I blog gluten-free

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Year Of Living Biblically: A Review

Every month or so I go on a quest. It involves a large cup of strong coffee, and time to wander. Hence, I like to do it on a lazy Saturday. (For me, lazy can be an absolutely relevant term, but bear with me, and assume I know what "relaxation" is.)

Last July, my dear friend, Kristi, who is a bookworm like me and has absolutely marvelous tastes in literature- that is, all across the board, no pinning down categories, just like we like our music- recommended
The Year Of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs. I read some reviews and excerpts, then life promptly got ahead of me and I focused on visiting Grandma, watching her, and on her funeral and the aftermath. And on moving. Now, months later, I grabbed a copy while out on a book-store/trip to the playground (I wax sentimental on bookstores, although lately ours seems to be getting smaller and smaller to me.)

I decided to review it. Which means I read it for pure pleasure first, then, as I tend to speed-read- as slowly as possible as often as I needed to.

The Year of Living Biblically,ISBN: 978-0-7-432-9148-4
Author: A.J. Jacobs
©  2008, Simon and Schuster.

The basic subject matter is the Bible, and a search for enlightenment, while the author attempts to live the Bible as literally as possible, and learn as much about faith as he can.
As a feature, numerous photographs mark milestones, important situations and personal victories.

A.J. Jacobs' goal in writing what on its' face is a very simple book ("Oh, it's religion, right?") is that while he was raised in a rather secular manner and is very much a modern New York City dweller (Mr. Jacobs writes for Esquire magazine), he was interested in faith in this increasingly faithless world. Deceptively simple premise, deceptively simple motive.

Mr. Jacobs writes about his journey in the world, combining a rather radical experiment, during which he meets amusing obstacles, herds sheep, meets numerous eccentrics and compiles an unlikely group of advisors from all walks of life.
He also uses graceful humor, and is very self aware that he might seem like a kook to others, and goes ahead anyway.

In many ways, The Year Of Living Biblically is another step on a knowledge-seeker's road. Mr. Jacobs' last novel, The Know-It-All, was full of  facts he picked up reading the Encyclopedia, cover to cover. Mr. Jacobs seeks first to teach himself, to grow, and then, to impart his sage wisdom, complete with a wild sense of humor, which can reach self-depreciating at times- when learning to play a ceremonial trumpet, he describes the sound issued as "Still sounds like a fax machine, but a healthy one, this time." when he improves his technique.
At the beginning, A.J. Jacobs is an agnostic, but apparently of the X-Files type- he wants to know, and deep-down, to believe in- something.
Through it all, while he attempts to experience the lives of those that grace the ancient cracking pages of the Bible, he achieves milestones, sadnesses, frights, smiles, and odd looks, especially as he begins the perfect beard for Orthodox Jewish tradition.
And his zest for life and knowledge are never quenched.

Now that I've finished in the speed-reading portion- I grew used to absorbing books at a break-neck pace as a child- I intend to fully absorb.
The Year of Living Biblically made me laugh, made me groan, made me wonder. Most of all, it offered a helpful light.
Don't worry about the religion... keep the faith.

Highlights include:
The most hilarious depictions of attempting to live as those that lived in ancient times
Visiting the church of the Jerry Falwell
Meeting with one of the last 7,000 members of the Samaritans, who in 1914 had dwindled to only a little over a 1,000.
Uncle Gil- a can't miss look at a former cult leader
Visiting Jerusalem, where it all began
Mr. Jacobs' changing viewpoints, living, at the same time, the wide-eyed seeker and the hardened modern man, without any false notes (except those of his ceremonial trumpet.)
And more. Kristi was right and I owe a huge thank you.
Time elapsed: about a day and a half.

To view more, and see the author's take on this, visit:
A.J. Jacobs- Website
The blurb on the back of the book is absolutely correct: Thou shalt not put it down... you'll be driven crazy to find out what happens next.
12 months. 8 spent focusing on the Old Testament, from Genesis to Micah, and 4 spent on the New. And laughter at every turn.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Cola Wars

Oh, those pesky Cola-Wars.

Apparently Pepsi-Cola has developed a relationship with Senomyx. Senomyx does stem-cell research. Notably, testing and production of new artificial flavors.
Okee dokee.
Ah, but stem-cells, what does that bring to mind? Christopher Reeve? Vincent Price in a white lab coat laughing with sardonic glee over precious cells from a murdered patient? Yeah, that. Right there.
A google search into info on the subject brought me nothing from actual news sources. Not even Fox, which I shudder to refer to as a news source. But numerous right wingers... (I am mostly anti-abortion myself, allowing for rape, particularly if Mom has a disability (Down's Syndrome, notably- but she must be allowed to choose within the best of her abilities,) or severe illness of mother. Also, it is not the person I'd go after... if I disagree with an issue, I still would rather take into account the distress and fear many abortees go through.)
But... let's see:
1)Scare tactics. (AGAIN?!)
2)Guilt factors
3)OMG! BOYCOTT! (Get the facts, THEN make a decision)
4) ????
5)Profit! (Profit BEING- hmmm... scaring the living shit out of people with nothing to back it!

So, if I read it straight, kidney cells can create artificial flavors? Who is the researcher, Hannibal Lecter? "I ate his kidney with a nice cold Pepsi"? (It loses terribly... even Anthony Hopkins' accent could not class that one up.)
Pardon. The kidney cells apparently create new taste receptors. I beg pardon? So even if I have a glass of Tropicana... yeah... where is actual coverage? CNN? MSNC? Is this a new game by right wingers? Back in the 90's it was AT&T, SC Johnson Wax, Disney... that I recall. "Boycott this!" Nowhere in the Bible do I recall:
A) Christ having a cold one and then exclaiming "I doth taste the blood of the innocent"
B)Holding up picket signs in front of soda plants "Verily, I sayeth, Do not Drink Blood of Innocents"
Indeed, 9/10 of the time, the only anti-abortion sentiment would precede Christ, in Jeremiah. I know you, I always have, therefore you are and have always been human. And then, yes, in Hosea, on causing miscarriages purposefully. "Blood for blood."
If true, Pepsi is behaving abominably. If not, right wingers found another way to cause fear.
There is enough fear mongering. The way to love thy neighbor, the way to helping, is not to cause fear and anguish. It is moments like this where I slam my head against the wall, or face-palm til I bruise.
Google search results: WHERE ARE NEWS ORGANIZATIONS? Google results Pepsi Cola Stem Cell Research
Ps. Big corporations always do things we don't like. If we boycott everything because of their acts, we would have: No telecommunications. No foods, cleaning supplies, clothing, etc... face it, no matter what, something we need is based on the grace of a big faceless corporation somewhere.
There but for the grace of God go I... and more answers are needed.
Two wrongs don't make rights either... meaning: No matter who is pulling scare tactics, rather than facts, is no better than the person they are attacking.

Forbes, Pro-Ana, and the Girl Scouts

A small news round up:

People are idiots. What else is new? A recent Forbes article tried to link gluten free diets and anorexia, possibly due to a few on a "pro-ana" site singing the virtues of it in a typical ill-informed way.
"We didn't mean to exclude anyone with actual issues"... sure, but excuse me, Madam Reporter, um... how can it be helped- people might get offended if you don't take into account numerous conditions, not just that 25% of the population (Your numbers, might want to do a re-check!) have issues that make them sick from gluten. That the pro-ana twits need not only help but a good swift kick in the butt using it to further their insanity. But I think Living In My Lab took this one on best.
Dear Ms. Casserly: The issue is not the diet. It's those who use it to further their own ends. We call those opportunists. As for you, I think we call it: "Not researching well, and using alarmist tactics." Shame on you!
But, to give the benefit of the doubt, I'll link both, do with as you will. I know that even though I don't eat "real food" and live on "next to nothing", I'm far healthier than I used to be. "Real Food" and "Something" are not good to many people.
Oh, and 1/4 or 25%? That's a pretty good sized chunk of the population.
Forbes Article -What We're Not Eating... (Ps, who is "WE"?) I am of the opinion that she should be sent a buffet of the best GF baked goods, etc and a card delivered after the chow down "Hope you enjoyed. PS. That was 'Next to Nothing'." The comments, especially when it's stated "I didn't mean to take away from those who really are sick". Well, using a pro-ana group and a few cheerleaders, etc as a source---I am mortified. PICK YOUR SOURCES BETTER, ALSO CHECK FOR DISSENTING OPINIONS. Someone may disagree but yet wish to educate, out of care for you, and not wanting you to look like a heartless "Anything for a good story" journalist.
And for "I Live In My Lab" 's take: Open Letter To Megan Casserly
Ps...that 25% of those with internal issues can number to 3 million Americans alone. That's not insignificant.
Even the Girl Scouts are seeing people asking about GF cookies (I could go for a Thin Mint, I miss the buggers.)
Girl Scouts- Encourage to Sell Allergen Free Cookie (In this case, they're meaning the big 8--- deleting wheat, soy, dairy, etc.)
The synopsis:

Nationwide, for 2009, the most recent year studied by the Center for Disease Control, the estimate for children with food allergies was 5%.  For adults, the number is 4% in America according to the Food Allergen and Anaphylaxis Network.  In 2010, the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated the number could be as high as 10%.
Based on these statistics, then approximately 132,000 members of the approximately 3,300,000 Girls Scouts are selling cookies that they may not be able to eat.  Additionally, the Girls Scouts are leaving out up to 10% of the American marketplace who cannot buy their cookies.
The Girl Scouts license their cookies to two companies: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers.  Both companies have been contacted by myself and others inquiring about them producing an allergen free cookie and I have been advised that there isn’t enough of a market to support such a product.  ABC Bakers even states on their website that there isn’t enough of a demand for a cookie that is free from either sugar or gluten.  However, what these two bakers and the Girl Scouts have never tried is to market just one cookie that is free from the top eight food allergens.
Hey, they're perking up their ears. Might as well offer some beautiful music. "Yes, we're willing to shell out too, support the kids... Yes, we want to enjoy the cookies, expensive as they are, too."
Remember that the smallest fractions can be significant. I'll remember that there are sadnesses and pain in this world, but pray to God, that, is really only a small fraction and that the signifigance is in the majority of the kind and educated. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Eating Your Cake And Having It Too

Somedays, I read nutritional news with a sense of wonder.
Today I found out there was a break-through of sorts, for people with gluten intolerance, which is as different (though still extremely limiting) from celiac disease as lactose intolerance is from milk allergies.

Definitions:
Lactose intolerance:
The liver is missing an enzyme, lactase, which enables a human to digest lactose from bovine milk, which is not natural for humans to partake.

Milk allergy:
The subject is allergic to proteins in the milk, such as casein. (However, one part of casein is hypoallergenic, and is used in specialized infant formulas such as Alimentum and Nutramigen. This is casein hydrosalate.)

Gluten intolerance:
Similar to celiac disease, referred to as NCGS- Non-Celiac-Gluten-Sensitivity- the body lacks the capability to digest gluten. However, endoscopies and blood tests return as negative (Not abnormal, false negatives are common. I had to actually go back to gluten temporarily to get a positive result.)

Wheat Allergy:
The body reacts to wheat and proteins in it as if it is a virus. The antibodies attack and the body goes hay-wire.

Celiac Disease: See Celiac Disease Questions and Answers on "They Call Us Mom" for Details. I can also list quite a few books on the subject, many listed within the previous link.

Onto medical break-throughs:
Those with non-celiac gluten issues may have hope in a new enzyme, from a fungus in Aspergillus niger, which would help break down gluten before it reaches the stomach. A great hope, not for celiacs who are to abstain totally from glutens. But for the many affected with gluten-intolerance from other issues.
On what it would be called, I have no idea, as Glut-Aid (to follow the example of Lactaid) sounds like a buttock firming product. But I am sure a focus group will work on that. For more details, visit:
Updated Link: Eating your cake and having it too
It is not a get-out- of jail free card, and is currently still being tested.

Coffee, the Good, the Bad, and the Odd

Note: Yes, yes, the mug is permanently attached to my hand. Or it just seems that way.

Coffee is that mystical dark brew, that can snap you awake, make you jittery, or be something warm that might possibly keep you centered in a tough situation. We alternatively crave and loathe it. Coffee has its' good side, and the bad, then there's the incomprehensible.

History: (Abridged)Many years ago,  (1100 BC) Ethiopian goat herds watched, bemused, as their little goats frollicked happily, dancing about, and probably sitting around mehhing about how Candy's ram had run off with that new hussy, (Oh, those Nubians think they've got it all! As if! Kidding, we females do not actually act out Sex and the City. At least not the chicks I know and adore!)
They saw that the happy goats had gotten their little hooves on coffee berries.
"Hmmm... interesting." They ate them, and later found adding them to heated water made a beautiful black liquid,  kept them awake- and that they could now drink the coffee berries.  And voila! There was coffee. And it was good.

The Good: 
-Keeps you awake
-Wakes you up
-Relaxes you (or feels like it does) in high-stress situations
-There is evidence coffee can curb a headache (Anecdotal evidence: Survey Says: DING! True.)
-Coffee drinkers are 80% less likely to develop Parkinson's Disease.
-May reduce colon cancer by about 25%
-Coffee indeed DOES contain antioxidants, if not as many as a cup of tea.

The Bad:-The capability to keep you awake can be a bad thing, if it works at the wrong time
-Ai dios mio! The withdrawal!
-Can cause or exacerbate IBS symptoms
-Links to osteoporosis in the long run
-Higher heart rate
-Some concentration issues for some (At the same time, I've seen kids with ADD do well on black coffee. Stimulants can actually aid in concentration, rather slippery slope here.)
-The fact that caffeine is a drug, and it is rather easy to become dependent on it.

The Odd: I just read, flipping through, that 3+ cups of coffee/day can reduce breast size. The reporter apparently preferred the IBTC, and so, did not report it as "OMG, HORRIFIC!"
Credit: Ambro (Thank you!)
The Local -Sweden's News in English- Swedish Study, Coffee& Breast Size (Not original source, actually that was "Male writers waxing philosophical on women, never hurts to double check!)


Well, enjoy or not, I would also join for tea :) Love you no matter what you are. Some will be confused, but many more will be delighted.
Salut!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunrise In The Land Of Milk And Honey

For those who had their salad days in the 90's, Cracker seems to be a big favorite.
I've loved them myself, having been exposed via G- I remember when Kerosene Hat was the big song!

Sunrise in the Land of Milk & Honey is really a great album- and bringing in Adam Duritz (Counting Crows, another band I adore) to sing, especially on Darling One...
It's so easy to tell people who spend most of their time taking care of everyone else, "Rest your worries, darlin'." Sure, they never can, but they appreciate it!

Cracker is great in the studio apparently... I've seen them drunk off their arses at a few shows, like the one G and I went to...the opening band, Starling, an indie band out of Canada, were actually better that night. A shame I can never find their songs- but I got a demo disc- so I'm not too upset. (I recently digitized it, so that it gets preserved.) But I had heard recordings, and liked them very much from there.

But not so good in person... here's a video---not a lot of clarity, but I found a clear version with help from Mr. Duritz searching high and low. Still, the Cracker concert at a bar that caught fire not long after (insurance, apparently.) is a cherished memory for G and I.



I hear a voice that fights the wind
The rain that keeps fallin'
And I feel a river rushin' in
Between you and me

You keep lookin'
For somethin' that's not lost
I wish that somehow
I could get you across



Link to the song, via what is apparently the Cracker Channel, and I have found what seems to be the only video- where they try, but somehow clarity is lost. Enjoy the heart and gentleness.
Darling One

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Recalculating...

Oh my God---so cute, my head is exploding...
So Harold Camping's "End is Nigh" prediction went to nothing... I can almost hear a GPS a husky, disembodied feminine version of HAL from 2001: a Space Odyssey "Recalculating! Turn right. Right! Recalculating..."
So, yesterday was: a day when bugger-all happened, and another religious wacko must either say "Uh, I was wrong..." (Wait, never mind!) or "Uh, we need to recalculate." and there were about 9,000 or more "Look! Empty clothes and people acting like they're scared!" photos.

Here is Sir Oscar Meyer, who fights for truth, justice and cuteness with a relish, getting ready for the apocalypse. And I will quit it now with the "Daschund is too cute" stuff.

In other Not Much Happened News:
One night, many years ago, a group of people sold all, and went to wait for the rapture. When it never came, they came slinking back, tails between legs. We now call their group the Seventh Day Adventists. Who await that one glad Saturday (Seventh day). I apologize, when I asked "Didn't Mary Baker-Eddy try this?" I had accidentally thrown one of the founders of Christian Science, known for praying out the evils of illness, which is apparently a way of saying "You need more faith"- as opposed to medications and medical help, which has proven dangerous, and sites exist of CS followers who hurt themselves and innocent children rather than helping.
To link the Adventists and Christian Scientists is wrong indeed.
But, on the subject of religious wackos, Eddy is a favorite. Preach it sister--- oh wait, your kidney is acting up and you're addicted to morphine? Wait a minute! What do we call that? Yeah, my tendency is to watch with sad eyes and shaking head when those that preach do not also practice.
As for Harold Camping, ay yi yi... give it a rest!

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Farewell To Arms

Dear me, people are getting dumber.

I went a searching for some new books- prices, etc, shop & compare-  I have books to replace! And was absolutely stunned.

An Etsy seller, whom I shall give the moniker, "New England In Photos"*, is selling "handmade greeting cards"...she scrawls messages across old book pages. The book of choice? Anne Frank: Diary of A Young Girl.
On what looked like the very last entry, when I magnified it, was scrawled: "And they all lived happily ever after."
Don't get me wrong- I have one hell of a warped sense of humor. Recently, I informed a really guillable person that Lizzy Borden invented clotted cream. They almost didn't catch that I was being sarcastic to prove a point.
But... really? And on a vintage 1952 edition, that could have been preserved, you write that? And then sell it as a wedding congratulation?!
What next? I know if I were an amputee, I'd be delighted if my get well soon card were scrawled in the front cover of "A Farewell to Arms"- don't deface books, Christ! If they're falling apart, find a way to preserve them, geez! But really... the only way you could possibly sink lower in defacing a diary page would be to write it in German.
NEIP--- you're a schmuck.
I'll explain this, in little words if I can:
Anne Frank and her family were arrested by the gestapo in 1944.
Her mother starved trying to save food for her daughters. While separated from them.
She died just days before the camps were closed and the "Great Plan" was put to an end. Her father was the ONLY one who SURVIVED. The book that was defaced (Yes, DEFACED) was published posthumously. While I have a new, unsanitized version, which is quite an eye-opener, actually, I would not deface it.

But, while we're at it:
Wouldn't a page from Rosemary's Baby be lovely for a Christening?
Mein Kampf for a bar mitzvah?
You already pushed the boundaries of twisted humor and grace, why not go further?

Iron Stilletos

The basic inspiration was the stress I see around me, and a rather old film-noir where a pair of possessed ballet slippers cause a ballerina to dance herself to death. Somehow, I combined that and the tales of the iron torture devices where a person was placed inside, and a fire built under them, to slowly cook them as they screamed. 

Remember you
The world spins without you, it's true
Do your feet hurt from the ill-fitting heels
Of iron heated to glow like the light from a thousand suns?
You took them on, torturous shoes
And now walk, stunned

The shoes are not yours
They can only pinch
And scar your feet, whilst you can only flinch

Tap Tap Tap
You walk, wincing all the way
Haven't you had enough
Of walking a tight-rope over hot coals
With a sadist shaking, so that you occasionally fall?

Take off your iron stilletos
They weren't made, or shaped for you
Walk bare-foot and hold onto what you believe
Even as fire rains from the heavens
And the sun stands still in the sooty sky above

Don't take on what was not meant for you
Enjoy the good, look forward and not back
Take off your ill-fitting shoes
Never take "Walk a mile in my moccasins" literally
But try to understand others
you'll be understood soon enough.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Throwing a MacGuffin

Life is full of these complicated points that seem so important, and lead only to a dead end.
Movies are full of them as well: From the big, important necklace belonging to the matriarch of the house, that somehow ends up in the possession of the maid, or some gruff guy who usually would have nothing whatsoever to do with jewelry, to "Special Important Top Secret" papers in spy flicks. (Cue the pork pie hats and the big, stinky stogies, eh?)

We call these "Seemingly important details that end up being nothing whatsoever" by the title, "MacGuffins".
What is a MacGuffin? Let's ask the master of suspense, himself, Sir Alfred Hitchcock.
Two men are on a train. One says to the other, "What's that weirdly shaped package you have in the baggage rack?" The other says, "It's a MacGuffin." "What's a MacGuffin?!" says the first man. "It's a special device for capturing mountain lions in the Scottish highlands." "There are no mountain lions in the Scottish highlands!" "Then, that's no MacGuffin!" 
Basically, what motivates and directs us, perhaps to tragic ends, is many a time, not the important thing.
I will focus on the future, on continuing growth. The MacGuffins can sort themselves out.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Utterly Rapturous/ Pigs In Space

*sigh* I don't like doing "thumping" blogs, but here goes:

People: my Noah's Space Ship blog is a simple tweak of Noah's Ark that inspired a favorite crayon drawing. I call the tale Noah's Space Ship, Aka Pigs In Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace! I am amused that so many people got to it googling "Noah knew rapture".

Let us, get biblical for a moment:
For yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord shall so come, as a thief in the night. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 (Douay-Rheims)
 Ok, now let us get sarcastic (forgive me Lord, I am not blessed with infinite patience.)
Does a thief go to news outlets, blogs, the internet, to tell someone whose house they're casing "Hey, uh, we'll be coming at 9 on Thursday. Please leave a window open, let the dog out and can you leave out a plate of those great sandwiches you made last week?" Uh... no. Unless, as you see in the Smoking Gun quite regularly, they are dumber than the average crook. (Hey, Boo-Boo!)

For further enlightenment:
The Lord could come, feasibly, while I am taking a pee. It would be frankly rude for anyone to show up without telling me first, and to interrupt me like that, but it won't feel rude, it will feel just lovely.

Now, please enjoy Pigs In Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaace, while I smack my head against a brick wall a few times.

Attack of the Exploding Watermelons

On the evening of the 17th, one of my favorite evil bratty boys (there are a few, a very few, this is a special category.) linked up a story about exploding watermelons in China.
The synopsis:
  • Chinese farmers overuse growth chemicals on watermelons
  • Whammo! Blammo! Watermelon explodes. 
       *Crops are ruined.


A slightly more fleshed-out version?
It is late in the Chinese watermelon growth season. It is also wet, nasty weather. Rather do what is correct, farmers attempted to accelerate growth with hormones, that caused the fruit to burst. The affected fruit will be chopped up and fed to fish and pigs, among others. Be careful when you eat pork or fish dishes, I suppose!


Exploding Watermelons

Sweetheart & imp that this evil, bratty boy is, he chose to preface it with a comment:
They're literally exploding! Apparently Chinese farmers, who are already VERY liberal with pesticides as it is, are applying growth hormone to the watermelons while it's raining, and it's late in the season. This is causing them to literally explode. And just think: most of the shrimp you eat and the toys your kids play with comes from China. Now sleep better at night.

I told him: 
thanks so much to the friend with the exploding watermelon story. Not only will I NOT be going near watermelon any time soon, but I'm probably going to dream of anthropomorphic, super-villain watermelon creatures who show the scars of exploding and spread pesticides and growth hormones everywhere. Thanks,
so much, not like my dreams aren't bizarre already!

To further comfort me, he told me I was welcome in his way, and we then had banter, after I informed him that he's an evil man! We came to the conclusion that this is awful. We also discussed the great beauty that comes from being mischievous and impish. 

Scared as all hell... let's face it, it is true, 100%-  (That is, is 100% true THAT many products are Chinese in origin, not that all products are from China. But a majority.) many of our products are manufactured in China, where they do so much differently, and sometimes dangerously. But at least... we can still see humor in imagining a 1980's-style-cartoon (think Killer Tomatoes, oversized anthropomorphic tomatoes destroy whole cities) with scarred, exploded but semi-intact watermelons.

NPR and Benediction

I listen to NPR occasionally- sad that at present, some in politics wish to remove their funding.

Back in March, they introduced Thurston Moore's Benediction. Thurston Moore is known to many via Sonic Youth. Strong, sweet, full of soul and spirit.
I have been loving on the song ever since, and really really am glad it's catching up at the more "Mainstream" spots so everyone can enjoy it.

Simple pleasure strike like lightning scratches cross her name
Whisper I love you my darling life is just a flame



Yes, I am musically psychotic, loving music from across the board, and wide number of sources. It's available via free download from NPR, please enjoy!

And support National Public Radio. It has given us many gifts, don't let it be lost.
Thanks!



To download free, click here:
Free Download of Benediction From NPR

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tweaking Recipes

I've been hearing it a lot: "Gluten free food is icky! I tried rice noodles, oh, so awful!"
Herein lies the reason to TEST TEST TEST. I have celiac disease and perfectly functioning taste buds. Some foods are God-awful. What comes to mind here is the Ener-G brown rice loaf. But, frozen or kept at shelf-stable temperature, it doubles as a great way to ensure intruders leave quickly.

I will generally test any foods that come into my home: I have high standards, and I have a nephew with gluten-free needs too. At 7 he is quite picky, so of course, if it doesn't pass the tests, no matter if it's gluten-nut-egg and dairy free, if it doesn't taste good, I don't recommend it.
Currently I am hoping to find, or bake and test a GF challah, a traditional Jewish bread, known for a beautiful braided pattern.

Sure, I have to tweak recipes... I'm attempting to find a gluten-free challah or equivalent, may just use a new bread I just found made from corn and rice flours, that is actually light and fluffy. Thanks so much to http://www.schar.com/us/about-schaer/ who actively works to make things taste good, not be a utility food or a "substitute". "Food substitutes" are not food, and will not go in my kitchen. Period.
Therefore, if I'm writing a recipe, it is tested, and vetted by non-celiacs, who of course generally eat the foods I cannot, and have different things that their tastebuds are acclimated to. These are actually invaluable, and I don't think of them as "guinea pigs". Eating cookies with me, Mom has asked if they're really GF and worried I was going to get sick! I actually had to show her the ingredients involved. This is a good thing, indeed (Shut up Martha Stewart.)

The challah could be invaluable, see, I want to try this, a cinnamon and vanilla French toast, one of the coatings is a bit of brewed tea.
So that will be a test of the  Schär bread.


Bigelow Tea Vanilla and Cinnamon French Toast Recipe


Wish me luck, but if I can't find a GF challah, I know I have something just as good.
If you'd like to eat with me, we can work something up, and I love getting recipes to play with. 

Songs of Innocence

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
_
From Augeries of Innocence, by William Blake

William Blake is one of my favorite poets, whose poetry spans both sadness and grief and madness, and light. You have his Songs of Innocence, before pain, alcohol and what today might be called bipolar disorder, gave us his Songs of Experience- of sadness, of pain, of longing for what could have been, what was, and what will never be.

I actually like his poem about a beautiful rose, being slowly choked from the inside: it can be translated to be a veiled sexual allusion, of beauty being choked by something dark and evil... draw your own conclusions here:


O Rose, thou art sick!
The Invisible worm,
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed
Of Crimson joy;
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
(Since this tends to be found under titles like "The auto-eroticism of Blake", yes, you can bet he was referring to something rather sexual.)

Blake also gave us the idea for a Thomas Harris book, the prequel to Silence of the Lambs, with his Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed By The Sun works.

Tonight, I sing of innocence... lost, found...treasured. The worm is no more...I have grown in these past many years and will continue. I have breathed, and I am far better, including physically. I am ready to take on the world. Even though the sun is not shining, and the May air has a chill instead of blissful warmth. I will be warmth. I will be a blessing, a joy. A center.
There is joy braided into all my sadnesses. And I count each blessing. The sadnesses can teach me a lesson. And that I cannot help but consider a beautiful blessing.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lorelei-With-Eyes-of-the-Bluest-Sky

My beautiful, smart, curious girl...eyes always full of wonder, always needing to know exactly what's going on and how it works.

My little Lorelei- with eyes of the bluest sky... is five!
We went through 33 weeks sharing a body, some time after sharing numerous illnesses...and time where we curled up and rocked and "danced" cheek-to-cheek- or as the folks at HBO's Classical Baby called it, with their "tuxedoed" black sheep and his lady in the white fleece evening dress- "Sheep-To-Sheep".
We fought through the meningitis together, the spinal taps... it didn't hurt me nearly as much as it did when I had to be separated while they did yours---and your painful shrieks could be heard down the hall!
There's been pain in abundance, little girl.
And the joyful moments... reading in the sunlight, watching the deer and the little birds that seemed to sing just for you... your giggles, your curiosity.
Your look of concentration, in the swing, clutching your little jar of bubbles.
My beautiful, dainty, silly, seldom-smiling (when you do, it's like the sun burst from the clouds)- girl, Happy Birthday. I loved you even when you were about the size of a little tadpole. And I will love you always, no matter what. Mama loves you.
Baby girl, promise me... no matter how often someone says "You can't"... show that you can. Don't lose yourself- don't stop fighting- and know you're always in my heart, the first thing I think about in the morning, and the last thing at night.
At your first birthday party in 2007. You were so messy and so happy! :)
May 16th, 2006. The very first time I got to hold you. 

World Without End, Amen

Human relationships are crazy, crazy beasts. Disagreements and misunderstandings, things that were said when literally true that are not so anymore,and more, can trip us up more than we know.

There comes that time when you simply have to focus on the big picture- I never could see the forest for the trees, I'm constantly looking for details... "Attention to detail, attention to detail" was drilled into my head very well, and occasionally miss broader brush-strokes.

But, in life, when craziness strikes, we don't generally have the right part of the elephant.
(What?)
Here's what I mean, the classic "6 Blind Men & an Elephant" tale: (I really need to start remembering this and remembering to actually try to put the disparate pieces together)

Six blind men are asked to describe an elephant. They place their hands on him and report their findings:
one feels his leg- "It feels like a pillar". One feels his trunk. "It's like a rope". One feels his tummy. "it's like a wall!" One feels his back "It's like a throne"-the tusk, a lead pipe, the ear, a hand fan. Same elephant, but in not putting it together, they didn't know what they were feeling. Sometimes, in life, you never have the right part of the elephant. 
Life is crazy, mad, wild, beautiful, sad, happy...and more. We can get caught up- I have, and do...overthinking empath's curse, I suppose... but putting the pieces together, you end up with a beautiful, majestic, sometimes gentle, sometimes protectively aggressive creature.
Life will forever be crazy, and it is always a beautiful gift.
World without end, amen. Here endeth the sermon. 




Sunday, May 15, 2011

Edelweiß

Tomorrow, soon to be today, angel, marks another year in this troubled, often crazy, often topsy-turvy world.
I adore you- there is so much I could say, but to be able to say it all, would be next-to impossible.
So---easy, simple. Three little words: I love you. I have, since you were barely the size of a tadpole.
Tomorrow, I drink a toast to you.

Lorelei, liebchen: Ya ochen tebya lubloo
May you bloom and grow,
Bloom and grow...
My sweet Edelweiß.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Celestial Teapots

When you try to learn new things, particularly so you can attempt to see all sides of the issues at hands- (ATTEMPTS--- actually being able to do so was shown in a particular Calvin & Hobbes cartoon to actually be as confusing as the attempt... everything just ends up looking discombobulated and wrong!)

People can fight, daily, over what religion, if any, is right, or how to do it, or does God exist? Or, you can smile and remember everyone's entitled to what they choose to believe (Forcing it on someone is another ball of wax altogether.) So...learn from each other if you have various views, don't fight about it. But in the interest of peace-keeping, and because I love and believe the best humor is odd at its' best, self-depreciating at its' worst (If something bugs me, I will likely try to make a joke out of it, because seeing things too seriously would crush me.)
It also is great if it's subtle enough that a few people stare at you a little open-mouthed with that "I don't get it" expression-until VOILA! Realization strikes.

So, something that perhaps we all could agree on, or smile at, and isn't that lovely?
The Celestial Tea Pot Theory.
(Yes, I will poke fun at religion, I distance it from faith, which is what you are, how you apply what you believe.)

"The burden of proof in making scientifically unprovable and unfalsifiable claims, falls upon the "philosopher" (generally of the arm-chair variety, quite frankly)- "making such claims."
The logic: "You can't prove me wrong, ergo, I am right."
 Too pretty of a day-80 degrees and getting some sun on my legs- to really begin to philosophize: Do what you do. Live what you do. Be what you say, say what you are. Acknowledge your screw ups, and bless those who curse you.
Now get out there and enjoy yourselves.

This of course, does not match the basic theory, and no, I will not give up what I believe, although I'll learn more. But today, if not in this sense, but perhaps in the original (literal) one, I am ateapotist.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Noah's Spaceship

Getting a bit old and ragged- lost some resilience :( 
"Noah's Spaceship" was an off the cuff moment that inspired my favorite picture, one that is crumpled & aging but will forever be one I adore. I'm currently off in search of a good frame for it, but I like it on the fridge.
One day, trying to keep the calm, I sang and did motions on the Unicorn Song, done by the Irish Rovers and many more. And told the story of Noah. The song went over great, but... Angel-Baby wasn't having it.
So, keeping the details of Noah's ark intact, (mostly) I changed the planet to- I think it was Ork, you know, where Mork from Mork&Mindy hailed from, and the Ark became a Space Ark. This was brutally off the cuff, so it wasn't "Meteor showers for 40 days" (Keep It Simple, Keep It Simple.), but a simple regular watery flood. I found out fast: 3 year olds draw really awesome turtles, sheep and spaceships! I drew an alien, first, to show her what the ET Version of Noah might look like, and then she took over. This is a really awesome kid, and I can't believe she'll be 5 soon! Where ever does time go?
Love you sweetpea. Always. Fair weather or foul. Hold on tight.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Beef Stroganoff (The Grandmas are Magic, Edition 500)

There are times when I wonder: Do I eat red meat too much? It's beginning to become a "safe" food, go to a steak house, or order a small meat dish... and do my best to substitute for bread. (Applesauce, potatoes, fries and more have been substitutes. Be POLITE when doing any ordering... but particularly if you need some considerations and thus need to ask a few favors. Ordering off-menu should not be a battle-field.)

But: it does come in handy, and I like meat dishes, I just like mixing them up, so it's not the same old, same old. Because I'll get tired of it in a heart beat, as I did when starting on the gluten-free diet, and having to learn, after a gamut of tests (blood, endoscopy, etc...none of which I will detail here, as I'd rather you get hungry and start cooking!)
I have always loved beef stroganoff, and so, my recipe- tweaked a bit from the one Grandma used. And no, nothing tastes quite like it does coming from Grandma's hands- Grandmas are magic in many ways, you see!
Beef Stroganoff:
You will need
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tablespoon of canola oil-DON'T put it away just yet!
  • 8 oz of beef strips
  • 2 tablespoons each of all purpose flour (I like King Arthur & Bob's Red Mill), and salt and pepper, TO TASTE
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 1 lb of sliced fresh mushrooms
AND: A package of noodles. Wide is usually preferred (Tradition) I don't however often see Tinkyada making a traditional noodle, although they have a lasagna noodle I can use instead.


1) Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion. Cook until softened. Set aside.
2)Coat beef strips with flour
3)Heat remainder of oil in same pan
4)Cook beef strips on medium for 4 minutes
5)Drain fat from pan, put strips aside
6)Add onion & mushrooms and cook for one minute. Add in sour cream and beef strips, and cook an additional two minutes.
7)Cook noodles by package instructions. Generally, with gluten-free pastas,  it's a safe bet that this is about 15 minutes.
8)Toss beef and mushrooms, and noodles together.
And you're done!

An Ode to Spring


glitter-graphics.com

glitter-graphics.com

May has come alive- consequetive days of sweatshirt weather, and a riot of beautiful dandelions that haven't gone to seed and made me sneeze. There's been a riot of birds- from big crows bigger than both my hands (that seem to like walking on the roof) to little robin-red-breasts that scoot about on the ground, to a curious little wren with a pretty fawn coloring. (I always loved the tiny wrens... not flashy, very dainty and delicate, even when you see them pulling up worms from the ground.)
Seagulls have even been seen and I recently had a literal tweeting conversation with a little brown bird sitting in a birch tree. It whistled, I twittered back. (Blatant curiosity, I wanted to see what it'd do- it went on for about a minute.)
I'm considering a small potted plant for my "plot" as I do get good afternoon sunlight and would love to have another excuse to head out into healing sunlight. It's a guaranteed brighter, especially after all that rain!

The pool opens Memorial Day, hope it warms up even more--- the search for "Bathing suit that covers and avoids the annoyance of baggy, saggy bathing-suit butt" is on. We shall see. I will be stocking up on sunblock. Time to enjoy the bounty, spring is short and warm weather is a blessing.

Actually... let me count all my blessings. I have many, and I love them all. I got down, I got moody--- but thank heavens, I have what I have & wouldn't trade it for the world. Life gets difficult, but hell, I learn big lessons in difficulty. Granted, most are "That sucked. Don't do that again", but that is a great lesson, indeed!
I will be the Uncarved Block, I will let the simple joys teach me. There are things I cannot change, and I need to focus on what can.
Even in the black of night, there is beauty. And I love it. Why let things get me down, when hell, I have more blessings than I do sadnesses?

glitter-graphics.com

I love yellow ☼ ☺It's an automatic cheer-up, and it was about time. I was getting sick of dark moods.
Dandelions and bright green grass, far as the eye can see!

Thank You- There Is So Much To Say...

When I am sad, I know I can count on something simple and sweet to snap me out of a funk, whether it be a simple "I saw this and thought of you" to reminding myself of my favorite Tolkien quote:

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 (emphasis mine)
The crown-less again shall become king.

Every now and then I get caught up by too many gray areas, by the night suddenly falling on a beautiful day and turning chill.
Then, somehow, I know someone will surprise me... and show me that yes, humans do have good in them! All humans do, some actively choose to let the darker side take over them-therein lies our evildoers, who once faced a choice, and chose a dark road. (By "evildoers" I mean dictators, murderers, rapists, thieves, etc.)
I was blissfully surprised again tonight. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, Melanie. I am touched deeply. You too reminded me of the Tolkien quote, many and many a month ago.



I asked God to take away my habit,
God said, No..
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole,
God said, No..
His spirit is whole, His body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience,
God said, No..
Patience is a byproduct to tribulations;
it isn't granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness,
God said, No..
I give you blessings, Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain,
God said, No..
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares..
and brings you closer to me

I asked God to make my Spirit grow,
God said, No..
You must grow on your own!
But I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked God all things that I might enjoy life,
God said, No..
I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things

I asked God to help me LOVE  others, as much as he loves me..
God said...
Ah..finally you have the idea.

And herein lies the ideas. To love, to forgive... to forget. To allow tears to fall as they may, allow them to water the seeds. With all of the things I have seen, I have seen far more good. I cannot let myself walk the darker path.
Thank you, from the very bottom of my heart, Melanie. For years, I've seen you grow, and thrive, and become more beautiful in looks, in deed, in heart.
Thank you, you helped to snap me out of a funk I almost got into. My blessings are many, and I am grateful.



Monday, May 9, 2011

I See Trees of Green...

As the sun sets, and the warm cross-breeze slowly chills, there is still beauty to be found... in bright yellow weeds masquerading as flowers in the bright, fresh, newborn grass, to feeling the earth beneath my sneakers, not slippery with ice and snow, or squelchy with mud, but feeling like earth should! Springy and firm beneath the rubber of my sneakers.
The trees, denuded so long, and having worn sharp icicles in their branches, bear bright and dun-colored, small and large, and oh so beautiful though dusky blue-black birds.
Spring brings re-birth and new promises. Warmth, sunlight, growth. Soon the smell of spices beneath my window. Time to grow, time to change for the better. Leave the mistakes where they belong... learn the lessons, don't wallow in the mud.
Time, hopefully to let my grief go to healing, while that leaves scars too, I remember how much Grandma loved the spring, how she hated people to be sad, and tried to keep them together.
Dad, too--- a genuine spring baby, whereas I was supposed to be his birthday gift, I had to come out a week before spring... but even though there was that 4 hours of labor in a blizzard, and the way it always works, a touch of warmth when I was finally brought home- I was his 37th birthday gift. He too, needed to bring things together, to enjoy the simple moments, life was dark and painful enough, why focus on the pain when you can gravitate towards healing?
Spring isn't about aging, or about grief... it can be a rather difficult season, of downpours and cold, and beautiful days of "Almost shorts weather, but not quite."
There is green and yellow to be found... and bright glorious blues!
The sunrises and sunsets are brighter pinks, peaches, yellows and oranges. And the clouds look fluffier.
Life is beautiful. Slather on the sunblock, and face the sun. One can only stay in the dark so long.

The Electric Ties That Bind

Are we tied to electronic devices? From computers to smart phones (I think my Blackberry really is fooling itself calling itself a smart phone, but then, it does a lot of work for me, from finding maps and whatnot, to keeping me sane in situations where I need a distraction, ASAP!) to e-readers...a lot of what we're taught in kindergarten seems to become something we can only do with a computer.

I was taught, with a lot of effort- to write nicely- it explains why my writing has evolved to its' present state. Strangely, my father's handwriting made a doctor's chicken scratch look neat and tidy... but I was taught the old fashioned way... and even my print is more stylized. Because he didn't want me having to use computers to have neat handwriting, or to be understood... I saw an old scrawled note "Please excuse absence on the 15th" that frankly, if I hadn't known better would have reminded me of something I could have written in 1st grade.

The days of ink and paper may be going...I'm kind of sad for it to go. But, there are a few books I can't find no matter how hard I try, and some I need to replace...that my collection is so small, after years of finding chosen favorites and borrowing from Grandma's attic, saddens me. For that, perhaps a Nook or Kindle wouldn't be so bad, we shall see.
I keep hearing that I should get an E-reader, from a Kindle to whatever that thing is Barnes& Nobel and Border's sell as their home brands. I keep resisting. I like to feel the paper and smell the paper and ink. There's enough computerization. My father made me learn penmanship, it's amazing to see how many people have no idea how to do anything but print block letters now.

.Not to mention of course, the entertainment I've experienced (No wait- "entertainment" is not the word I was shooting for---try sadness)
At a relatively nice restaurant, the bill came to $15.20. I paid with a $20.
The registers were down. The poor girl at the register, stood there, almost weeping. She had apparently not remembered rather basic arithmetic. Writing on a menu, I managed to show her that she should return $4.80.
And that 100 cents equals $1.00 (showing my work)...so 100-20= 80, and so on, and so forth.
Her manager looked rather disgusted, and I am glad that I didn't become one of those nasty old farts who complains about technology and how it stupefies us all.

Now, technology is great. Using, it, from here, I was able to send a list from the the Gluten-Free Registry, a site that lists places to go for gluten-free products when a zip code or city is plugged in, straight to G's Blackberry.
And tell her, still many miles away "Whole Foods" which is a safe bet in almost any large metropolitan city. Thanks to technology, I knew my nephew, C., ate well that night, crisis averted and that she now has a resource. I thank the people at 1in133.org who answered a few questions for me, and set me straight, as well as people in that same city who offered time and helped me out with questions as well. Thank God for technology, it's been a life-saver.

But do I really want to be tied down by one more battery to charge, one more electronic device that could fail?
Saving the trees, planting seeds... yes, a marvelous thing- but what's wrong with good old bound books?
*There may be some little irony in that this is blogged, from a laptop, as opposed to written on parchment. Meh. Welcome to the 21st Century.

Ps. Yes, I am one of those dreadfully old-fashioned people who likes to buy stamps and write handwritten letters, much to the shock& delight of some people. It requires time and effort, and I love it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Blessed and Beautiful Mothers

On this day, Mother's Day, there's a big call to relax (Cucumbers, check. Towels, check. Mani/ pedi? Check. Etc. etc. etc.)
Try to lay back and see the world through more innocent eyes... of bubble-bath beards,  and watching with dancing eyes as someone gave you sweets, and told you "Yes, this is all for you." Allow someone to pamper you- (Never easy for me, I'll start getting embarrassed and flustered and I never could sit still long!)
Life been stressful? Things didn't come out, or go as you meant them to? Brush off.

Lay back in hot, soapy water- try Yes to Carrotsbodywash/bath--- you'll feel and smell lovely, and the Dead Sea salts in it really do help without irritating skin- and let the world go by for a bit. Buy yourself a treat, too... even though I got spoiled, I like having a few little things that are "Me-Isms". Today, it was peach ice cream, which I save as something special.
Courtesy Life Magazine
For personal, non-commercial use, only

Most importantly, do call Mama. She did after all, go through a lot to bring you here.
(Hehe--- no, not a guilt-trip, not intentionally. I'm waiting for mine to get off work and driving myself nuts ticking off the time. ) Even if work delays happen, enjoy something together later.
Light some candles and have your own personal zen. I suggest the Tao of Pooh to further the Zen moment and make you smile.
Happy Mother's Day, whether it be to child, to pet, to plant, to pet rock. Be blessed.  
Remember always especially if it's getting crazy:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change those I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.-Amen.

Support 1 in 133

Traveling with food allergies and sensitivities has its' own special brand of entertainment.
G&C went to Hartford CT for another one of the crazy meetings that G. tends to go to, part of her job, plus pampering for G. who can't sit still either. Hotel staff wasn't helpful, faced with a child with the egg, dairy,soy and gluten-free needs C. has. I told her "Two words: Whole Foods." (Their GF selection is huge, and while our nearest is Oakville, Ontario-I am debating a passport- I have been in quite a few when on solitary jaunts.) After a 5 minute drive for G. while I waited with baited breath "Please, please, please, let there be only a small amount of going through labels going 'that's ok, that's ok, that's ok---oh, damn it!' if there has to be any."

As for labels, it's still iffy. As of yet, although the FDA has been sitting on it since 2007, there is no labeling standard for foods. Facts like these allow for chancers and charletons. Some companies work hard in spite of it:
No Cheerios, but I can have rice chex again (not keen on trying the chocolate ones), Progresso lists allergens contained in bold and uses a different formula than flour as a thickening agent in things like mushroom soup, which is actually, not bad, with actual mushroom slices though, so it can be a bit of a surprise.
(when you have cream of mushroom, generally, you just get this can of whitish goo.)

What the idea is, is:
1 in 133 is on the forefront of the labeling act. The FDA made some big promises at a summit in DC, perhaps entranced by a gluten-free cake over 11 feet high, baked at a dedicated gluten-free Whole Foods Bakehouse over days, in North Carolina. (A layer cake built at the summit.) We'll see if they keep them or keep sitting on   the issue. They are looking for standard labels, particularly for those who have celiac, gluten sensitivities, gluten intolerance, etc... (Any number of people can have some sort of an issue.)
There are letters on the site- See the Support 1 in 133 widget upper right- for the FDA, and more information.
I sense more of these summits and hope to go to one. Progress may be slow, but thank God, some do get it.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Vinegar Tasters

There is a famous painting, depicting the three schools of Chinese thought, from Confucius, to Buddha, to Laozi.
All three have dipped their fingers into that tangy, tart substance, vinegar. All three wear a different expression, from pure disgust, to a slight grimace, to a little smile. All three taste the same substance, but all three react differently.
In the Vinegar Tasters, vinegar represents Life.
I: Confucius saw life as sour, and rules were needed to regulate it.
II:Buddha saw life as being full of pain.
III: Laozi, the Father of the Taoist movement, saw life as good, in its' natural state.
Some, seeing the three venerable gentlemen around one single vat of vinegar, interpret it as the "Three Teachings are One"...another Trinity of sorts (Three separate parts make up the whole, and are the whole).

Taking that, you could say, that life has its' awful, bitter, sad moments. But these can teach a good lesson. And that, is sweet

.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Waiting For Daylight

As the night draws near
And the blissful warmth slowly fades
The terrors they come, cloaked in black
I won't curse the velvet darkness
Or sing dirges in the rain
But light my path with candles
And with joy, brave the storms
I will be the uncarved block
I will watch, I will wait, and I will learn
And onward!
Yes, onward- while the flames dance in the melting wax
And while the haken-kraks howl in the pitch black
There is light out there- beautiful soft sunlight
And blissful warmth
Grass to curl my bare toes into
And lovely stars that grace the inky blackness when the sun sets
So for now, I light my candles, until the coming of day. 

Mom, Newtonian Theories and Barrel Rolls

Yup, at times, I think I'm trying to try out Newton's theories.
Dear Mom,
I think you could understand this, with tongue firmly in cheek. We shared a body for just over 8 months, and while I was a difficult baby, and kept managing to land myself in trouble time and time again, you were always there, even if I fought against you like I do... because I am constantly needing to learn a lesson, and at times, I had no idea you were trying to help me.

Dear Mom, Thanks for teaching me how to handle all that life throws at me, and for not killing me in the process.

And to those who taught me the best way to handle a negative situation- dust off, put on the boots and keep on walkin'. And to shrug, smile, and do a barrel roll. Yes, you too taught me this, Mom...even if you are the furthest thing from a net/gamer geek.
DO A BARREL ROLL!
I love you. Always.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Does Drama Have Templates?

Drama in general falls into a rather formulaic pattern. I'm almost led to wonder if there's a copy-and-paste, insert name here template. (This is a general blanket statement.) All names are false, as this is a simple musing, and not meant to be taken as anything but.  No real persons are mentioned herein.No one is intended harm. There is an X in the right upper hand corner. More or less, a simple observation.

The party of the first part loses cool. Loses temper. May lash out.
The party of the second part says "Oh, no, you didn't!" Rather than focusing on the issue, the POTSP, hereafter known as "Kate", lashes out at the POTFP, whom we shall call "Mickey."
Mickey has two choices. Mickey can either say "OK, I've done all I can, and laugh at any ludicrous accusations. Or Mickey can fan the flames.
Kate has been known to find nasty evidence or do character interviews biased against Mickey and then throws them in Mickey's face. Well, Mickey, what will you do now?
Mickey can defend shimself, but it will likely lead to more nastiness. Mickey can be straightforward, honest & stick by those who have proven themselves, and let it slide. Mickey can wipe off shim's boots and do some walkin' shimself.
It's a rather formulaic pattern. Over simplified and minus legalese I've accidentally picked up here and there:
 Person A says "Person B is a slut/user/abusive" Person B. says "Oh no, you didn't!" "Person B writes inflaming person A." Person A fans the fire, and so forth.
Now, I did not factor in Persons C & D who can become collateral damage. That will not be in a next installment, as I hope to not discuss them again.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Good Intentions and Drama

I guess at times, good intentions are the road to hell.
I MEANT to try to recharge myself... how else could I possibly get work done? I have been fighting against a lot, and attempting to sort through, so I can better myself, on a personal level.
I MEANT to simply state: "Look, I am sad. Because these misunderstandings are cropping up, I don't like it. Let's talk. And attempting not to be too upset when apparently nothing I said could or would be right.
I MEANT to quietly air my grievances BEFORE things built up. As in, when I was done with the initial "I am hurt and angered, because not only was my life put in danger, but I was insulted, frightened. This wasn't easy--- I tried so many a time to say "Please, stop... I'm not comfortable discussing that. It causes drama I do not want." Like, being threatened. Like, having to look over my shoulder. Nightmares. Fear of everything around me.

To be slut-shamed on top of it... it amused me...I don't have that many exes, and no one but me needs to know all of my personal business. Yes, I've fucked up a few times. Yes, I have trusted all the wrong people. But... slut-shaming is wrong. Ok, so a few men I slept with walked on me. This tells me: Quit fucking yourself over, not, "You are a horrible person".

I wish nothing, no harm--- a happy life. I can see a great future. But to have it, one must let the past go.
I acknowledge mistakes, I, like everyone on this earth, has not lived a pristine life. I have fought my demons, will continue to do so. I mean it, quite literally: Be blessed. Be happy.

I will not agonize over things I cannot change...from being skinny due to lack of absorption, from being who I am, from trying to be better, stronger.
I will be angry. To put me in danger, accidentally, to become angry when I feel attacked because you did so and refused to listen? And then to tell me to get over myself? I could say a lot, bring up guilt tactics. I won't.
I was put into a position of fear. I was hurt. Nothing I said or did was right or good enough. This is how I felt. I felt SHOVED. I will not fall prey to junior high tactics. Nor insult you---you have a great future and I for one think you deserve it. But I will not bend, apologize, change. Nor will I quote out of context.

In conclusion: Yes, I have fucked up. Made mistakes, Trusted the wrong people. But I have never changed me for anyone, and I do not hold my tongue when hurt. I tried, I wish I could do more, but I cannot. But I've moved forward, and will not live a life of looking over my shoulder. I am not about to be a pillar of salt.

It's the Hard Knock Life

It's the hard knock life, for us
It's the hard knock life, for us!
'Steada treated, we get tricked, 
'Steada kisses we get kicked
It's the hard-knock life!

Well, we could continue with that attitude, woe is me, take abuses in stride, take a slap with a smile, and say "We looooooove you, Miss Hannigan!"
We COULD. However...while life has never been easy for me... I can't let myself just lay down. I am far better than that, and prefer to keep a smile on while working to improve. I do not just "muddle through", I like to do something about things. Even if something isn't solved quite the way I intended (last month was a dance with that) it generally gets evened out. And why should I be gloomy and morose? I have a lot to live for! I have looked death, pain, fear, in the eye and said "Screw you!" My motto for life appears to be "Screw you, yes I can!"
I cannot change anyone, but myself. It is me I have a responsibility to and for. It is my reactions to life that I can control. G. says: "We cannot control what happens to us, but we CAN control what we do about it."
I'm going to hold up my head, quit looking over my shoulder, and I am going to be my tough little smart ass self.
And, I am actually grateful for my hard-knock life.