isn't effective for something? After all, it's good for the bear!
3)Pain is part of the process. Exactly what is too much? If there can be too much, can there be too little?

On medical testing:
1)Don't you think this makes you a hipocrite? You disaprove of animal testing to make you pretty, but you have no problems with medical research on animals to keep you alive?
2)Don't a lot of these ADD/ADHD medicines cause problems of their own?
3)Shouldn't you feel terrible for animals purposefully made sick to test the courses of human disease?

* For basic information on Catapres, including what conditions it treats, please visit this link. I learned of the makeup of Catapres using pharmacy sheets when I used it in 1995.

From St. Stephen's Day, 2009

Today, I spent a good bit of fun with a sarcastic Facebook stat from a friend of mine, a devout Russian Orthodox man... (I am a Catholic Russian-Polish-German- really, I think only transsubstantiation divides us. I too can easily identify as a Cossack/ monarchist. Play with that word, transsubstantiation ... I'll answer it as best I can, later.) Everyone has been semi-sarcastically posting about Facebook sending the earth into the sun, and using the new privacy setting messages with new phrasing. My friend the Dom Cossack, posted a variation that led to a spirited conversation delving into King Arthur, perhaps in actuality a warlord, who was of Welsh extraction and whose true name is Pendragon.
And into Good King Wenceslas, patron saint of the Czech Republic, canonized by both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches when he died in 935AD. My Czech pediatrician (who still loves me and calls me her princess... I was her special baby, even though she scared the heebie jeebies out of me!) told me of him and taught me my favorite Christmas carol, based on Wenceslas's journey of mercy to help a poor man on the Feast of Stephen, December 26th.
(That's right, a martyred saint helping another on the feast day of another martyred saint.) This Wenceslas went by the birth name, Vaclav. He is not to be confused with Wenceslas I of Bohemia (Former Czechloslovakia.)
"Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even;
Brightly shone the moon that night, tho' the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight, gath'ring winter fuel.

"Hither, page, and stand by me, if thou know'st it, telling,
Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain;
Right against the forest fence, by saint agnes' fountain."

"Bring me flesh, and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither:
Thou and I will see him dine, when we bear them thither."
Page and monarch, forth they went, forth they went together;
Through the rude wind's wild lament and the bitter weather.

"Sire, the night is darker now, and the wind blows stronger;
Fails my heart, I know not how; I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps, good my page. Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod, where the snow lay dinted;
Heat was in the very sod which the saint had printed.
Therefore, christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing"
-Public Domain. Lyrics- John Mason Neale.

Basically, one evening, the king, went out to help a poor man, bringing with him a young servant, who was freezing, until the king told him to walk where he trod. There was a heat, a small furnace, in each footstep, and the servant helped his master in pure comfort. He was known to go to churches with alms, in the bitter snow, barefoot. Pope Pious II recreated this, himself going through snow barefoot, for a terrifying 10 miles!

Remember your family, love and keep them, and yourself, but offer some peace to someone you may not know, in whichever way you can. Merry Christmas, God jul, С Рождеством, feliz navidad, Happy Christmachanukwanzasolsticekuh, and a delightful Eid to you and yours!

Oh, and that minor, teeny-tiny issue, transsubstantiation.
This small issue divided major religions during the Council of Niccea. (Also the namesake of the "I believe" Niccean Creed)- When Jesus broke the bread and offered around the wine, saying "Take eat/drink, this is my body/ this is my blood", did he do so literally, meaning, did bread become flesh, and wine, living blood, or was this simply a symbol? Does it matter? Really--- to be honest, I believe, but don't think that this is a good reason for the shism- split. May we someday, truly have peace, and show Christian love, regardless of faith.

Faith Vs. Religion: The 18 Hour Hair-Puller

This actually took 18 hours to write. At least, I found this one!

I like polling-to get some basic background for essays I invariably write while dealing with insomnia. Sometimes I do this in a rather vague manner, and attempt to keep privacy of all respondees.
I was busy listening to all sorts of "I'm giving up ________" for Lent... when asked, those same people couldn't tell me more than "It's expected of me..." OK....
So I played with the question, Are you giving up or giving to for Lent?
Out of responses, and from watching... I compiled this rambler:
If you read me often, you'll know that I have a habit of analyzing just about everything. For an essay requiring my views on animal research that had to incorporate opposing views- I polled Facebook and the Spazz looking for ideas and input.
I'm not stopping any time soon!
In this season of Sacrifice, commemorating Christ's meditations and temptations by Satan over a 40 day period, during which he dealt with hunger and thirst and Satan's "Just do this and you can have that..."
"Cast down these stones to make bread, Look, I can give you all of this as far as the eye can see..."
As I stated before, I've been asked many a time, "So what are you giving up?"
We all have vices...good heavens. (Pun not intended. I intend to keep writing this, and spelling errors etc. will have to stay in.)
Many give up smoking, only to be overcome by cravings, pain and a tendency to snap and tell off well meaning people with nary a thought. Many give up coffee...some still allowing tea. (Caffeine is caffeine.) On Fridays, and I follow this part, many go back to centuries of tradition only eating fish, no other meat. (Since I'm not too awfully fond of fish, I often substitute plain French fries or a salad.)
A movie, 40 Days and 40 Nights detailed a young man giving up sex for Lent, as it was a teeny-bopper film, it had "hilarious" consequences, of course!
I like to ponder these questions:
1) Faith Vs. Religion.
Faith, we are taught, can move mountains, even if it's the size of a mustard seed. It can allow the Mountain to come to Mohammed.
I've always preferred this: "Faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the proof of those not seen"~Hebrews 11:11...I actually had this on a poster on my wall as a child.
A really great way to illustrate this, as Jesus does for Nicodemus is: "You can't see the wind, but you can see what it does." If you cannot see the wind, does what it affects...swaying tree branches, cows being picked up and dropped 50 miles away, not actually happen? Now onto religion-
Religion is, according to Webster's Dictionary:
the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.Dictionary Dot Com/Religion
So, in a nutshell, faith is about the individual. Who we are. You love God because you cannot imagine anything else. Religion is WHAT we are. You practice certain rituals, hoping they click with your love for, your fervor for God, rather than practicing that love and fervor with a body of others whom you can bear up and who can bear you up when things get tough. (I do not speak for the whole, this is what I observe, everyone is different.)
Ask someone "Who are you?" and they give you a list of what they do nine-tenths of the time. Not often do you hear them tell you WHO they are.
I get cranky sometimes because I hear many who claim to be Christian use it to excuse wrongful behavior, church, prayer and devotion is a chore, and frankly, these "chores" are rubbed in the faces of those who are perceived to be less devout or less worthy. It is when I get cranky that I state: I would prefer to practice faith but am not altogether fond of religion-as I have seen it practiced.
Ah, now onto a question that plagues me at this time of year (Again, the religion/faith plague connection is an unintended pun.) I see too many with a convenient religion, but no faith when put to the test. This kills me.
Give Up or Give To?
Lent is often the time chosen to give up vices just in time to celebrate the trials of Jesus Christ.
But what of helping others, of bearing up others and giving love and help?
Now, this sort of ties in with faith for me:
Is sacrifice masochism when it's done out of faith or is it something else? We're called to be humble and to humble ourselves.
To continue on this vein:
what this was was---haha- a sort of question on the idea of giving up vices which logically will be returned to within 40 days, or sooner, and without the correct spirit, or whether it's about giving problems to a higher power and helping someone out, as part of the whole season of repentance- and whether charity at this time is a mea culpa or an honest effort.
Give up? Yes. Give up troubles and pain, and praise to God. He can take it.
Give to? Yes. Give to others...time, love, honor, respect. Bear up those in pain of all types. Pray without ceasing. In the spirit of repentance. Of hope for the future, of joy of knowing that your God is there, when you need bearing up, and sends ministering angels in all shapes and forms.

A Blog With No Name (Except This One)

Every so often, you find that you need to come to terms with yourself.
I attempted one of my 12 Steps, from my orderly little list- unfortunately, make amends for the people you've hurt, came up and coincided with grief for a lot of losses. It was, I suppose, not the best time! And, the cold brings special issues... a return of exhaustion that ensures that I'm not capable of dealing as I normally do, the stiff neck and headaches, the flu symptoms that don't abate well. And the side-stitches that mean that I occasionally have to lay down, or sit, before I fall, with or without computer.
And chaos, of course... so many sad people and sad creatures. The natural world and the cruelty of it still shock me, and I think that it's past time that I should be shocked. A favorite little pet met demise by cat. And I hurt watching the starving deer wandering around. I suppose, in the natural world, I would likely not survive . But, as for now, I have my wits, I don't know for how long.
In the summer, my last EEG didn't go well, besides the fact that I was exhausted, and had a migraine going. Apparently, some parts on the left side aren't working. This might explain my lack of balance, and the fact that I slowly seem to be losing the mathematical skills I worked so hard to learn. I had to really fight one morning while doing some figuring. And, if I make a stupid mistake, that really might not mean much, I'll be the first to nit-pick at myself. I guess I was damaged by disease and abuse, more than I knew. I'm terrified. I made a small decision, after seeing the pain from Aunt Marcia...when she could no longer give her husband what he needed, or be physically there, she felt guilt and it ate at her, while her hubby took his mind off of it all, cheating with one of her best friends... whom he was engaged to the second she died. If I become that sick, there will be no man in my life. I don't need anyone to see me hurting... and besides, I like being everyone's friend.
Well, that was a great vent, let's call that a day.
I've had to learn:
*You can't help them all. Sadly, I am a doofus and will try.
*That saying "no" will not make me a bad person.
*Not everything can be categorized.
*I don't always have to follow from an organized list of Thou Shalts and Thou Shalt Nots.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sublimely Profane

I'm known to make a few disastrous oopsies on occasion, from accidentally giving an inappropriate answer to questions, to occasionally offering an appropriate answer to those questions that can be deemed rather personal and unseemly indeed!
I joke that I'm a big size-queen. I can talk up a good game on it. It all started in 2004... a friend and I were going to Spot Coffee, discussing all matters of life, and they had been asking how I liked my coffee, while I sort of zoned out. Suddenly, they asked me, "So, how big do you like it?" Thinking they meant, how big a cup of coffee I usually get, although why they needed to know, I had no idea- I answered, in a sort of day-dreamy state "As big as I can get it!" They had unfortunately switched to sex as a topic, while I was in my dream world, and they just stared at me.
I have to watch that, but I have a rotten feeling that I could discuss The Sermon on the Mount vs. Marxism (I was once informed wrongly that Christ had not told the rich to give up their money, during a discussion on the "Priest's Marxist claptrap) and someone would find something I said to be dirty. Sadly, if I am purposefully filthy (I think there is sacredness in the sublimely profane) no one really understands or gets shocked and thinks Baby just told her first dirty joke. Now, if I'm entirely serious and have my mind out of the gutter for a moment, someone will find something that I said, and make me blush by pointing out "Uh, did you mean to say that?" *Sigh*

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Cup Runneth Over

Dear Lord, we've been working on that awful issue I have- adopting every puppy that I see, so to speak. "Oh, Bethy, you're sweet, but you've got to say "no" every now and then!" has followed me all the days of my life, as surely as goodness and mercy do and shall. My cup indeed runneth over, Lord. But Lord, I did it again, and felt this rush of panic the second I said, "Sure, ok". *SMACK!* Look, I love my family. But Lord, listen... he's kind of icky. Not just because he's a boy, but I remember things I shouldn't. Like his special homage to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers- the one involving a sock- that has been burned deeply into my memory. And his friends have all beaten me up! Granted, I was still short and wearing Pippi Longstocking pigtails. And there was that one who saw me- um, developing, and said "BETHANY! You have boobs!" (No, that's not scary for a 16 year old girl, dear Lord. Not at all.) Lord, I've been in a dark place DUE to family insanity, acting all sorts of weird. Sharing net, kitchen, food, small bathroom with my brother? Please, help me stay sane. Lord, I like the guy, sure... he's my big brother, and he's really kind of sweet sometimes. But he's my big brother--- Lord, he's my polar opposite, too. You know what this means. And um...words that should never pop out of a brother's mouth are as follows. Lord, "I'll take care of you"- I have a father, he did very well for 12 years, thanks. And according to him, for the next 12 years, I'm still not allowed to date. "I'll give you money" should not ever come after "I'll take care of you". Lord, I has a big scared. I feel like one of those long haired cats seeing something scary. My tail and ears would be up and I'd be a giant puffball, if I were a cat. And the over-protectiveness... I'm nice, ok... I'm gentle. But... I don't need a father! I am going to pink it up. Make it uncomfortable for anyone with XY chromosomes. Did I mention, Lord, that he scares me and has gross habits?

Tomato Soup, Ala Parsons Hall

The "I'm Desperate Dorm Room 'Tomato Soup' "
Keep in mind, this poster HATES tomato soup
1)Steal ketchup and salt and pepper packets at McDonalds
2)Keep a small bowl near by at all times, Styrofoam really adds new flavor!
3)Mix ketchup, salt & pepper in bowl with hot water, preferably from tap. Dorm room bathroom water is especially good.
4) ????
5) Profit!
I did this a few times in dorms, learned to keep it up during my marriage, while apparently missing out on steak dinners plied on people that my ex wished to "impress". It is foul, it is disgusting. But, if you're hungry, and everyone looks like an anthropomorphic cheeseburger, it's food. I find a bit of Tobasco helps---I learned while eating MREs in ROTC, that Tobasco makes bad food pretty palatable.

What a Crock!

In the winter, it becomes all about how to beat the chill, especially so you yourself don't start acting chilly! I like to make cookies, etc, myself, sure, it's a messy process and my oven is semi-annoying at times! I'm also of the school that says : If you aren't finding yourself wearing the cookie dough, you're not doing it right. (And yes, I will eat it off a spoon or off the beaters, sorry, Mom!) It warms up the place quite nicely, far better than ancient heaters that, like all else in the house, are either HOT! HOT! HOT! or cold. (Washing hair means risking certain burns if you're not careful.) What do you expect though, from certain indicators, I'd say the place was built in the 60's or so.
I like to let a crockpot simmer all day, so I can have a nice treat after I get back from my forays into the snow to take care of business. And it makes me feel nice, that if I'm not feeling good, I'll manage to make a pretty fool-proof stew or something.
I have an extremely tiny one now, but I worked up a pretty good and basic soup, using the "I'll cook as I feel it" method.
The "Budget" Stew
1 lb stew beef ($4.99/lb) - someone told me they once bought this for around seventy-five cents. I just stared at them.
1/2 cup GF flour... I used a packet of Bob's Red Mill "All Purpose Flour"- $3.99/ packet
2 teaspoons of salt. Nothing special, can be found for about $2.00 or so if going generic.
1/2 teaspoon of pepper (Same as above, a small container of the most basic could probably be had at just a hair over $1.50. They don't do "cheap" like they used to. If I'm really feeling cheap, I steal salt and pepper packets at Micky Dees. I know from living in dorms, those ketchup packets, hot water and salt and pepper make a cheap tomato soup, too.)
I left out shortening, really didn't miss it.
A half packet of baby carrots- $1.00 for a pound package.
1 cup sliced celery- a package of the most basic goes for about $1.49
Half of a small onion- $1.99
A pinch of basil and oregano- $2.69 and $1.00, respectively
1/3 cup of water. No need to use bottled. From tap, maybe 20 cents/ gallon.
3 sliced red potatoes, $1.00/ pound

Mix flour, salt and pepper. Coat beef liberally in mixture.
Place beef in pan with remainder of flour mix. Brown cubes.
Place all but water in crock pot.
Pour water in skillet, scrape the meat from pan, pour this into crock.
Cook on low if you can wait 10-12 hours, high if you can stand five.
Can be served alone, or stretched with rice, brown or white, or noodles.
All told, I spent precisely $18.18 before tax, which stands at nearly 9% here. Not too shabby for a hardy meal with Mom. About 4-6 servings, give or take, so, using the smaller serving estimate, each serving is: $4.55 / per serving.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My "Date"

While the cold of winter has brought pain- I actually had to lay down for a few minutes to ride through a wave of pain last night- it's also brought its' joys.
I did have a great time, though- not just as a distraction from feeling everything acutely and wondering what the hell I did. I went out with a new friend that is trustworthy- and just misbehaved, let out the silly- even though my heart hurts for a lot of reasons (that one is not literal). I only felt bad that the painkillers quit, and I had to say "when!"
I was mad at myself... because I'd gotten very angry at things I'd been told, like "You know, you hide a lot." (No kidding!) I was feeling very mad that I wasn't my normal sunny self, and that I thought that's what people wanted out of me, and I disappointed. I know when to say "when"- and to lean on someone for a bit, or distract myself, although I was told, via a shout in my ear from someone with a good case of beer-breath, "Smile, it's pretty" a lot.
I had fun, no judgment, no craziness, I could be myself. I still hurt, I still felt crappy- that apparently in trying to help, I had instead hurt. But the foray into the chill let me just rest a bit. We all need to pull ourselves away sometimes. And sometimes, that means braving the cold and being silly with a friend. I'll be sunny, someday. I'll be my smartass self, blush, old-lady minced words, and try to see humor in the wildness of life until I do. I'll always be an empath... with 100 fingers, rather than 10, constantly "feeling" the world. I'll always feel bad when it feels I've angered someone. But I'll feel worse if I anger myself by not getting up and doing something.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Unbearable Lightness

Unfortunately, I think, people have caught me during one of my 12 steps for NA--- based on the AA principle. Understand that I have done wrong and have hurt others. Dumbass that I am, I managed to have it coincide with my winter flare up! And, to apologize to people I might not have needed to. I have a rotten habit, I will apologize if the sun is too hot, or if someone does something that irritates another, removed from me. Like, if my mother hates the atmosphere at a cafe, or someone is rude to her, and she tells me, I'll apologize profusely.
I was upset- I craved something that wasn't good for me, and I blamed that- I told myself it was my own damned fault even when the issues unrelated to that- the headaches, the lung pain, the sharp rib pain (odd, as it isn't there anymore), the nausea that I've had even before my indulgence with gluten, came rushing back. I attacked myself. I let stupid things color my judgement of people... when they might have been attempting to be funny, I took it as "They secretly think you're a damned idiot- serves you right!" I still hide a lot, because it's still a gigantic jumble for me, and I've seen people say that if you have it tough, and multiple issues happen, it's your own damn fault! Bad people bring bad onto themselves. Ergo, I was bad. Then I thought, and what of three year olds with leukemia, you damn asshole? More guilt I gave myself.
So many are hurting... often by the nasty way the world works... and if I can't help, if I feel I hurt instead, and I tend to think I am, I'll find myself feeling guiltier and winding myself up. I can wind myself up pretty good! I feel bad, because people hide things from me, thinking me too gentle and nice to deal with it, which I should prefer to the way some have used me as "Too sensitive, makes good punching bag!"
There's a middle ground right? That I can be there, and if needed, told "Hey, listen, you don't need this on you, so I'll think it out myself". I don't do well with too much noise or too much silence. And I know no gray areas, it's black or white with me.
Right now, I'm in the question and guilt stage of grief too... when I go for something, I sure can go all the way! Jeez! I feel guilty if I can't be sunny, or my "sweet" self, or if I can't wave a magic wand and make everything better. I was mad one day, because those who suffered only one really bad thing were moving on like it never happened, and I on the other hand, am stuck!
Plus, while sleep is lovely- "knits up the ravelled sleeve of care", mine is infested by nasty comments made to me. I figured if I dreamed it and it stuck, it's gotta be right, right?
"My God, you're ugly today", "Beth don't get angry... it's a sin and you're already on your way to hell", "You made things difficult for this family"... damn- there are times when I wish I had the propensity to tell people to "fuck off" as opposed to just taking it in, and wanting to make them feel better.
But worst of all? Feeling like I hurt and shoved people back. That they met with a brick wall with me and now hate me. That I make people uncomfortable and am the manipulative bitch I thought I was. Damn, I'm a mess... I pray to God, I still have friends when my illness which I cannot quite fix, as its' one of those hangover effects from a fight with my bacterial meningitis... because I keep pushing them back when I wish to ask "Can I lean? Can you just lead with humor, I'll go from there, please distract me".

Dear Dr. Leahy

Life is complicated. We can all agree on that!
There is an endless tendency to dribble forth with what you probably should NOT say. To anyone. Then there are those who pontificate on what not to say, as the PhD Robert Leahy did in "What NOT to Say When Someone is Depressed"
Dear Dr. Leahy, I am a poor lowly psych major. I mean this literally and figuratively. That said, I am not anywhere near the hallowed halls of "Doctors of Psychiatry."
BUT: even I know, because I have that nasty habit of accidentally getting myself in trouble when I comfort someone, that saying "It makes sense that you feel that way, given how you're looking at the situation" is a BIG NO-NO! Why not just tell me, "Honey, I care, but your sobbing is driving me nuts and I can't hear the game"? Or: "Well, you can just stop that right now."
Dear Dr. Leahy, have you ever dealt with depression, yourself? Or, did you just learn about it from books? Look, a depressed person has a habit of digging in very deep. They'll hear that as "You feel that way, but your outlook is wrong. Come now, stiff upper lip!" I am deeply worried that if someone ever said that to me, they would be very much in danger of failed testicular health. As in, taking a white orchid and turning it blue, as it were. I mean females too, it must take balls of iron to try that bit of advice!
Dear Dr. Leahy, I will conclude this and pray for forgiveness for wanting to lodge my size 7 narrow into your more sensitive parts.
I think you're an incompetent babboon. And it makes sense that I'd feel that way, given how I'm seeing things. Huh. You might be onto something.

Listen to the Mustn'ts

A young lady doesn't do this, you need to do that, You shouldn't complain, remember that what is hurting you is your own damn fault, blah blah blah...
And most of the time, I choose to take that and simply ignore it. Until it messes with my emotions, like it sadly has, lately. I've been a real boob... using every nasty filthy thing that's ever been told me about me, and coloring myself with it, becoming infuriated instead of politely ignoring idiots, and getting upset when people in pain lash out.
But it's time to listen to my own advice! And I sure seem not to be shy at all when meting it out!
"Physician, heal thyself"- a go to I use when someone should possibly apply their necessary advice, offered out of care for me, to themselves. I've said it for years!
"Et tu Brute?" is what I use at the end of certain speeches that I've heard before time and time again.
"Pride goeth before the fall"- little bit of advice I give me when I'm sick and being stubborn because I don't want to let someone take care of me.
Screw that, I'll listen to this instead!
I have had to listen to a lot of mustn'ts, can'ts, shoulds, and the like. "You won't survive to be 30."
"You can't do that, Beth, you're disabled"--- this teacher was offered a shocking, surprise shout of "FUCK YOU! YES I CAN!"
"Your place is to be a good girl- don't be angry, it's a sin, and only sluts open their mouths and actually complain." Ok, well, I'm not angry--- I'm going to simply do what's right- for ME.
I've beat the impossible stuff, I've had my tragedies. I've been hurt by, and hurt, people I cared about. But I can't let that control me. I've got to work on me, if I can ever help someone else.
Listen to Mustn'ts, child, listen to the Don'ts
Listen to the Shouldn'ts, the Impossibles, the Won'ts.
Listen to the Never Haves, then listen close to me
Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be _ Shel Silverstein

Friday, January 7, 2011

It Does Not Amount To a Hill of Beans

You know those delightfully awful days where, your friends manage, without realizing it, to occasionally make you feel a little dumb, or say things that instead of being taken as they usually are, instead, you become offended?
Sure, I've been having the "Yucky Days" for a while. The usual preceeding to the yearly knock-down drag out "SICK!" that happens in winter. Now, I'm sore, don't want anything not fluid, and I bruise if I sneeze! And the back pain... ugh. But so many are in pain, being hurt, hurting themselves! How dare I complain! I'm ALWAYS sick. I'm always grieving! How dare I even think that offering my cheer up messages will amount to a fucking hill of beans when good people are getting fucked over! My problems are so silly in comparison!
I want so much to bring back my usual goofiness and light, I try to force it. No, I can't do that. I made progress... I'm letting myself be dragged into the dark, and fucking it up?!
Goddamn... I need to help me.
I can be there for others, sure. They still have to deal with themselves, as I have to, with me. I can't complain, I haven't let someone help me for years, it'd be silly! But I can be a help, I think. No, I gotta get it out, and then go find my place.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Quilting and Loose Threads

If life is a quilt- red for pain and black for violence, white for faith and purity, blue for peace, and gray for sadness, and all is supposed to be pieced into the design just as naturally as can be, then why are so many floating... hurting, crying, unable to allow themselves to lean for succor? Why do so many attack themselves?
Little loose threads... I know what it's like to be one... I feel sometimes, that I feel disconnected from the (extremely red and black and gray quilt, with it's bits of blues and whites) one my family, my blood creates. I can occasionally attempt piecing a lighter quilt, my own "family" but I know I'm always being torn to shreds when I see the red and black and gray creeping in and ripping others apart.
Dear Little Loose Threads,
I'm here. If you need to be angry, I will not judge. Silence is not a good thing sometimes, it is in silence that we allow ourselves to tear ourselves, in silence, we cause pain to ourselves. The darkness, can be lovely, but only as a counter to that which is falsely, sterile-y bright. You are worth love, acceptance, you are not terrible because you had a moment of imperfection. You are not bad because sometimes, you just don't fit.
Dear Little Loose threads, we have a place, somewhere.
Isolato! Do you think yourself a string too short to save? Do you think you are lank and straight, with no connection
fore or aft? Fear not your insignifigance. Nature has a drawer for you. Yes, Nature garners up all the string too short
to save, and mice visit the drawer. Here's nesting material! Yes, you WILL be interwoven, be it now or later. From: Ahab's Wife
or, The Stargazer by Sena Jeter-Nastlund
And this, is where I end the only way I know how to quilt!

Happily Running Amok

I had a big puzzle set before me. One piece offered me a "Eureka!" moment. I cannot allow myself to just be hurt because I see sadness around me. I can do something about it, when I am able. I can be "there" when I am not, but on occasion, must protect myself from flying blood and guts. "Renewed shall be blade that was broken"... I am a fighter, I've seen tragedy unfold a million times. One could say my being alive, and being "reasonably healthy" (although at present, due to natural illness and my own bloody stupidity 12 days ago, this is a very relative term!)
I cannot always help others. I can always be there, in some way. I am not perfect, and I cannot expect myself to be. I am unable to supersede my own humanity. If not capable of perfection, I am capable of progression.
I cannot allow the nasty things said to me, by people who chose to take frustration out on the "Sensitive quiet one" to color my opinion of myself. If I let them hurt me, this is my fault.
I must learn to, when I finally trust, to allow myself to get it all out when they offer an opportunity to do so. I've seen so much written that no one can have a lot of crazy things happen like they have, that some people just have victim mentalities. I chose to translate that as "They're right. No one will believe you." This was wrong, and I have held back a lot. I've said a lot, but I've held back, lied by omission, or told a half truth a million times, not emphasizing WHY something was done, but attempting to breezily change the subject.
I am feeling peaceful, in a way, although still sad... I haven't got the words, or the ability to organize them to say to those and I know many right now, who see themselves as bad, and yet, show grace and gentleness and humor, to people when they most need it.
There is not one person I write about... unless you count that I might make a composite out of people... and write this character.
But, it's the wee morning hours. It's dark and peaceful, and while I'm up and running amok- I felt sick enough today that I knew I had to rest or risk that I'd break my 5 year record of no seizures- turned into, yes, I'm being quiet, I am tired, I will rest my eyes for a moment... fade to black and snapping awake at 11:30PM saying "Oh, Shit!"
Hey... good news: I HAVE NOT HAD A SEIZURE FOR FIVE YEARS NOW! (the anniversary is June, really, but I'm choosing to celebrate that I can keep myself from doing so with low doses of meds and "rest when you need it". ---- so while I run amok, the rest of you, have a good sleep.
Look around you, friends
look inside of you
say peace, my brother
peace, my sister
Peace, my Soul.
If you stuck with me through this rambling, thanks.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Raspberry Tossed Salad and Huck Finn

I am occasionally, accidentally saying something filthy. I occasionally misread or misuse phrases that are most inappropriate!
*Living Without Magazine, a favorite and one the GF community can prize, just put out a new recipe. "Raspberry tossed salad". I am not even tempted, this time, because my brain processed these words as---well, something really filthy! It reminds me of when I was 20, with a boyfriend who told me to ask for whatever I liked. Not knowing the phrase was not about a conversation with an um, cunning linguist, innocent me says "Will you please toss my salad" rather than asking for what I thought I was asking for. I jumped off the bed and asked "What the hell?!" when he obliged! He was laughing at me when he had to explain just what I'd really asked! And raspberry... well, you and I all know, that can work as a synonym for the anus, as well as a noise made by Archie Bunker that has a flatulent tone to it.
*I know of a church that advertises AA meetings. Directly beside that is a sign that reads "Drink deep from the well of life" Um, isn't that WHY the AA meetings are held? People drank too deep! And fell in.

*They are editing Huck Finn. This is a bloody disgrace. You can pull anything not politically correct out of any book. The Bible would not exist if they tried that.
"So the 19th century author talks of an escaped slave known as Jim". "Yeah, but there's this other word next to his name". "Yeah, that, can't have that!" Look, I hate the "N" word. I will not use it. But editing Mark Fucking Twain? Are you fucking kidding me?! What about in Tom Sawyer, when Tom irritates his aunt, and she "ejaculated" (or spluttered in anger)? What of the middle school kids who will giggle because we don't use "ejaculate" in that sense anymore?! Mark Twain thrived on flipping what was "correct" on its' head. He wrote of his times as HE knew them! Back then, you could BUY humans. Women did not vote. Men were men, blah blah blah! To edit Mark Twain is to kill his works. The classics die when they who hold the blue pencil or red pen, are allowed to run willy-nilly!
No, New South, you are "not rendering Huck and Tom colorblind" "race matters", etc... but you are removing words from the author's mouth to please politically correct purists who cannot read a few racial phrases without succumbing to the vapors! How about removing "She had the fits"- might piss off epileptics! "She's crazy", oh noes, what of mental patients?! Sit on it and spin, you politically correct, namby pamby, panty-waisted, lily-livered, fiends. Protecting your sensitive lil' old eyes from a bad word lest you just die is not worth killing a classic.
"We are not rendering Huck and Tom color-blind" just impotent

Dream Land and My Friend, Sigmund

When I was on a medication that allowed for a heavy, dreamless sleep, due to bizarre night terrors after my divorce proceedings began, (The same general ones that gave me a tendency to dislike being in pitch black environments) it was lovely to have that, although I'd feel guilty that even while sick, I'd sleep so heavily and end up being awake from 9PM to about 1PM the next day, with a cycle repeating, while I felt like a heavy-limbed zombie and was not capable of really communicating with friends. Or anyone. Obviously, "Lessen the shock of the pain and the crazy mess Beth has to clean up" didn't quite do that for me.
I was reading on dreams- trying to figure out mine, which have been coloring my waking state lately.
I found out I'm not the only one who can tend to lay, semi-awake and pinned down. For good reason, I suppose, I was pinned, by my own body! Because, in REM sleep, your body releases a chemical to paralyze you, so you can't act out your dreams. (Sleep walkers, etc, have an issue where this doesn't quite happen). I was waking up while still naturally paralyzed! They say this is perhaps the basis of "visiting with an incubi or a succubi", something I did a short blog about about a month ago.
I am an extremely imaginative person, I think--- not only am I someone who tends to dream in livid color, and mix what I know with bad horror movies (The B-grade, or lower ones, my brother and his friends like), with other references. I remember many where I walked in this jazz-filled netherworld, of neither wall, ceiling or floor, with neon signs bearing nasty things people had told me about me. Homer Simpson did something like this- with the neon signs bearing messages of dismay. I managed to take a lot of those messages to heart.
The one where a little mouse named Sigmund joins me and sings and analyzes me in a Czech accent are weird, but I can kind of live with those. I might even do something with little Sigmund. Apparently, he's a mix of my Czech pediatrician "Oh, Bait-a-knee! We make you big and strong, yes? Of course, yes!" and Sigmund Freud. Only I would have a little mouse in my dreams that is pretty much a little psychiatrist. And yes, he does say "Tell me about your mother" or "Tunnels. Hmmm, I know what you're thinking about, bad girl!" He occasionally sits and clucks his tongue sympathetically while eating popcorn off to the side during nightmares. Freak. Those, weird me out more!
So, now you've been in my brain. Are you scared?
Ps. interesting tidit: If a person becomes blind after birth, they are able to see images in their dreams.
As I lost hearing due to illness at 18 months, and again at 24 months... (Fevers are bad, I tell ya)... I wonder if that's why generally, the sound does tend to be extremely muted. It's like watching with a TV at 8, you can hear if you get close and lean in. A lot of my dreams flash words at me to communicate.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

...Renewed Shall Be Blade That Was Broken

Two friends conspired, without realizing it, at different times, to make me laugh and to remember that I have survived so much, and can do so again. While chaos swirls around me, I smile and remember that.
Because I adore Tolkien, (Yet again, GEEK ALERT!) this made me grin very wide, and to nod my head and say, "Yes, that's IT!"
Thanks, Melanie: "All that is gold does not glitter,Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,The crownless again shall be king."

And, remember, and this still makes me chuckle: "Not all that glitters is fabulous"- some gold, some prettiness, is sadly, fool's gold... shiny and worthless.
But, I renewed my resolution, one I've been using, as a guidepost, for many years: I can only improve me, and I need to allow myself my mistakes, this is how I'll grow. If I have been broken, then I know I can depend on me, and depend on a few others, to bear up. Sure, I've been in the shadows...sure, I've been fighting, and some battles have sadly, been lost. But I still have fight and fire. And I haven't been yelled at for being stubborn for nothing!
I am sad NOW. I won't ALWAYS be.
I am not going to feel shame unless I hurt myself, or another. Easier said than done, though. But this is why I choose to make my promises long term... I don't break them, I choose to ensure that I leave room for error... human errors.

I am strong... I know what I'm doing. Sure, I can't predict my future, and I know that struggling is what I know best.
I will lean on those who give me strength. I will let those who deserve to lean on me. I will learn to understand, and to not shed a tear when I need to walk away from those who have hurt me. If someone hurts me, however unintentionally, I will say so. If I feel shoved, I will say that.
One friend is fond of saying, "Those who matter don't mind, those who mind, don't matter". Simplistic, perhaps, but I'll run with it.
I have to understand, I cannot force myself to fit in every mold made for me. I will change, we all will, but I cannot change for someone else. I will never not be a little old-fashioned, girly, a blushing nut case, mildly perverted, silly person. I probably will always be affected by the world around me... at times this really isn't always a bad thing.
I will not wind myself up so tight I can't heal for a long time.
This, is my promise. To me. 

Of Patron Saints, and Impossible Cases and Causes

The lovely and funny Erma Bombeck, who in between "rants" on sex and Barbie dolls (A short she did on Sex Education in Kindergarten, when apparently informed her five year old just wasn't getting it", often shocks with a bitter sweet and wise look at childhood, etc.
I liked "This generation, is the wisest group of grown ups who ever sat in a play pen." As in, they become too grown up, seemingly while in Pampers.
She is said to have written this, and I liked it when I had it emailed to me almost 5 years ago. (God, I feel ancient!) I do however think that the only patron saints that can handle me, would be Jude (Patron Saint of Desperate or Impossible Causes) or Saint Gerard! Because he CAN handle profanity! And I am just darned impossible!
Did you ever wonder how the mothers of premature babies are chosen? 
Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth, selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. 

As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger. 

"Beth Armstrong, son. Patron Saint, Matthew. 

Marjorie Forrest, daughter.Patron Saint, Celia. 

Carrie Rutledge, twins. Patron Saint ... give her Gerard. He's used to profanity. 

"Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles. "Give her a preemie. 

"The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy." 

"Exactly," smiles God. 

"Could I give a premature baby a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel." 

"But does she have the patience?" asks the angel. 

"I don't want her to have too much patience, or she'll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she'll handle it. 

I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. 

You see, the child I'm going to give her has a world of its own. 

She has to make it live in her world, and that's not going to be easy." 

"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you." 

God smiles. "No matter, I can fix that. 
This one is perfect.She has just the right amount of selfishness. 

"The angel gasps, "Selfishness?! Is that a virtue?" 

God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. 
Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. 

She doesn't know it yet, but she is to be envied. 

She will never take for granted a spoken word. 

She will never consider a step ordinary. 

When her child says 'mama' for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. 

I will permit her to see clearly the things I see ignorance, cruelty, prejudice and allow her to rise above them. 

She will never be alone. 

I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side." 

"And what about her Patron Saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in the air. 

God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."

Monday, January 3, 2011

I Speak Dutch Better Than Italian

Sometimes, I can't quite get the words out. I still make mistakes in English, written and spoken, that occasionally get less than polite chuckles. I've said a few times, "I speak Dutch better than I do Italian"... that is, I know better how to deal as a high-functioning disabled person, and don't quite fit in the "normal" world.
I was 34.5 weeker... preemie. My parents' lives were full of speech, physical, and occupational therapists, and doctors galore, from an ENT for my ears and later, my extremely swollen tonsils, (And I suppose, lawyers, thieves and Indian chiefs). I, and they, know the warped world of thinking, when pregnant, that you'll have a bouncing baby, etc... and ending up on a whole 'nother planet.
 My first live infant (Yes, I mean that, I had 3 miscarriages before Lorelei) was born at 33 weeks in May '06. Sure, it was a fight, lunacy and I hated my ex and his family even then... but, I fell in love with my sweet angel instantly. There is, I suppose, a sort of romance only babies can give. I cried watching her struggle, when we fought bacterial meningitis together... every year after, come winter, I get a sort of relapse... not the disease, but I find myself struck down. I remember heaters, and bad advice, tubes, medicines, an apnea monitor that would go off if she so much as sneezed. I learned to tape a diaper around wires! I remember panicky phone calls. Lordy me... I laugh at my "Oh, God... it's... it's down to her feet!" call at 3AM!
My sister had an Almost 10 pound Bouncer, and had no idea really, so she said, of how it was with me. A few ladies sent me this, and another on Patron Saints, which I'll go in search of. This is how I explain myself or  why I am not used to "normal" parents or infants: "I'm sorry, I can't hear you. Please speak up. Yes, I picked that up... I am sorry I didn't understand you, I speak Dutch better than I do Italian."
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.- Emily Pearl Kingsley
Goodnight, and God bless :)