I blog gluten-free

Saturday, July 30, 2011

What Is This World Coming To?

A schizophrenic man was horrifically treated- to the point where his post mortum shot looks barely human and the video of his arrest and his subsequent beating and tazering- five times with a taser on someone who lays there and begs for his father? Does that strike anyone as "lawful" or as "Necessary force?"
A call went out that someone was stealing from cars in a parking lot.
Ok, this is poor behavior. But... desperation leads to acts that one would typically not do. An arrest of someone known as "childlike" for stealing should not involve five shocks with a taser, or a beating.

Schizophrenia is described thus, and I'll try to find a way to say it in simple terms:

Schizophrenia is a complex mental disorder that makes it difficult to:
  • Tell the difference between real and unreal experiences
  • Think logically
  • Have normal emotional responses,
  • Behave normally in social situations

Source: NCBI/PubMed

I've known for years, a kind, gentle man with schizophrenia. He has in his life dealt with his mother's abuse at the hands of his father, her divorce and remarriage, his brother's alcoholism, and his step father's amusement at his reactions... often calling him stupid or purposefully causing him fear. He has a bit of Samson thing...the most gorgeous long, glossy hair, and barely any split ends--- a woman would be envious for about half as much. The stepfather liked to go up behind him with scissors and tell him he was going to give him a haircut until he cried. A big, sweet 35 year old man just wailing because he was terrified he'd lose more than hair, while a man stands over him grinning creepily. A bad marriage full of abuse by the ex, and just beginning to know his son again... his mother dying painfully, going from vibrant and active, to a shell of herself, locked into herself.

And he is as sweet as all get out, always giving... he can't say "no"... although I've tried like hell to teach him that a well-crafted lie is still a lie, and that not everyone is looking out for his good, or intends to help him. He tries, with everything in him to just give the love. He has been institutionalized, homeless, living in what is basically a large tin can, (I had to stay with him when thanks to issues with my ex, there was tampering and I ended up with carbon monoxide poisoning...and got a bed, blankets, food, and help... with him expecting NOTHING in return.) and thrown out after his mother's death, to fend for himself. He made a mistake-those scam checks that get sent... he cashed one, taking it at face value, and spent time in jail.

Through it all, that case, and the one of Kelly Thomas one thought plagues me:  Where the hell are the agencies that are meant to give help, meds and support, and counselling, and assist with day-to-day life? Are we still tossing the sick onto the street to die?!

A childlike man living on the streets does wrong through desperation, with no help... begging for his father... and dying with a face that no longer appears recognizably human. And you can watch him die on Youtube. What a world.
Here's the thing: A man was treated to the point where he did not look human, and died in the streets like a rabid dog. Who lost their humanity? Certainly NOT Mr. Thomas, whose pitiful cries were the most human thing I witnessed in that video, which I am still sickened by. Where were his parents? His father grieves, but where was he before? He died screaming for him, but was living like an animal. Did he know how to ask for help?

NSFW- Lessons Learned From Biggus

I have known in my life, my fair share of odd, goofy, silly, sweet and even dickish men.

My personal favorite dick- "Favorite" here meaning "Biggest"
is a "warrant officer" who shared a name with the annoying slap-chop guy.For these purposes, I will call him "Biggus Dickus".

Biggus seems charming off the bat, if you don't mind crying into his beer (For God's sake, you're a 6'3" 240 pound man with a stringy mustache! And you're in what passed for a nightclub in a Godforsaken shithole town!) grabbing at women, acting like he is better than all, and odd phone calls. Also, the times I tried to be nice, I usually ended up with a bruised wrist because he'd grab on and I couldn't pull away- not someone I'd be willing to try to work with again.

On my birthday, one year, he tried to insist on "y'know, comin' ova"... I politely told him the Jersey Shore schtick (Sorry, dude, in Puerto Rico and Italy, there may be Latin roots, but one generally can tell one from the other)- and our area does have the capability to pronounce "r"s and words like "Pause" without adding a superfluous "W". A cod "Joisey" accent ain't sexy, y' know what I'm sayin'? Sadly, the words "Dude, seriously? I'm having fun. And sorry, the Jersey Shore thing has my vulva in hiding and she won't come out". popped out unbidden. Hey, it was a day for friends, not complete and total wankers.

The favorite though, is the night we were all at Denny's at 3AM (this is not a bad thing...Denny's is fun at 3AM.) I and a few friends were discussing things, enjoying coffees, and bammo, here he was, and smelling like the floor of a saloon at closing time, along with Brut cologne, which he'd overdosed on. (Please, for God's sake... men, you have a natural musk...affectionately called "Man Stink"... a little good shampoo, some good soap (I'm partial to Irish spring, but even Ivory works) and maybe, and this is NOT necessary- maybe a bit of cologne if you must (A BIT!) and you're right as rain! Don't over do it on the cologne... some of us can catch the Man Stink easily, and easier than others, and anything else will mess with sensitive noses.) Seeing me, as he talked to "mutual friends" (Who wondered why I was being nice to him, he'd ruined his chances with them) he smacked my butt as I went back to the table and said loudly "Hey, kid, what'ya say, I got money". "Good. You can pay for the coffee I'm going to throw up right now."  Guess you can say, I didn't love his nuts.

Look, there's a way to treat people. It goes mutually--- respect...and understand---some people are a bit more sensitive, this doesn't mean walk on them, it means be careful with them. Yes, love all, even the awful, precisely because they're human, and made in God's image- help those who need help, know when to quit, and here's a clue, do not cause physical injury to someone who tries to help you simply because they don't let you close. Or emotional. And do not play with people: be honest.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Grace, and Then Some

Really, the perfect saint for me, the Patron St. of Impossible Cases
Spending time in forced company, waiting, waiting---I watched more CNN on a tiny flat-screen than I do otherwise, I had time to puzzle through things, while waiting for people to either quit talking at or over me or to let me open my own mouth, to think.

We are told, "Do not worry, God will provide", and he does... but... well, Jesus said to the sick man in the temple, take up your bed and walk---he actually had to do something, be willing to trust that while he was unable to do much more than be lowered through a roof on a mattress, he could now pick up that mattress and walk out the door.

I once knew a woman who was a rather ardent Pentecostal- I think the phrase is Apostolic Christian...she did not believe in medicine, and disavowed sweets (until the kids were too rotten, and she offered the sinful processed and refined sugar as a bribe). Her little boy became very sick one day--- rather than the usual treatment in a 106 degree fever, she chose to wrap him up and begin long prayers, saying "We don't need doctors or children's tylenol, you must have faith, you must believe...God will provide". He was better soon... but it was a long night, and someone ended up sneaking him medicine.

Well, yes... but... generally, I like to put it like this: God gave us big brains and the capability to think, to choose between right and wrong. Asprin can grow on trees, digitalis can be gotten and treated, via the pretty purple foxglove plant, and prayer is great---but I think God wants your faith, and for you to get off your butt and see a doctor.

I can't say I haven't had my miracles: In late '09, they told me I'd need another surgery on my bladder. I worried...because a naturopath and my physician had both come to the conclusion that something was destroying my intestines... and had me tested for celiac disease. So, new lifestyle, feeling ill, and being stressed--- and dreading surgery. But I didn't succumb to temptation to curl into a ball and cry until the surgery day, praying for it to go away. I simply prayed and tried, and my sister, whose son has issues with food helped out too. Not two months later, with food, therapies and numerous issues, I was beginning to show signs of being better--- skin less dry, shine to the hair, circles under my eyes not looking like someone had popped me one, and color in my cheeks, and had a scan--- and while there is scarring, they can't find the issue! The urologist asked what I was doing, and I said prayer, gluten-free diet... he smiled and told me to keep that up... and I avoided surgery. I was handed a miracle, but I had to trust, and to do work on my own... otherwise, I don't think it would have worked.

Believe, pray--- but remember, we're given medicines and treatments for a reason. And we have the abilities to use them successfully, which is its' own miracle.

In conclusion:
May life be beautiful
And may you forever have grace under fire.

if ANYONE can tell you about grace under fire, it's this guy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Give Us This Day...

A CEO from McDonald's goes to see the Pope.
He says: "Your Holiness, you know how you say "Give us this day our daily bread? What if you said, 'Give us this day our daily hamburger?"
"My son, I am sorry," says the Pope, "But we can't change the Holy texts."
"I'll give you fifty million."
"I have to talk this over with my cardinals."
At the following meeting, he sadly said, "My brothers, it pains me to say this, but we may have to give up our deal with Wonderbread."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rainbow Pride, Hot Dogs and Laughter

The best way to deal with darkness is to laugh at it. I mean, just mock it for all its' worth--- in dry, gallows humor, or in pure vaudevillean sillyness. Sure, I gave what was meant to be a sarcastic highlights reel. But... here goes...

From 7:00 AM on, I waited in line, pushed paperwork again, and dealt with a few oopsy-slip-ups.
By 10, I'd been pushed to the point of tears at least once, but I am the push it back type.
At 12, I had to go to yet another building, on the way to City Hall, to start the process on something, and quickly bought lunch- a beef hot dog I had to ask an incredulous hotdog seller to give me without the bun. He was polite, said "Ok, thweetie" and done deal. But... not only was it a desperate, "I'm buying something bad (They'd plumped it with cereal- probably a good thing that the person with me got a bite while I managed to drop it onto Niagara Street) to avoid something worse-a starvation-induced sugar shock-buy" but damn it, I dropped my goddamn lunch and literally cried from frustration. The seller was kind "It's OK, thweetie" and gave me a hug, which, as he was a stranger, and one that smelled like hotdogs and bad cologne, scared me into sniffling and jumping. Oh, I mock it, and me, now. He was nothing but kind, but lordy me... that just added a lovely "To Wong Fu: Thanks For Everything, Love, Julie Newmar" twist. And tomorrow, lordy me, it starts all over again. Time to do something fabulous... no puns intended.

My Day Of Being Alexander

Relaxing does need to be done, but, sadly can't be done yet.
So far I've:
-Pushed paperwork like a loony bird
-Went to go collect death certificates at city hall, saying hi to a bust of Teddy Roosevelt out of pure habit (it was right there and at that point, I was greeting anything within eyeline)- which means of course, that I amused Mom on the way out saying goodbye to to "Teddy".
-Felt like I had to stand at parade rest in an automatic habit
-Exchanged "sweeties" with a nice gay man selling hotdogs (How did I know he was gay? No straight man generally automatically calls people sweetie and asks them if they're tired-not on a busy city street)
-Got mistaken for a 19 year old by a nice guy I accidentally locked eyes with
-Dropped half my lunch on the street near City Hall and nearly cried because I was tired and my sugar was running low. As I don't like eating whatever's been on the ground in Buffalo, I picked it up and sadly tossed it out.
-made more appointments to go back tomorrow. It's humid, and my pelvis and rib are screaming bloody murder.
Right now, I can use a nap...and a good long cry--- at this point it's getting alarmingly easy, and I don't cry on the whole as I tend to end up looking like a Muppet on acid, and that's so not cool!

But hey, it was all done by 1:00 and I do have to do the same crap tomorrow, but--- I thank my lucky stars. Still... NOT ENOUGH PAINKILLERS IN THE WORLD. Well, time to eat...

Oh, and I may have made a decision regarding major---it's so automatic and such a part of my life, hate it or not, knowing exactly what I'm eating, down to the ingredients and chemicals most can care less about- I might as well look into nutrition. Help for me, and help for those I want to help.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dear Champ

Dear Champ,
It's almost been a year now.
I've picked up the phone about a thousand times intending to ask you over for coffee. But I'm getting better.

We can use a bit more peace down here, champ... you were the sunny influence who tried to keep people together. Sometimes, I admit... it hurts seeing everyone falling apart. Actually, to be honest, it hurts... but I know you taught us all to love and try to bring people together. I listened.

There's been a lot of pain and irritation, but I can sense you.

I know you're up there with your coffee (and it had better be perked the old fashioned way, drip coffee was not a favorite for you) and watching out some window like you always did, or crocheting again. While watching the Young & the Restless, no doubt.

You're still loved and missed. But I'm glad you're out of pain. Love you. Always.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Riding Through the Desert On a Horse With No Name

The past year had many good points. And I am grateful, from the bottom of my heart for those who helped me and showed me a sunnier world. Right now, the family animosity after Grandma's death, her battle last year, and her death almost a year ago, horrible fights that sapped my reserves and made me feel like I had to be aggressive to protect myself, the weird threats I've had in E-mail boxes because apparently, I asked for things I would never ask for, feeling like I will be losing someone close to me, illness, dehydration, and the heat and humidity are all combining to kick my ass.

I don't know if I can cry, but I do need to lean- and before it is said, yes, I have "help", yes, I do have my "antennae" apparently up when they aren't supposed to be, yes, I know I'm OK, I know I'm safe, and no, I never have the intention of turning away people who care for me, or shutting them out- protecting, them yes.

You see... you don't walk through hell, without getting singed a few times, and if I can help it, I prefer not to let others hurt as I have. So I've made mistakes, but I've also figured out a few things.

I have a future, I have to think---to make maps, to work. I have to focus on that. But I am exhausted and frustrated.

Please be careful in the heat--- stay hydrated, please use the AC if you need it.

And if you do need help, speak. If you need to judge, for people to think as you do, however, please, kindly get help. That brand of tough love never helps anyone, including the person giving it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Unicorns In the Garden

There was a dreamer, who people thought was a nice guy but a little loopy. He saw a unicorn in the garden and was thrilled, and told his wife all about it. She insisted he was insane, and was very angry, finally calling "the men in the white coats". They asked the man "Did you really see unicorns in the garden?" Seeing the wife foaming at the mouth, he said no. They let him go and took her away. And they all lived happily ever after.

Moral? Don't judge that which you do not know, and don't go nuts when someone sees something you do not. Take it, learn from it. And keep enjoying the unicorns. (Or, the more "grown up" version: Don't froth at the mouth when someone is insane... you'll look worse. Don't make a donkey out of yourself disproving unicorns.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Keep The Faith

Today, I am sad--- and feeling philosophical- I tend to when I feel a bit stuck. And well, I do.

Sadness is normal now in this world I'm afraid. There are liars, thieves, cheats and charletons, seemingly right outside the door, scratching to get in.
Disappointments- I've had those.

My faith in humanity is tested often...
I've got it! I think. There are some people with such sad little lives they live for the ire of others, because they themselves feel so rotten about themselves they have to hurt others. And when bad things happen, in order to feel control, they need to take responsibility, who cares if no one respects them, any press is good press. How's that for an estimate?

But it isn't all bad. The grass is still green, the sky is still blue. There are horrors... people who live to hurt others, people who think their opinion is all that counts and lord help you if you disagree...abusive personalities, people who, instead of asking, assume that they know everything.
But there are people who love others, and give kindness where they can. People who fight against God only knows what. In the suspicious world, there are still people, who strive not to be moral, good because they have to be, but because they want to be.
I'm not going to be good... I'm going to be good for something!

"Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something"_Henry David Thoreau

It's a frustrating world out there. I've been down, out, sick and scared enough.

I'm angered- too many cheats, and too many questions from the cheated that I can't answer- and I know, I irritated a few when I tried.

But please, when it's too much, when you just shouted: "Nothing ever gets done, nothing ever changes!" know- letting yourself stay in the dark, to wallow, will not help. If you have to, let someone be there for you. No one needs to go it alone. Sadness is natural, as is frustration... but it consuming you, its not natural or good. Where there is life, there is hope, always.
Nothing is ever perfect, and some imperfections make it better...
You are not alone. There is light in the world still. Keep the faith.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Recommendation: Tobit (dry outline)

The Book of Tobit is an apocryphal book- I believe, without glancing, that it falls in the middle section of the Old Testament, coming to rest before Psalms in the Douay-Rheims bible. It was an ancient book, read for entertainment by slaves in captivity- that is, the Babylonian exile. I'd love to share it, but I cannot do it justice. But I will attempt a basic Reader's Digest preview so I can hopefully get people to look it up. Redemption, faith, and miracles are the biggest themes.

Part I brings us to Tobit, a good man, loves his wife. The first part is from Tobit's point of view.
Tobit was a pious Hebrew, who by letter of Law, provided proper burials for those killed by the King. Who promptly sent him into exile and stole his property. After the King died, he went home. He could not avoid burying someone murdered in the street, and he buries them. By Letter of Law, he is unclean (see Leviticus.) He does not go into his home, but sleeps against a wall outside. He is blinded by birds, whose emissions cause his eyes to form cataracts.
All of this strains his marriage.

Part II is in third person.
We meet the sad and suicidal Sarah, who has lost 7 husbands, before consummation, to the murderous demon, Asmodeus. Her maids taunt her: "Why do you beat us? To shut us up? You are the one who kills them!" There is a long, pained prayer for death. \

Part III begins with the Archangel Raphael, no half-shell, but all the warrior and helper, disguised as a typical young man. He is sent to help poor Sarah, and to cure Tobit.
He agrees to accompany Tobias, Tobit's son, to Media, where his Tobias's uncle holds money Tobit had deposited with him for safe-keeping.
Raphael, aka Azariah, and Tobias set off, with Tobias's dog in tow.

Part IV
-A large fish attacks.
-Azariah/ Raphael urges Tobias to kill it, and gives certain instructions. They keep the heart, liver and gallbladder, to make "medicines".

Part V: Upon arrival, Azariah informs Tobias of Sarah, whom, as her cousin, in those days, had a right to her hand.
The father tries to dissuade at first, but Tobias is victorious. Tobias and Sarah marry.
Following instructions, he leaves a gift for Asmodeus. Burned fish liver.
The father, assumes Tobias will be the eighth fatality, and digs a grave secretly while this goes on.
Asmodeus is so disgusted by the smell of fish liver, he flees to "Lower Egypt"-more likely, at what that time, seemed like the end of the earth. Raphael fights him there.

Part VI: Surprise and happiness at removing the demonic horror, and at Tobias being alive.

Part VII: Tobias, Sarah, and Azariah/Raphael return home.
Using fish gall, Tobias heals his father's blindness. They all live happily ever after, Raphael reveals himself and goes home himself. Tobit is happy and sings a song of praise.

Raphael and Tobias, L-R, with important plot points
It is not good to make an outline... so much is lost. I can give you the nitty-gritty in a bing-bang-boom moment, but the book has it fleshed out beautifully. I am certain copies exist all over, so you don't have to buy an extra bible if you don't want.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Medium-Well, Please!

When reading the lives of the saints, you meet some really tough people. People who are literally "die-hard".

Here is where the Friar's Club must have gotten inspiration.

A priest, St. Lawrence, was told by Powers That Be that he needed to give the government the treasures of the church. He said "OK" and off he went.
He sold all the valuable items held by the Church, and gave the money to the poor. Then he rounded up the poor and ill, and brought them before the powers that Be. "Here are the treasures of the Church", he said. They were not amused, and literally grilled him to death. His last words were "Can you turn me over, please? I'm done on this side". I kind of adore that stark, subtle humor.

Promises, Promises

I consistently have questions on my mind---and probably should ask a few of them so they quit circling like a hive of angry hornets above my head.

One of the major ones, which I probably don't want a "How-to" for is "How do people get jaded?" See, people have asked me for some time now, to keep my eyes open wide, and not get jaded. And I've generally, knowing the dictionary's definition have attempted to answer that I would at least try not to- so many times, it's said with fear, and by telling me with sadness, that it's too late for them. I feel like I'm the person in a horror flick with a chance, trying to help an injured person with no hope who tells me "Move on, damn it!" But- they're still capable of fear and begging me to continue to wonder, wide-eyed. And it seems, oddly, that they are fascinated by me being a bit naive still.

The process cannot be instant... and from what it seems, many are not nearly as hardened as they claim to be. You don't just snap awake one day and inbetween peeling your head from the pillow and making coffee, suddenly shout "It's always the same, nothing ever changes, and I hurt, damn it!" If so, I've done that a gazillion times.

Hell, I've had moments where I doubted. But I was always told to remember faith.

Also, I've beaten a lot of odds...
-I used to have a congenital heart murmur. It has now gotten to the point where it's as if it never existed.
-Before I began the gluten-free diet, I had a nasty issue with my bladder, around Christmas '09, they were telling me I needed surgery. In January of 2010, I went for a check up as I'd begun the diet around Thanksgiving of 2009. They could not, much to the doctor's shock, find the issue. Prayer and GF diet, I said (I had done a lot of praying, as had my mom & sister among others)- they begged me to keep those up.
I am going to go for the biggest odd... to be alive after age 30. I am, despite some bumps, healthier than I ever was.

I have what I've beaten, numerous death sentences (really, it's what the predictions amounted to), bad times, some pain. I've had to lay my dignity down for help... from burn care, to asking for help which I've never been good at. I had and still occasionally do, a slight fear of males...at one point, I literally could not get less than 10 feet from most males, things falling made me jump, and I had to slowly learn to counteract that.
I've seen people control others, hurt others, and mostly, for fun... and out of greed... and still do. I understand that there are people in the world who will do that, world without end.
I've seen tough people deal--- and often wished I knew how to help-when things splintered for them. There are dishonest people in the world without shame. There are people with a need for control. There are abusers. I know that.

But apparently, I'm still a wide-eyed kid.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Libyan Youth Movement

Libya is a small, worn-torn country in North Africa. The capital city is Tripoli. If you've been around any Marines, you may have heard the theme song: the lyrics we all know go:  "From the Walls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli, we fight the nation's battles, on the land and on the sea"...
Out of Tripoli, there is a man who has run the government for decades, the well known Qaddafi. There is a civil war going, and the factions that control the East and the West are going at it. There aren't a lot of freedoms. There are little ones in refugee camps who are simply children. Eid and the Winter Holidays will be upon is in five months, and while the Libyan Youth Movement is fighting for freedom, they also are trying to make a good holiday for the children. Here is where they ask for help, and if you cannot directly donate, then please spread the information around. Little children, even in refugee camps in nations that are dangerous, war-torn (constantly) and difficult to live in deserve something bright and happy.

We are a group of Libyan Youth both in and out of Libya inspired by our brothers & sisters in Egypt and Tunisia. We'll do our best to bring Libya back Inshallah (As God wills)

We do not belong to a political party, nor to any factions nor do we intend to, we have taken inspiration from our brothers and sisters in Tunisia and Egypt who have taken it upon themselves and brought about a new chapter in the history of North Africa.

We are here to awaken our people from the unjust oppression and remove the ring of corruption and despotism, and provide stability and security 


The website to donate is: Eid of Hope
And here, are things you won't see on the news, among the riots, the corruption...there is beauty:

Ancient rock art.

And among these natural wonders, are beautiful souls, struggling to survive. No, I am not attempting to sound like Childrens' International. But to show, there is beauty among the ugly. Stand up for those who cannot stand for themselves, support youths begging for freedom, children who would love whatever simple gifts offered...as they lay in the shadows of power-hungry dictators. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Flying Through The Air With The Greatest Of Ease

"So be sure when you step
Step with care and great tact
And remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act
  Just never forget to be dexterous and deft
  And never mix up your right foot with your left."
-Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go

Childrens' books can be great sources of wisdom. I always remember to listen to the mustn'ts, and to the fact that anything can happen, and be, thanks to Shel Silverstein. I also still love Oh The Places You'll Go after all these years.

Life isn't easy, gosh-darn-it. I've been caught up in waiting places, and lurches far more often than I'd like. At times, I describe life, having been "High-Functioning" with a disability, as "There's a tight rope stretched high. On the ground, there's the area where the spectators are um, "normal", as the world would see them. Then there's where the "Poor, dirty, hungry, tired, and obviously not "normal" people are. In between are those who can pass a sort of "paper bag" test -able to pass but not without struggling.
The tightrope for the "passers"- the High-Functioning- too capable for help from the usual sources, and yet, never quite matching the "normals",  is stretched over hot lava. (Remember the delightful game of dancing over couch cushions to avoid carpet, much to our parents' disgust and fear for the lamps and furniture- the Floor Is Hot Lava?) There are sadists... people who will do anything to harm another, for their pleasure, to fulfill their needs, shaking the rope as the Passers attempt to navigate. And sometimes, the Passers fall. And, as they say in French, "C'est la vie." (This is life.)

But I can try to help make it easy for others...see, it is not all pain. There is joy- lots of it! And in the simple things (Hence, my love for Calvin & Hobbes, certain childhood trinkets, and for the occasional childs' book or film.)- from playing in the water, or the snow, to reminiscing about box and couch forts (My poor mother- I always seemed to need to make one when company was coming!) to "comfort" food- to occasionally, taking time to enjoy more simple pursuits because, well, the modern world can drag me down. Hatred and poison, demons at the heels, and so much pain and sadness, that the good despair and the evil rejoice.
Slippery rocks in a raging river, skipping stones... splashing... falling.
We all fall. We all have mistakes we wish we did not make, but can teach us valuable lessons. Speak up. Before there's an issue. Understand, don't seek to be understood; Understand!

No one will get anywhere, normal, passing, whatever---with hatred on their minds, and judgments all about. You cannot live only thinking about the spites and smacks you've received, and how things should be better by now. It is not what we've lost, it is what is ahead of us. To live in the past is to simply exist. To live in regret and wallow in pain is to hurt yourself. Use the mistakes for what they are. Teaching tools. Take a break when you need it. Love all, even those who curse you, learn to lean on those you care for, who are worth your time. Let the darkness go, it shouldn't be leading you by the hand. Bless those who curse you... and try to bless all those in your path, especially those who have truly been a friend on the path. But do not spite an enemy. And do not get bitter. Leave that behind, with the darkness, and remember: Pain is necessary, it is how we know what's wrong. Don't become jaded, there is always hope in the world. If you're overwhelmed, talk to someone. If there is negativity, do not let it consume you as well.
If I could say one thing, forever more, it is this: Be true to you, be kind to you. Love yourself, as you do others, and respect yourself. Be your own advocate. Learn when to say no. And watch it--- things get slippery at times. Know that mistakes will be made. Learn from them.

If in doubt, don't worry, don't stew... Be a circus freak & love it!

“Listen to the 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


Justice and the Court of Public Opinion

Justice has again been bandied about a lot this week. Facebook is swimming with "Justice for Caylee" (we all want that. Justice for the innocents)- bear with me. That is something we should strive for... true justice for the innocents ripped apart or murdered at the hands of those who should protect them.

It is difficult to ask for justice without first judging someone's actions. We, as a people, cannot become judge, jury and executioner- and yet, we do so, rejoicing in the death of dictators- when Fidel Castro was ill years back, with intestinal issues, Cuban-Americans rejoiced in what seemed to be his impending death. We have all been caught up in wishing bad things to happen to bad people- yes, even me. I had to come to a concensus with myself in one matter--- "I cannot live in the past, I have to bear the scars and move on... I cannot allow it to infest my mind daily, I am not given a spirit of fear and may not allow myself to live in it. Therefore, I have to let thoughts of vengeance go, it is not mine to give."

The Casey Anthony verdict shocked me, sickened me. But I am not her judge. The justice system, in my opinion, did fail. But humanity is not her judge, it is up to the one incorruptible judge to convict or exonerate her, as public opinion will never do.

Now, here lies the basics: While, in general, if it smells bad, (and the whole case did) it is something bad (with the possible exception of some really good cheeses.), humanity is precisely that. Prone to missteps. Public opinion may have found her guilty- but all the porch lights, all the candlelight vigils, and all of the people passing judgment not withstanding, it is not up to us. May another trial be done, something is unfinished here, and a child needs to be honored in death as she was not in life. If it looks like a duck...is my argument. And it smelled bad- so I flipped Court TV off because it just bothered and rankled me, still does. But it is not my place. No justice was served, and Justice needs to perhaps remove her blinders and look at this, but the law of the Land has spoken.

It is horrible, awful, all around. And news commentators look like three-headed fire spouting demons discussing this. There are people who use dark humor regarding this- while this is within their rights, I do not have to read it.
I have a choice to pray for peace and justice, to hope that the one who judges us all helps all of us... but I cannot let myself poison others with my opinions or allow myself to be poisoned by others.

It is sad... so much to cherish, so much tossed away so loosely. And so very little dignity left. Yes, my heart does ache for all of this. But I cannot drink the poison.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Stick a Fork In Me...

This week was a week of "I can't take anymore! Look, I'm sorry, but I'm exhausted--- if you have the urge to forget all the lessons a sweet lady gave in 60 years- love each other, family is everything,- and literally build fences to the land, separating yourself from the last surviving members of Grandpa's family, plus have fights with our opinionated great aunt over things that probate should be worried about alone, then damn it, do you realize- the stupid pecking, in-fighting, and what not---are hurting people? I cannot be leaned on- I need to lean. This is horrible, and painful to see." (Look, you are all opinionated nutcases, but family is family. Grandma taught love and care, and patience. Apparently 60 years of teaching was for naught. And over money?! And other stupid things? What the heck are you people thinking?!) I am too irritated to look at it as anything less than "I hate when people fall apart, and knowing there's nothing I can do is killing me."

I chose to take a few steps back to think-here is where I land myself in a pickle--- I have got to rest and care for me, but I recall that last time I felt the need for a break, I handled it badly- I got angry and used sarcasm in the wrong places, told people off and was vague about it... I rather prefer telling people off in person in whatever capability... but confused people, and myself and well, the fires grew high. I didn't handle that well. But I learned from it. But I also knew there were some things that needed to be said, or questions that had plagued me. They got answered, so there lies a blessing.

But St. Lawrence reminded me of the benefit of humor, even in pain.
The story goes:
The government told the young priest to gather up all the treasures of the Church for the failing economy. He did so, all right...selling the expensive metals, and giving the money to the poor. He then gathered up the poor and brought them before the powers that were. "These are the treasures of the church", he said, most likely biting a tongue. The powers that were not only weren't amused, they were inflamed. They grilled Lawrence... literally. His last words apparently were, "Can you turn me over please? I'm done on this side."

Can you turn me over, please?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Today's Show Is Brought To You By The Letter E

As a nerd, I approve this message!

As a child, I, like many born between 1969 and now enjoyed Sesame Street. I got it, by virtue of living east of Canada, and in a region that supports "Western New York and Southern Ontario", in a French-English format, too...usually around two PM. I would watch both the English and French versions. My French sadly, is limited to "Chicken and wine" (Coq au vin", )shut your mouth "Ferme ta bouche!",  "MERDE!" (Damn, and no, like shut your mouth, I did not learn that from Sesame Street) and the occasional bits of helpful information from cereal boxes and tampon boxes read during epic fits of boredom. I can somewhat count to 10, (Somewhat, in that if I were asked, I'd choke and leave out numbers...been way too long) and know how to greet people. 

My favorite character wasn't Elmo, whom I see is relatively recent, perhaps maybe only as old as I. When I saw his muppeteer on a show, and saw that Elmo is voiced by a large man with a lovely Samuel L. Jackson patter, I was shocked! 

No, I adored Grover. Flower the Gosh-Darned Skunk of Many Trials and I would be settled before PBS, often with cookies and a sippy cup of juice, and would watch the furry blue caped crusader with a sense of wonder. Well, I would, I have no idea what cotton-stuffed toy skunks think. There's one for the Land Of Misfit Toys, by the way!

Grover, despite the fact that he is small, clumsy, and not necessarily a good waiter, or a superhero as we typically see them, was perfect for me. He tried, gosh darn it, he tried! And he looked so gosh-darned cute while doing it, that he charmed me. And still does, all these years later. 
I didn't realize that he was voiced by the voice of Audrey II in "Little Shop of Horrors" until years later. I see Frank Oz and Grover as separate beings even now. 

I love the little blue oddball, clumsy and sweet, and always-wide-eyed and ready to try his best. 
I don't think I'll ever stop. 

Finding an actual Grover Doll, not part of a plastic thingamabobber, was tough. I see Ernies, Elmos, Abbey Cadabeys, and Cookie Monsters everywhere. I was shocked silly by Miss Piggy in Playboy! (OY!) And last time I knew, the only Fozzie and Kermit toys were part of a Christmas thing at McDonalds in the 80's. 
But... for $10.86, I found a big, floppy, Grover, looking just as cute and blue and fuzzy as he always did. Granted, his position in the box is frightening...golly, he looks like he's being crucified! (And screaming, I should let him out of there, my imagination is running away with me!) I am shocked: I think I'm becoming a relic. All the Muppets I remember are from a time when Muppets were just Muppets. There were no "Classic Muppets"- they just were (Today's episode is brought to you by the Letter E for Existentialism! And our special guest, Fredrich Nietzsche!) Now it's Classic Muppets. Obviously, these are more for the late-20's-to-perhaps-early 50s aged parents. Well, maybe I am a relic, I hear it often enough, actually. Screw it. I will still love my Grover. Here is a cutie from the 70s... I find that this song actually works like a charm. It was used here and there in my speech therapy class. And of course, the lovely Ms. Madelyn Kahn! :)

Gluten-Free Rice Krispies Redux

Breakfast time around here is pretty basic. Most mornings, it's Udi's or Schar bread (two really good GF breads- the Udi's being a bit more like a flaky French bread. You will find it in the freezer of the GF section-sometimes.) with Nutella spread thick, (Although I used to be of the opinion that Nutella on bread is ridiculous, just grab a spoon, let it solidify for a little bit by chilling, and voila, a Spoon-cicle!) on the toast's surface, with coffee or tea depending on my mood.

I made a pact: I will eat a balanced breakfast. Not just GF toast. I will actually buy cereal more often- and not just stick with what is safe and blandly sweet. More than toast? We'll see if I stick with it. I've broken it more than I care to.

For a bit, I used a kids' cereal out of the GF section, which I nicknamed Koala Krispies- all that's missing is eucalyptus. It's literally Enviro-Kidz Koala Crisps... (Ick I hate that bit of misspelling, I can't figure out why, then, I am not a designer or a copy-writer, and maybe it's the grammar nazi in me)...then did a long time with rice Chex--- I am the only one I know who eats those unadulterated with excess sugar.

Kellogg's, of the "Whole wheat is good for body and soul" persuasion (Kellogg's, like Welch's, used to be a very strictly religious company. By religious, I'm talking of the "Great Disappointment" of 1844 and of "Non-Alcoholic Communion Wine"- shortened to grape juice and simply sold as a beverage.) finally came out with a gluten-free Rice Krispy. Once I find a pack of marshmallows where each is not as large as both of my hands together, I am going to be making treats up the wazoo. The difference is that regular Rice Krispies are made with a bit of barley malt flavoring.The GF Krispies are actually cheaper- normally the same price, but two boxes can be had right now for $5.00 (You save 1.58 according to receipts)-made with brown, not white (refined) rice, and are not relegated to the aisle where, any moment, you may spy a John Lennon-lookalike dying for vegan cheese. It's right out there, saying loudly "I am here, and I am gluten-free. OOH-Rah!" Well, ok, it's not saying anything, if you're going to be literal.

Of course, the Koala Krispies had a message for Kellogg's. I kid you not. (And yes, I have a box of those and two of the GF Krispies. Snap Crackle Pop has never sounded so lovely or been so tempting!) There's a little banner that reads: "We've ALWAYS been proudly gluten-free". Before, it simply read, "Gluten-free."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Raging Against The Machine

I WANT to tell you that the world has an inherent sense of justice. That good things come to those who wait (Sometimes, it does, but sometimes, you get caught in a lurch for God knows how long.)
Don't let yourself get worn down by the machine that is modern society...rage against it. I know that you have to accept key things: That some people are rude, selfish individuals who expect everyone to think just like them or else. That there are those who do not hold tight to what is good, what is precious, and what is right. That some people will attempt to file you down so you can fit into their molds.
Some people work towards the good, to exhaustion, to fits of panic when they see the world wearing others down. Gone are the days of values taught automatically, of do right because it is right and not because you want something for it. Some of these people do get smacked around for their efforts. And they get up and do it again.

I want to say that sometimes the machine exhausts me, and I feel crushed for a while. While that, and the above is true, I know, that with unfair and wrong verdicts, liars, sadists, and more around, there are still, thank God, people who do love others around. That it's not bad to want and work for a better world, even if it's just a small chunk. I think the Beatles and Lovelace the penguin from Happy Feet said it best:
All in all:
"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make".

Do not BE the machine. Understand that there IS a machine, that it can wear on you but you cannot let it break you (You can't avoid a bruise.)
Be good because it is right. Treat others well. Understand that as you too will make mistakes, that others will, as well. And this is how we learn.
Love yourself first, above all. And to borrow from an old Children's Hospital slogan, "While there is life, there is hope."
Don't let yourself be just another cog in the machine. 

No matter how crushed you feel, never forget these.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Granny's Liver Convention Section A: Rights & Responsibilities

I received a challenge, and well, I've never been good at turning a challenge down. So, accepted & answered...and hopefully I can use this task to check my oil as it were, and see where my priorities are, which is usually what I use challenge games to do anyway. I am compulsive when it comes to that- I need to work my brain!

So Ron... you're on!

"Let’s have some fun with letters, but not just any old letters, this is about YOU. I took this from my old MySpace blog, from a couple of years ago. Before that, I had played it on one of my friend’s blogs on Live Journal. If you want to play, ask for a letter. I will select for you a letter, and then you will respond with 10 things that have special meaning in your life that start with that letter. They can be favorite movies, your kid's name, a hobby, a philosophy, something you're interested in; anything, as long as it is something meaningful or interesting to you.

Of course, I don't intend for you to simply name something that starts with that letter, but also tell me what it means to you, or why you like it or find interest in it.

You can't choose your own letter.
You don’t have to play, but if you ask for a letter, you must, in return, play!
Are you ready? Let the Letter Game begin!"
 Ask, and I'll randomly grab a letter. I'll be nice and stick with the 26 letter English alphabet!

I received the letter L:  

so, here goes!

  • 1-Lorelei: my very first love :) Always, baby, always. Come what may.
  • 2-Learning: If we quit wanting to know what we can, quit looking deeper, not just letting people tell us what to think and believe, we will wither and die. Ask what the Pope wears under his robes. Ask why. Never give up asking "Why?" We will never know how the world works exactly, but we cannot allow ourselves to become so jaded we give up our curiosity.
  • 3-Loving: Love those you love no matter what- you don't have to accept everything, no one can, but try to love humanity for the imperfect species it is, and because in spite of it all, damn it, there are still good people out there, and the whole is not tarnished by the few bad apples. Keep a few close, but be kind to all. And love yourself and accept your own limitations, too!
  • 4-Limits: Know and express what you can and cannot handle, so you don't finally break and scare yourself and others when you finally reach those limits. (Don't be like me and bite your tongue only to snap "I can't take it anymore!")
  • 5-Letting Go: It's painful sometimes, but it can be a life/ sanity saver. Sometimes, you have to struggle and cry a bit, and let go of something that doesn't feel right or hurts your psyche/heart , so you can heal and be free to accept good things. 
  • 6-Liabilities: Above all, you are liable and responsible...for your actions, and to yourself, ABOVE ALL. You will have to deal with yourself, when all is said and done, and answer to yourself.
  • 7-Living: You can exist: breathe the air, feed your belly and never enjoy or feel anything. Sure, you'd be existing, but you have not lived until you've tasted something because it was good, not just because it was healthy, or did something that might be terrifying but that you ended up enjoying.
  • 8-Longing: Don't spend time in an ivory tower---don't just let down your hair and sing "Rescue Me!" But instead, look forward to the future, we can all have a good one; and work towards that. Don't accept ruts and downward slopes, seek to rise above them. And do something about it!
  • 9-Liver: I don't care how persuasive your loving granny is. If you don't like it, or just can't tolerate it, don't eat it. Learn to say "NO!". This applies to any food, or any situation, really. I dub this, the "Granny's Liver Rule."
  • 10-Life Preservation: Be there for others, BUT: Do not allow yourself to sacrifice yourself for something you know in your heart is wrong. And while you must think for yourself, if you can see someone flying dangerously close to the flame, do not let yourself get injured, but try to head them off. Ultimately, they must be responsible to and for themselves, as must you--- BUT... if you know that someone is hurting, human decency says that you try to alleviate that pain, not make it worse.