I blog gluten-free

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Accept That Which You Cannot Change, & More

1)I will not get into such a frenzy for perfection that I make myself ill doing so, to the point where I become utterly useless.
2)I will not let fear get the best of me to where I almost go back to nail- biting or hiding
3)I will say when something is wrong
4)I will be there for others
5)I will say no when I have to
6)I will not allow myself to be a doormat, instead, I will stand up for myself and not let people frighten me so much
7)I will admit when I've done wrong
8)I will not let people talk over or for me anymore
9) I can, and will be better
10)I will make an attempt not to be naive or fearful
11)I will communicate better, so that my needs can be met
12)I will be an advocate for myself
13)I will be kind to all, and trust only a select few.
14)I will look for the beauty in the world, there's more of it than ugliness. If you look for the bad in mankind, you are sure to find it. If you look for the good in mankind, then, that, you are sure to find. But I still will be surprised and saddened by those who let themselves grow dark some time ago. This, I cannot change, and I have to accept it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Whirlwind and the Waterloo

It's been a mini whirl wind here--- getting ready for rarely seen relatives, and trying to make everything perfect (I am such an over achiever, I managed to put myself into "Little Whirlwind" mode- I actually could not sit down yesterday, and am now, only because they mowed again and I don't deal well with fresh cut grass and had to take benadryl. I will of course, be stir crazy before long.)... Still have some basic cooking tomorrow, plus moving laundry day- usually Friday- up a couple days.

I want things to be just right, so of course, I'm freaking out over things going wrong. It's not helping me, and I know, it's going to make me extremely tired when I'm ready to relax. Congratulations, Beth, you managed to wind yourself up good and tight! Sigh. You neurotic, picky, person, you. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dear Gloria Steinem...Lick Me

You've come a long way, baby!
Newport ads aside, we sure have. We're not barefoot, pregnant and waiting to surprise Ward with a pecan pie on a hot summer day, are we? Or sneaking a whiskey (neat!) while finishing housework, all to put on a big, pretty smile and be the sweet, retiring wife who smells vaguely like lemon where no lemons should ever go! No! We don't douche with lysol, try to be ladylike, and wear obscenely cramping underwear anymore! We are liberated! (Sets fire to bra.)

Ok, in the past century or so, we've gotten the right to vote, to show ankles in public (Oh, my!) to think for ourselves. We are not just pretty things that go nicely on a man's arm. Oh, goodness no, we can think and decide for ourselves as humans, not pretty pets.

It is good that we no longer douche with Lysol and that we do have an ability to think and decide. But we are responsible for our behavior. If we do something wrong, sorry, can't blame it on men...we did that ourselves.

So, a basic run down:
1)Some people, men included (I know, this is shocking!) still open doors for ladies and the elderly. Don't complain. When was the last time someone did something nice for you? Take it with a smile.
2)Do not emasculate men. Yes, we are all powerful, men and women alike, and for varying reasons. An emasculated man is a shell of hatred, fear and hell fire.
3)If you say you're going to do something, do it. Period.
4)Follow Marcus Aurelius's advice: If it is right, do it. If it is not right, do not do it. This means: Do not hurt others, even if you yourself have been hurt. Period.
5)Be kind to people, and not because you want something in return
6)Ladies, men are not bulls. They're not just there to inseminate and shit, don't put a ring through their noses.
7)Guess what? The world doesn't revolve around you, and you are not a special little snowflake.

As always, just because I feel rotten: "Have a happy period... ALWAYS!" *Ducks flying projectiles*

Here, just read this- read it, enjoy, hate me, whatever. Or learn from it. Beth's Self-Help Book

What Is Xanthan Gum?

Every so often, as a consequence of celiac disease, I find myself worrying about things no one else really should "What in the name of all that's holy is monosaturatedlymestyl?" (I made that one up off the top of my head, but I see some real doozies!) and of course, looking for hidden gluten, wheat starch, or barley malts, which often have a long chemical name in ingredients lists!) I had to pick up xanthan gum... it is a lovely ingredient, that adds the stickyness and stretch, and holds small particles together in a lot of our foods.
What is it?
Xanthan Gum : Please note that a little goes a long way, and as it is synthesized from cabbage, can give you the toots if you go over the recommended amount.
If you like getting technical, (I don't but often accidentally toss big words around anyway... my apologies, and no one likes playing Scrabble with me as a result.)

Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide, derived from the bacterial coat of Xanthomonas campestris, used as a food additive and rheology modifier,[2] commonly used as a food thickening agent (in salad dressings, for example) and a stabilizer (in cosmetic products, for example, to prevent ingredients from separating). It is produced by the fermentation of glucosesucrose, or lactose by the Xanthomonas campestris bacterium. After a fermentation period, the polysaccharide is precipitated from a growth medium with isopropyl alcohol, dried, and ground into a fine powder. Later, it is added to a liquid medium to form the gum.[3]
My thanks to (and you won't hear this often) Wikipedia for that particular alphabet soup!

So, basically, another beneficial bacteria, used in small amounts to aid in thickening for gravies, soups, salad dressings etc (Cornstarch works well here, as well)- ground down into a powdered-gum-form. (I fear I may lose a reader here.)

Also, it has the ability to hold small particles together (I Can't Believe It's Not Cardboard! gluten-free breads annoy the hell out of me. Hence, I stick with the rice and tapioca Udis or the rice and corn Schar---the Udis being rather thick and quite a bit like fluffy Italian bread).  

So, thickness, stickiness, and fluffiness, and lack of that God-awful "I can't believe it's not cardboard! (Actually, I can't believe it's not I can't believe it's not cardboard, and there really is more cardboard in the world than we thought.) 

All from the fruit of a lowly little cabbage. If they tell you, "Use one teaspoon"... don't say "A little more won't hurt."

I use one particular brand, because they test with the ELISA test mentioned earlier (How Testing For Gluten Is Done) ( I will go in search of a simple wording on that) and because I know it won't come from a potentially dangerous wheat form, which also exists.

There are alternatives, and I am sad to see Wiki's list is missing a lot. I will be searching these out. In the mean time, please also see:

Despite its rather alien-sounding name, xanthan gum is as natural as any other fermented corn sugar polysaccharide. The name is derived from the strain of bacteria used during the fermentation process, Xanthomonas campestris. This is the same bacteria responsible for causing black rot to form on broccoli, cauliflower and other leafy vegetables. The bacteria form a slimy substance which acts as a natural stabilizer or thickener. It was developed when the United States Department of Agriculture ran a number of experiments involving bacteria and various sugars to develop a new thickening agent similar to corn starch or guar gum.
Xanthan gum is considered a polysaccharide in scientific circles, because it is a long chain of three different forms of sugar. What's important to know is that all three of these natural sugars are present in corn sugar, a derivative of the more familiar corn syrup. The Xanthomonas campestris bacteria eat a supply of this corn sugar under controlled conditions, and the digestion process converts the individual sugars into a single substance with properties similar to cornstarch. Xanthan gum is used in dairy products and salad dressings as a thickening agent and stabilizer; it prevents ice crystals from forming in ice creams, and also provides a "fat feel" in low or no-fat dairy products.

Another use for xanthan gum is the stabilization and binding of cosmetic products. One advantage of xanthan gum is that a little goes an incredibly long way; cosmetic manufacturers only have to add a very small amount of xanthan gum to their cream-based products in order to keep the individual ingredients from separating. Despite the use of bacteria during processing, xanthan gum itself is not generally harmful to human skin or digestive systems, though some individuals may find they are allergic to it.
Xanthan gum is often used whenever a gel-like quality is sought. It is used as a substitute forwheat gluten in gluten-free breads, pastas and other flour-based food products. Those who suffer from gluten allergies should look for xanthan gum as an ingredient on the label.
Thanks to: Wise Geek dot com

This diet has taught me a lot: What may be good for many is not good for some, and even things that can be bad, can be used for good purposes. Awesome!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pure Randomness

There's this awful moment that comes when a person with no immune system is attempting to shake off a cold and various "odd ball things"...
Still clearing up my poor head- attempting to wait out the "Used Imitrex, need more, stupid doctor wants tests first" (Thud thud thud says my head)- I sometimes think the shadow of a migraine and peeling your eyeballs open for calls from mother are worse than the Pain Tidal Wave- (Are you actually getting enough sleep? Are you going off caffeine again? Kid, you sound rough- gee, thanks, Mom.) Answers to those: Yeah, yeah, yeah, definitely not my underwear... (Beth, sweetie, do you need a doctor? Me: Huh?) - Are you serious? Hook me up to a caffeine IV, Mom!- and "Yeah, yeah, yeah..." I'm sure I really assured her. That I'm sort of not quite "with it" at this point, at least. Waiting out a long wait at a restaurant--- I dragged myself out of bed for sunlight and the occasional visit from Mom, I'll do the same for the relatives from Sweden at the beginning of the month... I managed 18 sugar packets, three glasses of orange juice and half a carafe of coffee before the food came (Blessed food, strawberries and all!) and had a rather odd expression on my mother's face as a reward. I think "Yeah, sure, I'm OK" is translated to "I'll break soon, but I don't want you knowing about it."

Today, I slept like the dead, waking only to watch the sunlight, sunset, and to eat graham crackers--- sad to say, the lovely gluten-free ones I tested in January and made cheesecake crust with in March may have changed formula, or else, I'm just not tasting the honey like I used to.
Not wandering in the night like I accidentally did one day, that's a good thing. Score: 100 points, that wasn't fun. And never again shall my bedtime prayer be "Lead me to the rock that is higher than I"- I think I gave myself ideas. Although I meant it in its' most pure form... "Ok, I can't handle this... you, yeah you, you're omnipotent- you handle this, this human is resting", NOT, "Dear Brain, let us be very literal!"

In good news:
-Relearning braids. So far I manage the basic 3 strander well... hands seem to have calmed down. Will try fish tail next. Never mind that at this point, shoulder-length hair (Or just below) becomes two little paint brushes and "You're so cute," and "Pippi Longstocking, all hail!" get bandied about. Also on the list: God as my witness, even if it's only half my hair and the rest is left long, I will grasp the French braid.
I'm alive & I'm grateful for it, and can be silly.

Still, I've seen too many sad people lately, that freakin' hurts. I keep thinking it must be something in the air.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Lamb Before Wolves

The offices of Dewey, Cheatem and Howe were bustling. Ms. Vulcan, a stick thin, stringy-haired secretary worked the desk, at 6 feet tall, she hunched over a small computer in a way that brought up unfavorable comparisons to vultures. Her long, sharp, beak-like nose twitched, smelling naivete and desperation,  while she tapped her long, sharp talons, copiously painted in "Venom Vixen", a shade popularized by Hades' own Femme Fatale.  "Next?" asked the secretary, talons gleaming in harsh fluorescent light that did nothing for her sallow skin. She looked green, almost ill, but her black eyes burned, eerily healthy and horrifically bright. An older man got up nervously, avoiding her gaze.
In what was intended to be a cooing, gentle voice, but had the effect of freezing the very blood of the listeners, Ms. Vulcan smiled and waved him in to see Mr. Howe. Before the door closed behind him, he was heard to say "Dear God, why is it so humid in here?!"
Turning to the next person, who sat trying not to twitch in a hard, plastic chair under a five foot wide (life-sized) portrait of Legion Dewey, who apparently had tried to present his sweetest smile to the portrait painter and succeeded only in making viewers feel like he was going to eat them, Ms. Vulcan sweetly intoned, "Step up, please." Her strange voice, a disquieting baritone, had everyone attempting to hide a shudder. At least one unwary visitor thought they imagined a forked tongue behind the badly lipsticked mouth. "Ms. Cheatem is waiting for you, Mr. Boggs. I do hope for your sake, that you remembered to bring all of the correct paperwork with you?" Ms. Vulcan attempted a smile to reassure the hapless Boggs.
He went in, surrendering his coat as he walked through the door.
Alone for a few moments, Ms. Vulcan sat at her iPad with a beautifully glossed scarlet apple in her hooked hand, perusing the appointment book.
"Hello?" came a soft, musical little voice as Ms. Vulcan was mid-bite into the apple's scarlet flesh.
"Yes?" she attempted not to hiss back.
The owner of the voice stood at the waist high counter, a lovely young thing, shyly gazing towards the floor, a hand reassuringly playing with one of her two little French braids.
"I'm Kyrie Lessen, I'm here to see Mr. Dewey at 1:30?" said the tiny girl. In the light, her skin showed an almost unearthly glow, and her golden hair gave her a natural halo. Ms. Vulcan laughed inwardly at this tiny angelic thing, so self-conscious and nervous, across from the corpulent and ugly Legion Dewey.
"Of course, Ms. Lessen, please sign in. I do hope parking wasn't too awful."
"It's the city," said Kyrie Lessen with a small smile and shrug. The others waiting, poor souls, watched her with admiration and pity... a lamb going before ravenous wolves.
"Indeed. Read over these papers and correct any errors, Mr. Dewey will be with you shortly."
"Thank you," said the girl, and walked to a horrible plastic chair with the perilously stacked clipboard in tow.
Ms. Vulcan noted as she stepped away, the curly headed toddler holding onto the bottom of Ms. Lessen's coat for security. Child in lap, she managed to go through the reams of papers ahead of her, chin resting in the golden curls.
"A few little things, but we'll have a beautiful life, sunshine," Kyrie cooed into her child's little ear, almost as if to reassure herself as well. The child didn't twitch or get fussy, in a sort of subdued fear, she merely sat in her mother's lap, playing with ribbons on her mother's blouse and burying her face in Kyrie's chest.
"Ms. Lessen and Grace?" came a weird, hollow, deep voice.
With a quiet dignity and practiced art, Kyrie balanced Gracie on her small hip, and, holding the clipboard before her, almost like a shield, she stood in a single, liquid movement.
"Mr. Dewey," she said in her musical little voice, with a sweet smile. She didn't know the practiced, cold, lifeless smile of the bureaucrat, acting was not her forte. So she offered sunshine. An older woman shook her head sadly, out of Kyrie's view. Her focus was on the man ahead of her, and on finally distancing herself from the hell that she and Gracie were finally escaping.
Legion Dewey nodded. With a wave of his meaty hand, he gestured to the elevators, the gleaming chrome doors throwing distorted images of their reality back at them.
On the way up, Kyrie attempted small talk in spite of a fear of the man who seemed to fill the elevator with himself and a strange, noxious stench. Gracie kept her little head buried, contenting herself with the roses and violets of her mother's perfume. "It's ok, Gracie," the lilting voice told her.

"First of all, Ms. Lessen, I'd like to know your reasons for the change of surname?"
"Yes, Mr. Dewey. You see, sir, I'd like to distance myself, and my Gracie from a darker past. Being linked to my ex husband in any way, robs us of security."
"Yes, that is what your lawyer said, I wanted to hear it from you." Inside, Dewey raged: "The dark isn't so bad, you twit! It can be a comfort, no one gets to you if you harden yourself!" but he put on a placid face. He could, he thought, tempt her later.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bethglish-To-English, Part, The First

I tend to speak a language all my own... has been affectionately referred to as "Bethglish", a portmanteau of "Beth" and "English". You'll most often find these showing up unexpectedly:

Bada Bing! (Start low- ba-da and lift voice for BING!) also, the strip club frequented on the Sopranos. This is generally accompanied by my hand making a gesture near my head reminiscient of the cartoon "IDEA!" moment. Gru in Despicable Me would grin a bit and intone "LIGHTBULB!"

Bing, bang, bong: Etc, etc, etc. You'll find this when you tick off a long list and wish to shorten it to go to something else.

Bloody: a useful adjective, used in place of certain cusswords, unless I really get going. I typically prefer gee, golly, goshdarn, but occasionally will mix levels of profanity, leading to "Well, I want to kick them in their goshdarned ass!" (It's not just me, XKCD did a comic on this very subject--- XKCD: Curse Levels )

Eh: A most useful word, depending on tone, you can say something is boring, greet someone, show approval, or say that at this moment, you are incapable of further speech (please offer caffeine!) These are only a few of the uses for a most useful "neutral" tone.

Man-Stink: Not to be confused with "Oh, for the love of all that's holy, you smell like something crawled up you and died. Will you be so kind as to shower?" No, this is a good thing. I have a sensitive nose. (You should see me in the detergent aisle or around cheap wood glues!) Let's make it clear, everyone sweats. Yes, you, Percy! Every now and then a sharp, clean smell and a little sweat (think Pert Plus and natural (ew- I feel weird saying this word, it's as bad as "moist". Bad mouth feel!)-musk. A sharp clean mix of shampoo, a little natural odor, soap. Hard to describe, beautiful to behold- will make me smile. Nicer still? Being able to bury my head into the crook of the neck to smell it... and this leads us to...

Maternal Swoop and Sniff: My mom, and many others, does this without knowing or thinking about it. The back of the neck has this certain smell. I call it the natural "Freshly Washed Baby Smell". Basically fresh shampoo, soap and clean skin.

No- Means exactly that. For the longest time I was teased that I didn't know the word... I do, it's just about as difficult for me to say as Habakkuk (Old Testament prophet). But if I say it, damn it, I mean it.

And that's this edition of the Bethglish to English Translation Guide, please let me know if there's more you'd like me to define.

Let Me Guess...Is It...Seitan? (Part Deux)

Every now and then, when life gets me down, and and I'm chewing on life's grizzle... I remember that others have it worse. Or I distract myself in a most uncharitable way. I call it the Jerry Springer Continuum. That is "Cheer up. Look at the crazies! Without them, this would be a boring dark world indeed!"

I died laughing reading a Craig's List ad for someone to scare the hell out of a recalcitrant child. See:
You Suck At Craigslist for all sorts of cute, scary and just odd findings.

There was this delightful little ad:

Need someone to be satan to scare child

Lately my son who is 9 years old has been getting a little out of hand. He has the foulest mouth I have ever heard and wont stop smoking. He talks back yells at his mother and pretty much any other bad thing you can think of a child doing . I am looking for someone willing to come to my home dressed as satan to scare my child into being good. You would need to have a devil type costume and just come in the house surrounded by smoke and scary music then just talk to him and let him know if he does not change his ways he will be joining you down in hell. Maybe explain to him that hell is hot all the time and that he will have to do homework 24 hours a day in hell (he hates homework). I feel this will scare him into being good . I dont have a lot of time or patience for the discipline stuff

This, of course is bloody awful. Don't do it! But... think about this logically. Has ANYONE (and I've used it myself) ever gotten exactly what they were looking for out of Craig's List? This little gem illustrates the Continuum nicely, and makes me, who actually tries to avoid passing bread baskets at restaurants and events, chuckle madly.
My thanks to ghostcat and You Suck At Craigslist, it was the best chuckle I'd had in a while!
He was here, the guy from CraigsList! Now all of Merle’s parenting troubles would be over. With a glance down the hall towards his son’s room, where a thick fog of cigarette smoke lingered and the the muted click of glass against glass was nearly drowned out by the flood of curses, he headed towards the front door. It was Junior’s poker night; Merle had seen him only minutes before in the kitchen, dressed in his SpongeBob pajamas, getting more ice out of the freezer.
Merle hurried to the door, hoping the bell hadn’t disturbed Junior. He didn’t want to get the belt again. Flinging open the door, he noticed that Junior had been practicing carving his intials into the wood again. Better that than when he had used their living room furniture to perfect his tagging techniques.
On the steps was a large lumpy shape, vaguely man-shaped and man-sized, that smelled strongly of garlic and soy sauce. It resembled uncooked bread dough and had been splashed generously with a thick, dark red liquid. A drop fell on Merle’s wrist and he absently licked it off.
Barbecue sauce.
“Hey, you Merle?”
Merle nodded.
“Finally! Do you know how many Deffenberks there are in this town? I’ve been getting all kinds of strange looks. Where can I plug in the smoke machine?”
Merle’s mouth, which had been working as frantically as a hairdresser on meth, finally produced words.
“What…You…But…But you’re suppose to be Satan!” The lumpy thing seemed to roll its eyes, but it could have been a couple of sesame seeds shifting position.
“Of course I’m seitan! That’s what you asked for, right?”
“Not seitan,” Merle hissed “I wanted Satan! Satan!”
“Geez, you don’t have to get upset. Look, I printed out the ad. It says “satan” right here.” From somewhere within the creases in the brown mass a hand produced a crumpled piece of paper, speckled with sauce.
“Yes! Satan! The devil! Old Scratch, the Prince of Lies, Mr. Mephistopheles! Not seitan!” Merle was trying to keep his voice low but he could not help twitching his arms about like a gaffed trout. The stranger studied the sauce-dampened paper for a moment.
“Oh. I just thought you misspelled seitan. No one spells anything right on CraigsList.” He paused. “Listen, since I’m here already and I built this suit, do you want me to try scaring the kid?”
“No! He regularly terrorizes biker gangs! Nuns weep blood when he passes them on the street! Every pet within a ten mile radius has run away! An animate lump of boiled wheat gluten isn’t going to scare him! Why would you think that?!?”
The drippy lump looked down at its shapeless shoes.
“I thought he might have celiac disease or something like that.”

May Be Deleted ASAP

This may or may not make sense, and if so, it gets deleted the second I feel better.

It's been a year (really?) since Grandma went, and while things began catching up to me in late March early April, they're really catching me now. At this moment, I realize that constant "I'm OK's" and stubborness led to a whopper of a migraine complete with nausea... which means, I get up and eat soup and then crawl back into bed. Which has the ability at this point of making me feel like I'm on a damned ship going nowhere fast. Any big decisions are postponed indefinitely. I've hated telling people "No, I really don't want to be around noise and chaos"-- that's true, the bigger truth is---smells, motion and light (at this point, the only light on is a dimmed laptop screen) are messing with me. Something came through not long ago, reminded me of a shriek and made me bury my head under a pillow.

I will not be handling drama. I will quickly say hellos to those I care for, and the few I actually speak to, and then, back to bed with I and the cranium. After I finish my soup. It's a bit slow going. And yes, I will behave and speak to my doctor.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Miles...To..Go...Before I Sleep...Olay!

Forever <3
Oh, the Muppets--- how I love them. Even though my favorites are now "classics"- egads! Sorry, Elmo, you're cute, but my heart belongs to a little blue oddball. I love you, Grover :)
But... I couldn't resist Fozzie's reading of "Stopping By The Woods On A Snowy Evening". One of my favorites, but, sadly, the last line may be forever stuck in my head as "I. have. prom.ises. to. keep. And. miles to go. Be.fore I. sleep--olay!"
Always did find Hernando's Hideaway a bit creepy, something about a dark.secluded.place.where. no one. knows your face. struck me as dangerous, but hey, people like that kind of atmosphere.
This is utterly precious in my opinion.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Bethglish-to-English Dictionary, Submissions Welcome

I am considering my own dictionary. No matter how often I say that I'd like to "Seek not to be understood, but to understand", I realize I have my own language, politely known as Bethglish. So, here's where you can be my editor. Give me a list of the odd words and phrases I use, and I will attempt to be my snarky, silly self, and, for no extra charge, define them into English. American-English, or English-English? I haven't decided yet. (Chances are, it will be a weird combination of phrases, and guaranteed to confuse at least once.) So get your submissions in!

Take a Sad Song and Make It Better

Music has a capability to bear us up, cheer us up, make us laugh, make us yearn, make us a bit nostalgic for the past. So, a quickie, video-less top 10 list of the "Uppers", in no particular order. Smile :) I'm trying to choose darkhorses, songs that may not be checked out otherwise, more's the pity.

10) Cornershop- the original, not the Fat-Boy Slim version of Brimful of Asha. You may recognize this is as a ditty that repeated, throughout, about 17 times, "Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow". True enough, and you don't always necessarily need to be thinking of literal "bosoms" (which I'm informed only large maiden aunts have.)
9)The Pogues- If I Should Fall From Grace With God- sure, it's made to be a drinking song---loud, with whooping...and maybe some rather dark lyrics to a feisty tune
8)Taco- Puttin' On The Ritz - (Or the version from Young Frankenstein.) Trivia: Numerous Berlin songs are referenced in the song & video, including White Christmas. Yup. If you're blue and you don't know where to go to... this is precisely what you need. It's beautifully, fantastically, weird!
7)Gaelic StormRaised On Black And Tans (Sharp observers may recognize Gaelic Storm as the steerage band in Titanic)
6)Cracker/ Adam Duritz (from the Counting Crows) - Darling One
Not found so easily on Youtube, but audio files are plentiful. Very sweet and calming
5)Ben Lee- Song For the Divine Mother of the Universe . Nothing fancy, done in a simple repeat form. Peaceful.
4)Tennis- Marathon- very bright, almost a 1950's cooing quality
3) The Five Stairsteps- Oooh Child. Yes, baby, it gets better. I swear.
2)Thurston Joseph Moore (You may know him from Sonic Youth.)- Benediction 
Musically, it's the equivalent of tea and a fuzzy blanket. You can't help but smile no matter how weary you are.
1) The Scissor Sisters- Fire With Fire
Big, bright, light hearted. A weary fighter's song--- but with no signs of tiredness.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

No, Really...Trust Me!

There is a sick affliction among those whose curiosity runs to infinity.
The phrase "Trust me, don't google that, whatever you do" sounds like "No running" to a puppy or a toddler. That is, we read or hear "Google" and "run" and the curious side takes over. Or we choose to take it as an order. "Challenge accepted!" -"Oh, God, no. No, no, no..."

Nobody, for God's sake, nobody--- needs to see surgical procedure photos. Believe me--- I went, out of curiosity (Medical curiosity is part of life) after seeing an old friend's post on laproscopic knee surgery--- I found that "Laproscopic k" gave me a result for a form of kidney surgery I am thrilled not to have gone under. I will love and be proud of the thick scar that runs halfway around me. Basically giving birth to a kidney is not something I'd like to undergo. (As for males, the "scar less" kidney surgery may be infinitely worse. Please, on all that is holy, right, true, and good, I beg of you, sisters and brethren, DO NOT GOOGLE FOR THE SCAR LESS VERSION OF KIDNEY SURGERY. 
This is not my newest scare... I handled, with some success, bizarre forms of sexual congress, laugh now at rather, uh, seminal pottery, convinced Mom that there's a site where people um, dress up as Smurfs and really like breakfast foods (that lie hurt a lot. The truth would have been a million times worse.) Sadly, curiosity runs strong, and I will frighten myself more and more.

-Never again will I be able to listen to Dead Or Alive's You Spin Me Right Round (Flo Rida's version was always awful.)
-Never shall I be able to look at lemons quite the same
-"Japanese Cuisine" makes me giggle madly
-The goatse mug is really funny and I want one!

And white arrow is a terrible google image search. Stick with goatse. TRUST ME.
Relax... don't do it!

Considering how I feel about mornings...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

If I Should Fall From Grace With God

At this point, I'm doing a lot of reading, and enjoying the Pogues turned up as loud as possible. This seems to be the only "noise" I can handle at present- need to run soon... I can use a bit of a vacation of any sort. Not handling anything "heavy"... not capable. Still in the search for sanctuary.

In the meantime, please enjoy the Pogues, with this fast (I had to google the lyrics first) and loud, stomping, whooping, and fun song, If I Should Fall From Grace With God

Beginning lyrics, if needed, are:

If I should fall from grace with god 
Where no doctor can relieve me 
If I'm buried 'neath the sod 
But the angels won't receive me 

Let me go, boys 
Let me go, boys 
Let me go down in the mud 
Where the rivers all run dry 

From: Lyrics Freak

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

For Lovers, For Dreamers, and Me... the 2011 Music List

Music is a huge part of life, and we all adore a good countdown, don't we? So, in no particular order:

I can never help feeling a bit nostalgic, and these two in particular have me smiling even on a bad day:

The Counting Crows-Mr. Jones
I have had and heard many versions, I still like the acoustic version from On A Wire best, in which the VH1 Story Tellers series (funny, I see nothing from that now, it did offer me a new appreciation for a lot of bands & songs) recorded the performance from the Hammerstein Ballroom onto discs.
(The one time when I wasn't annoyed by talking before and after songs.)

 And of course, the anthem of dreamers everywhere, complete with ukulele. Purists may say that Judy Garland does Somewhere Over the Rainbow best, but there's something pure in itself in this big man with a sweet voice. And so hopeful.

 Childhood classics: I grew up with a lover of the 60's classics. Puff the Magic Dragon was a huge part of my life- indeed, I even had a little orange dragon named Puff to dream along with.   Of course, it's not complete without Sonny & Cher. Sound might be a bit off, this is obviously NOT remastered. And last year, I heard a lot about the most depressing Christmas song. Not to be confused with the Little Drummer Boy. The only version of that that does not fill my heart with a hot, crimson rage is that done by David Bowie and Bing Crosby, made sad by the hopeful voices and Bing's death not long after the recording. The contenders are: HaveYourself a Merry Little Christmas, sung in "Meet Me in St. Louis", by Judy Garland to the lovely little dear who held funerals for her dolls: No offense, Judy, but it's hard to have a merry little anything if you're "muddling through"! And of course, the perennial classic, brought to you by the Pogues, and the only Christmas song I know of that uses "Merry Christmas, you arse, I pray to God it's our last", "Bum, maggot, cheap lousy faggot and 'slut on the junk'."

Monday, August 8, 2011


Sanctuary isn't always found in marble and stone... you can find it in the sweet and simple. That doesn't always stop me from taking an occasional solo journey into a church... to smell the incense and the candle wax, the ancient books and the dust of ages... to listen to my own breathing in the air under an arched ceiling, and to quiet myself, in the sweetly scented air and feel the cloak of tradition and the joy of those who came, to feel truly small in the embrace of something that is larger than us.
"Lead me to the rock that is higher than I..."

Then there's waning summer, with its' chilly promise in the air, the grass beneath me, the sky above, watching the pinks, peaches, yellows, oranges, and blues softly fade to black and peer through the light pollution for the ever-changing moon and the twinkling stars. A blanket of black velvet, a cloak fit for a king, with softly twinkling gems and the occasional red light of an airplane headed to the airport in the east.
Still in thin cotton and shorts, feeling the promise of autumn and already catching the decay... the tree not far away that the Japanese beetles hit, to feast on tender leaf, leaving only a frame and lattice work, beautiful in austere death. And wishing upon a star... the old rhyme my father taught me... "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the first wish I wish tonight..."
and twiddling a damaged leaf in my fingers perhaps without thinking, seeing through the oddly beautiful lace work left behind by devastation, the glory in the sky above... and maybe hope for a blacker night, just to dream away under the soft twinkle.

And feeling the promise of chill and devastation, of winter and its' charms and pains in the air and in my bones...

There's cars big as bars, and rivers of gold, but the wind goes right through you, it's no place for the old..._ Fairytale of New York, by the Pogues

There is still beauty in that which is damaged...
And just maybe, there's somewhere for me. For now, it's on a hill, in the waning summer, dreaming.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Puzzle Piece- Finding a Place

In life, our experiences shape us. When something is off, like needing years of physical, occupational and speech therapies, as opposed to doing what most people do naturally, it can be hard to feel like you fit...someone will ask you about things, and try as you might, you can come off sounding awkward and accidentally charming people (to where they ooze with the awwws, rather than the intended goal.)

For example, last week, I was actually offered a coloring book with a meal. I had no idea there were 5'5" children under 12. (Well, I did, but that's not the norm, yet, is it?) Granted, with the time some meals take, distraction is the key, but how embarrassing, and it wasn't like I could tuck into the dinosaur shaped chicken tenders that looked tempting. (Make the most of it.)
I'm trying to figure out some things--- to understand that often, men may make my age out to be 19 at the most, (16 is the median.), that people may talk down to me, which I hate, or, if they hear me struggle or stutter from stress, may try to talk for me, while I become more frustrated. I understand that someone of similar build and coloring may be mistaken as a parent rather than a friend. People have often asked my own mother if I was adopted (No, I take after Dad for the most part.) or if she is my grandmother, which I suppose may happen simply because she had me at 35.

I have needs and urges, much like anyone else may have. I don't want to lead on anyone if there is no interest, but I would like more of a reaction than "Aww" if I do try a flirt. I don't want to be anything less than a lady- but do want to know if the eyes light up with joy or um... well.
I tend to be of a Junie Cleaver bent... I prefer the simpler things, think a lady should be a lady... but also feel free to show she is in touch with the side of human nature some erroneously take to be "dirty". Actually, in anger, I was once told I wanted pearls, white picket fences and a Beave and Wally. This merely got me irritated enough to say "In this world, a little bit of class is a good thing! Not everything needs to be offered to every Tom, Dick and Harry!"
I want to know, and maybe share, the side of me whose eyes don't get big when someone says something dirty (often because they know I'll turn my face away after my eyes bug out so they hopefully don't see me suddenly feeling warm.) Not the bookworm side. I don't want to be overwhelmed and feel like I need to hide to calm myself. I want to face someone and have them see me as a woman, as--dare I say---sexy?

Courtesy of Glitter On Wheels and their craft for the week Glitter on Wheels
I actually was saddened when I realized that I could still do a comparison with a painting my parents got as a child--- when things got to be too much, I'd hide in a corner. I think a few of my parents' friends wondered if I was being punished until they saw what was happening. Too much negativity, (in some cases, someone constantly being ill, or squabbles, or complaints about God only knows what) noise, abrupt, almost violent actions, people fighting publicly, or just needing to center, and I still feel a need to find the place where no one can get to me. I laughed it off as "My parents did joke that that was me"... but I want to be fully a woman. To be cared for, but to feel like I can be wild as well as a goofball.

Thing is, even if naive about some things, I do know---there is darkness in the world, there are horrors. But there's goodness too. And I hope I do show that. But I want to be more than a "sweet" or "cute" girl. I also want to know I'm sexy.
(Confused? Welcome to my version of the Rubic's Cube.)

As for this: purely incidental. Painting on right: "The Special Pleader" by Charles Burton-Barber. I actually possess this oil print.

So, I suppose, the goal is: Be natural. Be myself. Let the naysayers nay to their heart's content, that's their right. Try to know all sides of me. And to deny the ability to pressure me. I am not like anyone or everyone else. That's good. But I have many facets, we all do. And I must know myself. And for now, say my thank yous, my I love yous and my goodnights and goodbyes to the appropriate persons. And above all, forgive myself for the past, we all screw up. I have a place, somewhere. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Goodbyes and Goodnights, Repost From 2010

Transcript of my speech for Grandma.
On August 6th, 2010, the world lost a beautiful soul--- a little, funny, sarcastic, sweet love of a woman who meant so much to us all. Who knew how to be silly and laugh at herself, who loved her family, and forever carried a photo of her beloved husband, as he was as a young man, hair oiled as it was in the 40's and 50's, dressed in his dapper suit, and loved their Hawaii photos in the matching 1970s bright orange with white hibiscus bathing suits and leis. (And bandied around the we got lei'd gag with a big grin.)
Here's to you, Champ. I love you!

Dearest Grandma, you and Grandpa are reunited now for the first time since 1988.
Dearest Grandma. I'm not saying goodbye. I'll mourn that you aren't here...the sunny presence, the cooking, the constant "Are You Hungrys"... 
Grandma, I won't say good bye. 
I'm saying goodnight, Dear Friend, Third Parent, Teacher, chef, nurse... 
You were more than a 17 year old bride married in a priest's house to a Lutheran who fought in WWII. More than a Westinghouse employee, helping build electronics, and ironically driving my friends stinky great uncle (small world, huh?) home. More than a Grandma... you were Grandma to me, Jeff, Brit, Brandon, and to Jilly-Bean, and her son, our beautiful nephew.
You constantly begged for pics, and Jilly-Bean was happy to oblige if I didn't have all the people depicted... you thought the Darling Boy in his swim trunks, was handsome. 
You taught me a poker face, although I never quite figured out poker! You let me be me, got books, spoiled me, and loved me. 
Dearest Grandma...
Barvch Dayan Emes. I love you. Rest now, sweet Grandma. 
Goodnight, farewell, 'til I see you again. 
Mmmhmm I want to linger
Mmmhmm a little longer
Mmmhmm a little longer here with you
Mmmhmm as the years go by
Mmmhmm I will remember
mmmhmm that tonight is goodnight, and not goodbye.

(Note: verbally, I couldn't get 6 words without crying. Most of this was in a note I buried with her.) 

NSFW: The Grapes of Wrath

Unbelievable. There are incredibly dumb people out in the world... Lord knows, I seem to attract them with "Bring me your annoyances, your morons, your opinionated..." attitude (this must be on an invisible tattoo I wear on my forehead.)

Ok, let's discuss. Mind you, I hate discussing politics as much as I do gynecology. You don't need to keep comparing dick size, and no one truly needs to know about a sick vagina.

We are in a recession, people. Life is hard. Sure, be joyful, learn to enjoy the sweet and simple. BUT...
Paying more than most new cars do to be able to look like extras from the Grapes of Wrath? Mr. Steinbeck, I'm sure, was smiling down at this delightful ceremony. No, wait... poor word choice. I mean, rolling over in his grave.

Before I go into other God-awful themes for celebrations, here's the delightful tale, of people who learned about hobo culture through Urban Dictionary (for the love of Pete, Urbies are possibly only appropriate if you're looking for a new and funny string of insults. Like, maybe: Cockswagglingbluecuntwaffle.)

Historical Prospective:
The Great Depression
A terrible time in history, throughout the late 20's and 30's. 24% unemployment, rampant homelessness and poverty, childhood mortality up... get an image? Ok, now, think about that...dust bowl, hungry children. Selling tires for food. Itinerant workers, getting ripped off. Fun, right? Like, totes more fun than a barrel of monkeys? Right? Of course, right!

Oh, I know. I couldn't believe it myself. What could be more exciting than this?!

And now: These Blooming Idiots

Two people fell in love & married. Awesome! (Zero sarcasm.)
Then, they did this really cool thing, where they spent many thousands of dollars, dressing up as depression-era displaced people traveling and attempting to make ends meet. Freakin' awesome, daddy-o.
Like totally awesomesauce, they also served fake moonshine and food out of paper bags. Cool beans, dude!

None of this appeals to me. That's my right. What pisses me off: we are many TRILLIONS in debt. People are losing homes, living on shoestrings, and they act like being a poor hobo, (depression era, not Jack Keurack, have Auntie mail you money, Rebel without a cause style) is, like, totally sweet, so why were photographs of poor people in the Depression so grumpy? A dangerous life of becoming a slave and trying like hell to make ends meet is like, totes sweet!

Oh, hell, I'm too mad. I'll let these people talk.
THIS, THIS, is something to celebrate? THIS?!

Please note: At this time, the woman above was 32 years old. SHOCKING.

Photographer: Dorothea Lange: "I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it."

And then, she expressed her fervent hope that two people with thousands of dollars to spend would show their love by celebrating her incredibly fun life, caught on film by a photographer for the Farm Security Administration. Oh, wait... no, she didn't! 
"Darling, your eyes glow by the light of the trash can fires, and your emaciated frame and rapidly aging face are so lovely to me. As there is tragedy in the world, so too may our love be, world without end, amen."
Romantic stuff.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Updates From the FDA

"Nothing ever gets done, nothing ever changes... it's all talk and pipe dreams and then NOTHING!" - an exasperated and annoyed statement that even I've fallen prey to.

In April, celiacs went to Washington DC, where they again made a point clear to the FDA: the time for clear food labeling is NOW. It isn't always simple shopping with food issues- many companies get it, some don't and you have to learn to read labels (this is where one may seem obsessively picky.) Also, accidentally peppering conversations with long chemical names, all to bemused looks when you really weren't trying to show off, tends to happen once you've become a peruser (Peruse means to look over carefully, not just scan.) of labels.
"What's in red dye?" (Like it or not, you've likely eaten some crushed beetles.)

The FDA has been promising to work on labeling for gluten-free foods for over 4 years now. Today, a statement was issued on the FDA's site:

FDA Consumer Updates: A Glimpse At Gluten

How Is FDA Proposing to Define ‘Gluten-Free’?
In 2007, FDA proposed to allow manufacturers to label a food “gluten-free” if the food does not contain any of the following:
  1. an ingredient that is any type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains
  1. an ingredient derived from these grains and that has not been processed to remove gluten
  1. an ingredient derived from these grains and that has been processed to remove gluten, if it results in the food containing 20 or more parts per million (ppm) gluten
  1. 20 ppm or more gluten
In the notice reopening the comment period, FDA states that it continues to believe the proposed definition of “gluten-free” is the correct one.

The FDA is of course a government agency, so--- KEEP telling them to get off their butts and do more than promise!
For further information, please contact: 1 In 133 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Howling At The Moon

Having a mixed bag of sensitivities, allergies, and medical conditions, I'm generally not surprised to find I've had a reaction again.

Saddened though--- a very special gift was sterling silver--- I now unfortunately look like I had a really rollicking good time without the pleasure of actually having had the uh "Super Happy Fun Time".
I'm considering having the silver necklace dipped in rhodium or something... I still have to have a 60 year old string of pearls from Grandma polished up and restrung (The cord it was on is rotting.) so might as well do a double-deal.

If you've had metal sensitivities, what do you use to avoid them? I've had some success (SOME) with earrings for people with sensitivities and have a titanium CBR in my upper ear, which has never bothered me. Even when I've had to put a bandage over it for MRIs and scans. Does a rhodium dip help, or should I try to find a chain in a less nasty metal that is the same color? And in the meantime, I'm really using a lot of neosporin to heal up!