I blog gluten-free

Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year Resolutions

It's that time. I know where I am. I know where I want to go. And now, it's time to improve.

1)I will NOT vaguebook. If I do need to say something, I'll be straight to the point.
2)No more going after those little pet-peeves life throws at me with the "Letters to Entities Unlikely To Read Them".
3)I will say no with confidence.
4)I will not be ashamed for things I did not do. Nor will I be ashamed for what others have done.
5)I will stand for myself if need be.
6)If it's needed, I might not ask for help...as that's something I have the hardest time with, but will try to accept it better.
7)If someone is hurting, I'll be there. Period.
8)I will work on being tougher.
9)I will NOT give up trying to make the world brighter.
10) I will find and enter a nutrition program.
11) I will not let people be afraid.
12)I will not be afraid.

And now, to see what I can check off.

glitter-graphics.com Have a blessed and beautiful New Year. Here's to new things, to enjoying those who we never want to or could replace, and of course, to health, to good food, and to growth. God bless!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

If You Build It...

It's getting towards that time for New Year's resolutions and promises to treat myself better and do better. First of all: focusing on survival may be important, but you end up forgetting to live. Time to get out there, and learn to live. Life cannot possibly be all paperwork and while being an adult is a time when we put away childish thing, there's no harm whatsoever in occasionally letting myself enjoy the childlike--- (Fraggle Rock? Yes, don't mind if I do.)

Let's see... here's where I am... let me see where I can go.

The house I grew up in: was a house. Sometimes bright and bustling with Polish foods and various new foods to try when Dad couldn't have potassium, etc. Sometimes, a little bit of a prison.

When I was a child I wanted to be: First, the world's foremost expert in mothering a stuffed baby seal larger than I was, named Binky. Then a lawyer---but I detest arguing. (If, as a child, you hide when people fight... law is not your cup of tea.) After a while, I started being extremely interested in just what human beings are made of...from the most basic "building blocks" G, T, C, and A, on up.

The moment that changed me for ever: There's so many candidates for this one. I'd have to say that the most recent was learning that the "healthy" foods I'd been given had damaged my ability to retain and use nutrients.

My greatest inspiration: Eeek. So many, many candidates. Those who showed me what not to do. Those I turned away from. Those I kept. I thank them all. I thank, whole-heartedly, all of them. Positively?  In particular, my mother, my nephew, the Miracle Boy, and his feisty, tall, and gorgeous mama.

My real-life villain: I know this woman who uses God to allow many nasty and despicable acts and abuses...and running a family that is something like a cross between the clan in Deliverance and Jim Jones and his group.  With a touch of Leatherface tossed in.

My style icon: I always liked the classics from the 40's and 50's.

If I could change one thing about myself: Among other things, I am working on my confidence. I need to learn how to say no and not expect a smack.

At night I dream of: A lot, actually. Some horrible, some good. And some that, upon waking, I scratch my head over and intone "What... was... that?"

What I see when I look in the mirror I see: My eyes change between three colors naturally--- mother has green eyes, Dad was baby blue... Jeff and I got a strange mixture... he's got Mountain-Dew-ish green cat's eyes. Mine go between blue, gray, and green and mixtures of them... I like seeing what they do.

My favourite item of clothing: Right now, I have fallen deeply in love with one of my Christmas gifts (all of them, but besides the extremely organic free-range eggs from Mom's chickens, and the ribbon candy from an adopted grandma of sorts and... :-) ) --- I have a new pair of casual moccasins... (Bearpaw Moc II---)  holy cow are they warm and nice! I just wish I didn't have such narrow feet!

I wish I'd never worn: EEK! Where do I begin? I grew up between the three-can of Aquanet and angular clothing stage (At that time, I was decidedly less stylish in my heavy orthopedic boots- leg deformity that I had to have corrected- over alls, ragged jeans and the floucy baby doll dresses Mom put me in), the grunge era- not too bad---just gotta make it clean! and the 60s-70s revival. Let's go with... uh... the horrific Lucille Ball got a bad concussion red I tried in 9th grade.

It's not fashionable but I like: big sweaters, even over the girly version of short boxer shorts I tend to relax in.  If they go to my thigh, or lower, all the better!

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at : I can sing, I can write (barely legibly) with my feet, and at one point, I hated it, but I wasn't bad at canoeing. I always ended up with someone I'd have to correct, and it hurt the shoulder.

You may not know it but I'm no good at : arguing. I suck at it. Because I hate it so much. I also have trouble saying no, (there's a resolution I'm working on) and seeing angry people scares me and I'll need to try to nurse them.

All my money goes on : I try to save actually, but in this day and age and a GF diet? It tends to be food!

If I have time to myself : I love to head out, walk like crazy, go out, read, find new and interesting music, or play with manicures. After years of biting my nails, I like to play with them now.

I drive : Myself completely and utterly insane, because I know me way too well.

My house is : My first true taste of freedom.

My most valuable possession is : I don't really put a lot of stock in possessions. I've lost so many, and have had to replace things slowly now that I've gotten closer to a "safe and comfortable" place, that I consider only people valuable.

My favourite building : I love large, old buildings. And lighthouses. And pretty little cottages.

Movie heaven : Casablanca. Freaks. Yes, Freaks. (lesson learned: Don't get your head too far up your ass. In the end, it's those who insist that they are better than every one else that end up being the true freaks.) It's from 1932. And thanks to someone who bought it after MGM suppressed it (for rather awful imagery) for years, it is now in public domain.

A book that changed me : Each book you read educates or teaches you to see in new ways. I rather liked The Three Questions by Jon Muth. It's based off Tolstoy, (I adore Tolstoy's writings). And it does help to ask yourself about how you should live and treat others here and there, and work on improving it.
the Three Questions

My favourite work of art : May sound a little silly, but Dancers in Blue by Degas. And of course, Van Gogh's Starry Night.

The last album I bought/downloaded: Radical Face's Family Tree: The Roots. Highly recommended.

The person who really makes me laugh: Some of my friends get me laughing so hard tears will come to my eyes and my stomach will hurt, and all I can think is "Please, stop... it hurts!" I love them for it.

The shops I can't walk past: When I was a child, my mother nicknamed me "Mrs. Marcos" because I couldn't help but stare at the pretty party shoes. I wanted something other than my heavy boots! Now, it's the bookstore. No weird affectionate nickname based on a dictator's wife, yet.

The best invention ever: Think of the beckoning whisper from Field of Dreams. *Smirk!*

In 10 years' time, I hope to be: Somewhere with a porch swing, a basenji, and I'll leave it there. :)

My greatest regret: I have a terrible habit of adopting "ugly puppies"--- people who you think "Oh, it's been tough, they just need patience and care" about and end up biting you.

My life in seven words: "It's tough, sometimes. But, it's worth it."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hey, Mary, What are you Gonna Name That Pretty Lil' Rock 'n' Rollin' Baby?

Time for ultra, ultra silly. Let's say you belong to a torn-jeans and pigtail wearing, angsty garage band. (I've loved Nirvana since I was a small child. I still occasionally pull out my grungies- which of course, work SO well with my usual 10 inch high suede boots and my tight pea jacket, yes?)

The idea here is:
Take the above paragraph. You're a rock star. (You are, of course!) You're releasing your first CD. But, hey, Mary, what are you gonna name that pretty lil' rock 'n' rollin' baby?

Go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
This is the name of your band.

Next: Go to http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last 4 words of the very last quote is the title of the album. (I admittedly made it 5, but my rules, and I can break them as I please.)

And last: go to:  http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/
The third random photo is the album pic.

Edit it all together in a graphics program, and Voila!

And my result?

Please put your hands together for the musical stylings of...

HMS Adventure (M23) and their delightful freshman effort, "It's Not Holding A Charge". Sadly, the sweet little bird is currently recovering from what is euphemistically called "A nervous breakdown". We do hope to hear from the sweet singer of sweet songs again, soon.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Stress Comes Wrapped in Pretty Paper and Tinsel

Now that most of the holidays are over (I know Epiphany Day, the day the Wise Men visited the young Christ is coming up, and that, I keep close as a way of saying "Yeah, they get better) I think I can vent. I don't want to. I don't like to. I need to.

-I am so goddamn tired of trying to keep a family together that prefers to argue (Oh, but we come together for copious amounts of free booze when someone kicks the bucket, don't we?)
-Mom, I try not to tell you "no"...because I was raised to know that's disrespectful. Well, I'm saying it.
I was scared out of my mind with that well-meaning "Rest of your life" bit in a Christmas card. (I don't look behind that door.) I'm not going for a "rest of"... we all know I am not at my healthiest. We all know I'm trying to fix that. I want to simply live, without looking for the Reaper behind every corner. I know...it was innocent and well intentioned, but with everything, that's scary. While we're at it...
-Those damn people who call you instead of me, who, when they talk to me, treat me like utter shit, then start a cycle of nothing happening. I already detest being spoken FOR... I accept that from no one. I also don't like that knowing my wishes, you decided to go ahead and do what you wanted. With hefty paperwork to fill out. All of which is due in a time limit that is impossible to reach...you simply cannot mail back 40 sheet stacks of paperwork in a day. Or it comes the day after it's due.
-Feeling like I am responsible for how people think and act. For being so terrified to speak to people because I am trying to deal with my stuff alone, that I end up making it worse. Because I'm supposed to be a good girl, and besides... "what's Jeff doing?" Well, Mom, I can give you three guesses, thank you so much for letting me actually try to explain things you asked me about!
-Making me feel guilty because I'm just trying to survive, making me feel fear by calling me about drama, mentioning people I try to forget. No, remembering that bitch of a former-mother-in-law smacking me around while preaching her brand of Christianity doesn't give me nightmares, at all! Of course, the crowning achievement: Yes, I made mistakes. I do not need them shoved in my face every moment. I have been trying to get PAST them. Part of it, is attempting to find good things and people.
I'm frustrated. I don't get a voice. I have to be a good girl, and behave. And if I say "Look, I don't like this" I'll be punished. But what do I know? I'm just too sensitive. But not too sensitive to have everyone else's problems shoveled onto me.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Blessed Christmas Hopes, Wishes & Early Resolutions

Have a blessed Christmas.
For pagan friends, I'm not forgetting you... after all, you are the originators of a day to celebrate light at the darkest time of year, the mistletoe (never mind that in old Germanic languages, romance under something that translates into "poop on a stick" seems a bit odd. :-p ! ) trees, candles...thank you!
May your yule, your Christmas, your Hanukkah, all be blessed. Your Kwanza and Eid as well!

It gets so dark... may those struggling, find joy and peace.

Seems odd to do so now, but I think it's time to think of promises to self... not "I will eat less, I will go to the gym, I'll go to Mass more..." --- this has plagued me forever, and it's time to say it... I must learn to say no... I do not need to worry about a smack for doing so anymore. I must learn to ask for help and say when something bugs me. I must learn to accept help with grace. I need to go past pride and eventually learn to lean when I need it. So there's my Resolution. I always give myself the tough ones.

I think this is one of the few Christmas wishes that involves the word "Poop"... heh... ignore that.

Have a bright and blessed season. Love yourself. Care for yourself. And with family drama running amok (sadly, Christmas drama seems to be a norm. :-( But around now, it IS dressed in pretty lights and tinsel! )

Be blessed.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide- The Ultra Basics

'Tis the week of... complete and total insanity!

First things first: take care of yourself. Pulling out your hair and going completely blitheringly insane will not help you.
Ok, let's take a look at general types of gifts:

The Duty Gift : 
Don't do it!
Now, if you absolutely must buy a gift for someone you don't like (Even I've found myself here) don't bother trying to extend an olive branch for Christmas, or knock yourself out attempting to charm someone who, for whatever reason, just irks you.
My former MIL and SIL were rather nasty women. I gave up on trying to crack their hard outer shells... I do believe they might be hollow, no chocolate cream filling there. Here, the drug store coffee mug bought at 11PM or later on Christmas eve works. Also, if you're forever hanging out with people you are forcing yourself to be nice to, out of "They are human and therefore deserve love because of that" start re-evaluating, and make a few changes. This might be the nicest gift you give yourself. But don't stop trying to be nice... I can tell you the amount of nasty people is actually outnumbered by the kind people, they're just generally quieter.
You aren't giving this with a genuine smile. So quit scratching your head over it. Try a $25 Wal*Mart card. (I detest shopping at Wal*Mart, so consider this my only advertising for Sam Walton's satanic super store of horror.)

Mom is generally easy. But please remember, she is responsible for your very existence and didn't throttle you no matter what mischief you got yourself into.
Please, for God's sake, no reindeer sweaters! Try something nice to allow her to spoil herself.
Say I love you, say thank you.
Exhibit A: "Amazing Gratitude"- nice and fresh, clean.
For the non bubble bath variety, work with their interests (You know your mom, right?) - try picking up a classic film. A nice tin of tea with a bow on it. A really awesome photo in a nice frame. A nice sweater she can wear all year round... a good book. Spend time with her over a meal you make for her. Make her coffee (IN A NICE MUG. No chintzy Santas here.)
If all else fails, give her a hug and a cup of tea, and hand her one of these, so she can choose something to pamper herself. Make sure to let Mom know she needs to spoil herself, too!
Philosophy Gift Cards

This might be tough... but I'll give her a go. A book on classic cars. A model of the Death Star. For God's sake, no ties! A model of the Starship Enterprise? Live long and prosper. Wish I could help more, here.

*Something from Think Geek or Neatorama. A card so they can buy something on their iPods, Kindles, or whatever else they choose. A fun little game or gadget.
For those of the feminine persuasion, think on the same lines as Mom. Favorite animals/colors?

Kids: Work with interests. This means you should let them show you, over time, what they like. For me, this involves Disney Princesses, Hello Kitty, and all sorts of typical boy stuff, like science kits and cars. Also, good, brightly illustrated books with beautiful pictures. The classic books. Actually, that could go anywhere here.

Please, for the love of all that's holy:
Stay away from chintz, forget ties and frowsy sweaters, and please... try to avoid going over-expensive in lieu of conversations, etc.

Try to avoid the big box stores. Try shopping local.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


"Shahmaty" was a Russian term for chess... literally, "The shah (king) is dead"

Oh, weak and stupid king
Black hat hung rakishly upon your brow
Sweet queen sacrificed
As you make your orders
And send your knights forward

A pawn to replace your precious queen
As you shuffle impotently on legs swollen by your excess
You send your poor befuddled bishops
To avenge your precious queen
While all you can do is waddle back and forth
Shouting invectives in rage
Your face purpling, fat lips quivering

Your jowls shake
and your pug nose turns up in scorn
As your peons press close
Meeting their deaths with heads clouded by misplaced loyalty and false words of piety
With open arms, and at last, as death finally takes its' prize, the young faces betray their knowledge that they died for nothing

Louder, louder, you shout
More impotence, more angry words that have lost meaning
Innocence is lost
First you crush them
And use them as shields
Until finally
you go to your flaming hell,
The King is dead, let no one proclaim "Long live the king".

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Peace On Earth, Goodwill to All Mankind ...

I never wanted to say this... the whole "Love, joy, peace on earth, good will towards all mankind" thing gets a bit harder to do sometimes.

I've been angry... I don't like being angry, it's not a feeling that I can handle. It's almost like swallowing a molten stone.

Along with Christmas cards, I had to send out a sympathy card... my father's younger sister went in a car crash one day... a woman who started out teaching, and ended up being a dog breeder, who became a mother to her husband's brood in lieu of her of her own... funny, loud... opinionated, but sweet. We had no idea what had happened until it was too late to fly over Lake Erie to get to her funeral. So no closure. Not yet.

The weather is nuts... the change between "warm" to snowy, to warm again is enough to make the legs twitch unbearably.

I've been either extremely vague or let things out badly, while holding in more. I am trying my very damnedest to avoid accidentally sounding mean, condescending, or snotty... all of which I'd hate to be.

But... damn it... it is the season of joy. The time where just once, it's time to make things a wee bit more happy, to show those you adore that they really are blessings to you, and not just "Oh, here, here's a Santa mug and a pound of coffee, enjoy!" recipients. Ew... that is so beneath anyone.
I love Christmas. I've seen miracles... just last year, I saw a gorgeous little angel saved from falling through the cracks of a school system that could not teach him, could not help him. And he still has a light in those big brown eyes, despite everything. Why not take an example from him? His way of showing love is simple, honest, sweet... He gazes at you, smiles a big grin, offers his protection (oh so cutely, he always has been the "Man" of the house.), lets you know when you're doing something dangerous. His energy and his big bearhugs (His nose is about dead center with my chest now--- with a 5'11" mother, I have a feeling, I'll be looking up at him before too long.)

So why focus on the darkness? It's eating cookies fresh from the oven, (Don't let molten chocolate chips burn your tongue, trust me!) with icy cold milk or a hot drink, it's showing your blessings that they truly are your blessings. It is a season of the simple, sweet joys.
Merry Christmas, to all ...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Snow Plows Roaming In The Night

Sometimes, we have to deal with people who don't get immune to living for about 6 months of the year with snow--- in my case... partially under it. (A garden apartment is the polite phrase for buried partially beneath ground.)

After a while, we not only can lose patience and regale them with tales of doom, cold, snow and gore, but break out obscure technical terms:

Q:How do you defrost a windshield?
A:There should be a button in your car next to "Heat" (Or, with some "The red button") and air conditioning (The "blue button") It should have a little square on it with little lines. This is the defrost button. Click it, click it good. Now, wait

Q: How you get ice and snow off a windshield?
A:There's this thingamabobber with a handle. It has a scrapey thingy on on end... use it. The bigger end is a brush. In times of despair, a credit card works just as well.

Penguins live at the zoo.

Actually, the worst winter storm I weathered consisted of sand and ice. Painful!

As for other bizarre technical terms:
1)Thingy: general purpose, see also: "specific item"
2)Thingamabobber: No one knows what it is, exactly, but you need it
3)Whoozie-what's-it: Heavens to betsy! Not the whoozie-what's-it!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Zoo

I didn't understand death when it first came my way. But I understood right enough when I was told "We're going to visit Grandpa"... then sat in a room, staring at a box? It never struck me that that was the visit. But... every time I was told "We're going to the zoo!" I'd perk up immediately. And then, for some reason, amuse everyone by pacing anxiously in front of the gorilla enclosure, occasionally looking up to say "Grandpa, is that you?"
Later on, I was told that a gorilla at the zoo had taken an immediate dislike to my grandfather years before. Cute baby goats to feed and funny chimps... the zoo is really creepy to me now.

Bethy's Guide to the Stars

Horoscopes tell you really general things. Taking them at face value can be an exercise in frustration.

But... fear not!

I present--- horoscopes for real people!

Today, something will happen. What happens after that depends on how you react. No horoscope in the world can tell you if Juan will finally bring you that conflict-free diamond the size of a doorknob- or if Juan will love you forever. No horoscope will tell you "How about you get off your butt and start living, rather than letting the placement of stars, moons, and planets run your life"? It should perhaps warn you: "Horoscope writer has woken up within the last hour and has not had caffeine yet".

*Warning! These are for entertainment purposes only. I am not responsible for bizarre skin reactions, strange emissions, or other unforeseen side effects. I am two sips into a coffee. Let us begin!

Sagittarius: Try living for today, without the advice of someone at a laptop, typing out general advice that may or may not come true.

Capricorn: My sources say *Not now, you guys! Keep the noise in that UFO down!* : It's not what happens, it's how you react. But that's for you to find out, not a caffeine- dependent lady somewhere on the Eastern seaboard to tell you.

Aquarius: I could crack wise on water-bearers. But along with gifts, you need to try to search for balance, or this weather could drive you insane

Pisces: Ok, gentle souls: get off your ass. Live. Neptune may be currently having an orgy with Jupiter, or you could simply be stuck reading vague advice meant to apply to the lowest common denominator.  Go do something. I'll wait.

Aries: Try to keep your temper cooled. Locking horns with others helps no one.

Taurus: Sometimes, being bull headed hurts or can even kill.

Gemini: Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

Cancer: The tendency to act crabby may get to you. Go for a walk. And don't let arbitrary advice from a snot tell you what you should do. Mars in retrograde should not effect your life.

Leo: Sometimes, we need to let our hair down and roar as mightily as possible. There's no shame. What IS shameful is living your life because you're afraid of making decisions without cosmic babysitters.

Virgo: sometimes, a little childlike joy or innocence is a good thing. Don't get all strung up on being an adult that you lose your joy.

Libra: Balance is needed. Too much noise, or too much quiet is not a good thing. You need both.

Scorpio: Poisoning others with a bad mood is wrong. It's ok to be sad or angry... it's natural. But hurting others with said attitudes is not.

*All advice can apply equally to everyone. My tongue is firmly in cheek.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

'Tis the Season

Even in the dark, the small lights allow for a beautiful shadow version of this. :) 
This is the season of perhaps two hours of usable light a day. Stress. Darkness. People going nuts, and some, indeed finding the part of themselves that says "Screw everyone else!"

It's getting colder and darker. I am not jinxing myself by discussing the weather. (KNOCK ON WOOD.)

This is the season of joy, of miracles.

I've seen miracles---and they do outnumber the pain. Let's find that part of ourselves that says "I forgive you, my brother", to those who deserve it. "I forgive you," to yourself, who needs it too.
There is a need for light in the darkness.

Light and darkness cannot exist without each other. Too much of one would be blinding. Too much of the other would be heavy and stifling. And unbearable, like having Andre the Giant sitting on your chest.
There must, absolutely be balance.

You know what? It's time to get out of my head. Time to just enjoy, to remember just how stinkin' blessed I am.

Find peace, find something beautiful, in the darkness.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Americans Elect 2012

Americans Elect 2012 | The first direct presidential nomination:

'via Blog this'

A chance to be more involved--- not twiddling thumbs, but figuring out not only where the candidate stands, but where YOU stand. Before you hit the voting booths, educate yourselves.

Cogito Ergo Sum

I can spend time analyzing... feeling bad that I can't quite manage to say what I know needs to be said correctly.

Why worry about silly little things... when I've dealt with the big ones? If I stopped doing what I was doing, whenever people told me "You can't..." I'd be standing stock-still, a 5'5" pillar of salt. (Which, of course, would be great if people were having margaritas-- no more looking for that lost shaker of salt.)

Timing has been damn ugly. But stressing over a chain of bizarre and- let's face it- if I think about it, I have to laugh at myself... rather silly little things. Yes, sometimes, things DO get to me. That's what a good walk is for. Or cooking, or going off grid. (Not, however, letting my cell phone go dead. Bad mistake.)

Sure, there's people in the world I'd rather not have around me... everyone does.

But, it's dark enough---this month, we'll have the darkest day of the year, with the shortest day and longest night... and in the dark, it's better to give light.

I've decided... I'm thinking happy. Because, at least as Rene Descartes said, "I think, therefore, I am". (Cogito ergo sum--- it has a nice swing to it. )

 I will not, however, allow people to hurt because of me. It is not fair, it is not right.

The time is NOW... to be a source of light. To remember where my priorities lie. And laugh at silly little things that in the big picture, really don't matter. To quit slapping on a smile, and actually BEING joyful.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Laundry List

I will start listening to my gut.
If I do not need old paperwork, if I come across it? Bring on the marshmallows...  it's time for a bonfire. otherwise, seeing some things on that moldering paper... will affect me in ways it shouldn't, stunt my better reactions, and leave me open to being triggered.

Sure, I need to walk and just heal...especially after busy holidays. Dinners with my mother? Bless her heart, they leave me on edge for days. Because moms are like that. Holidays are crazy, no matter how easy you try to make them. And sometimes, being quiet is what's best. But I can't forget to make sure I answer texts and the phone next time... I keep letting it go dead for too long, in an effort to just relax. Or... well, send an email "Going off grid" so people don't worry, so that no misunderstandings are made. Because no tears did fall this weekend... I enjoyed simpler pursuits. Including navigating a store from front to back that sells grosses of bandages, among other items. a little shopping (New music was really needed.) I had a few shocks...those---well. They happen. Sure, maybe it would be best if I could vent more... I hold back. But I prefer the simplicity, the quiet, the peace. If I could, it might prevent a triggering episode... thought I was beyond those.  I'll save those. Or join a gym again.

That people got hurt, with the biggest culprit being really shitty timing? Damn!

I've got... habits I thought I had nearly squelched to re-train myself to avoid. (Nothing involving tipping back too many-- old behaviors I used that I hated then and hate now.)

I've got to learn to let myself shake things off, like water off a duck's back. Some things I can't- won't. It's not me I'm worried about at present. I can beat whatever hurts... here, in life, in the physical form... I've done it before. But no, I won't be happy-go-lucky--- nor will I simply stand by if someone is hurting themselves. I do not, in any which way, want to be the catalyst for that.

Now? It's prep season. A miracle in the offing. Not wasting that chance. To be quiet, to be still, to think, to focus. Time to rest. To heal. In the end, the only thing getting to me? I see the pain... I'm not sure if I can help.

...And a Pickle In A Pine Tree

I don't know WHY this looks wrong to me.
Gather 'round, dear children, and I'll tell you a tale.
First things first: true celebrations should only begin with murderous intent in mind, not lead to it, but here we go.

German tradition is rife with tales of Bishop Nicholas, now Saint Nicolas. Also, tales that might make the Crypt Keeper's hair stand even more on end on Tales From The Crypt.
Three little boys leave home in the cold of winter, bringing with them gifts for the now-sainted Bishop, savior of would-be prostitutes and someone who still has me all these years later, still checking my shoes before I put them on.
They stay at an inn (All good Christmas tales start in that century's version of a Holiday Inn.)
The inn keeper is a nasty, greedy man and decides that he will keep the Sainted-Bishop's gifts for himself. So he murders our tiny travelers and pickles them in brine. (Another Christmas story with a bit of cannibalistic intent, check!) The Sainted-Bishop finds out and steaming, he goes to the Inn himself. Where he resurrects (with God's help & grace) the wee pickled tots. Now, many centuries later, fun-loving Germans remember the tale with the hiding of a glass (I hope) pickle hidden in their Christmas trees. (Which was another tradition we got from the Germans, courtesy of Queen Victoria, who surprise, was more German than she was English.)
The finder receives a gift, or a year of good luck.
Considering the shape of pickles, this one might be best for the Feast of the Circumcision ... of the Young Frankenstein.