I blog gluten-free

Sunday, December 30, 2012

No Triskaidekaphobia,But I'll Take A Cup o' Kindness

2012 came in with all sorts of crazy.

I learned how to take some time- I'm still learning how to focus and clear my mind. I'm told that it's a bit loud, and that my silence is when you can hear me "tick tick tick". When it got crazy- medication interactions, realizing that I had far too much medication in my system, becoming more assertive when I knew that I was being treated badly, learning to enjoy, smile, and simply laugh.

I am not going to let anyone take my joys- they aren't theirs to take, and I am going to laugh at things I might once have been offended at.

I will ask more questions.

I will let myself be opinionated, and not worry about offense.

I will simply wonder, and simply enjoy.

My health is what it is, but I'm not letting it get to me. I have work to do, crafts to make, geeking out to do, places to go, people to see, and all sorts of wonders to behold.

This is a milestone year, coming up, one that I was told I'd never see...I will, by God... celebrate in style!

I am not making resolutions, really- except to keep fighting, keep working, keep laughing. I will get that whole "Clear-Your-Mind" thing down. I will continue working on not apologizing. So far so good and only rarely does one particular word slip out--- which is embarrassing and which I will be working on that much harder. To confidence! To kicking ass! To laughter more than tears. To learning new crafts, and improving my health. To finding a new neuro. To growth. To leaving fear far behind me. To forgiveness where I need to apply it, to asking for it when I need it. To being gutsy, to being silly. To never learning hate. To unlearning fear. Na Zadrovie!

We'll take a cup o' kindness, yet. 
I'll repeat:

We'll take a cup o' kindness, yet

...And surely, you'll buy your pint cup,
And surely, I'll buy mine!

For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne!
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Technology, Modernization-Or, Why We Can't Have Nice Things

You know what the Post Office says. If it fits, it ships.
I don't want to say this. I don't LIKE saying this. I'm the grandchild, great niece, and child of postal carriers. The USPS has put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. Well, chomp, chomp, chomp!

I love handwritten letters. I love writing them, I love going to find the interesting stamps... (I had to hold back a squeal of joy at the Miles Davis/Edith Piaf stamps.) Christmas time, I send out quite a few, including some international mail. I try to make them look bright, different, and interesting for each person. You don't want everyone to get the same prosaic, "Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays, How are You, I am Fine." formulaic response. But it's becoming utterly joyless. Why am I spending $20/sheet to hear how letters arrived mangled, to receive apologies that say "We care, but our fast sorting machines, well, you know how it is. Progress!" Begging your deepest pardons, but while your carriers are still humping 60lb bags on their backs and going out in all sorts of weather, you can't take personal responsibility and are letting machines do it all? THIS, THIS is progress? 18 cards to various people arriving damaged?! That's not a good average.

I'm kind of glad, that after standing in a 20-deep line to send international mail and buy stamps, while suffering a fever and kidney infection, I did not give into my feverish idea and decide to mail myself. Anyone want a 47 kilo package? May arrive slightly worse for wear. And weight may shift in transit.

It's not progress if your fast sort ends up causing damage to a person's mail. It is not fast sort when the slicing is done roughly and looks like someone is less than honest at the sorting office. "We're sorry, progress causes mishaps"- is NOT an apology! If I wanted to do everything technologically, so I could then blame technology for any mishaps, I'd simply email everything! But no, I keep buying stationary and stamps, because I'm old-fashioned. Or I'm simply the world's youngest old person. We haven't decided yet.

Vintage Estonian postcard, courtesy of Diane Kappa of Art of Collage Design

One Love

I have the combo of One Love/ People Get Ready, off of Legend, the last of Bob Marley's discography. It is purely peaceful for me, shame Youtube makes the links so stringy and messy to post sometimes.

Somedays are dark. There are so many things I do not/ cannot, understand. But I am going to give thanks and praise to the lord, anyway.

Friday, December 21, 2012


May you have a Blessed-Whatever-You-Celebrate. While I won't be the least bit offended, even by "X-Mas"- my apologies, extremists, but it's simply Greek--- (From  ɛksməs- X-stands for Chi, the first letter of Christ in Greek) I understand the warmth that comes from being addressed with a cheerful greeting that doesn't wreak of the generic "Happy Holidays."

So, without further ado:
If you believe in no deity, whatsoever, Happy Nothing, or Happy Whatever, depending on whether your glass is half-full or half-empty.
If you're an ancient Mayan. Dude. That Apocalypse thing. Ouch. Congrats on time travel though. Happy New Age.
To everyone else: I wish you a warm, safe, and blessed Happy Christmahanukwanzasolsticekuh™ (All rights reserved :-P) a blessed Eid, a joyous Yule, God jul, Feliz Navidad. Na zadrovie!-To Your Health.
I am now breathless.

Be blessed.

Joy and Exhaustion

The kidney infection is gone-thanks to four days using a heavy antibiotic mostly used for anthrax exposure. The flank pain finally went, working on staying hydrated and replacing the nutrients lost to meds- anticovulsants knock out quite a few of your vitamins, B5, B12 (Scarlily enough, there's a shortage and they're worried I may have to go on a heavy supplement if they can't get my shots in.), and more. This is a normal battle, plus I'm in that 15% of people for whom Topomax acts as appetite suppressant. Not to be dismayed...after days on 7Up and ginger ale, and broth, my body rallied in fine form, telling me, "ENOUGH! SOLIDS, WOMAN!" as it will get sick of the same old same old and crave variety. (And I accidentally bought unsalted broth, good for kidney, not so good for tastebuds. Which I try to tempt as a way of getting more calories. It's about presentation, taste, smell, etc. As I started getting better, I started adding small amounts of car-shaped rice noodles to add visual variety- and erm...ZOOM to better health?) - Had a turkey dinner minus the gravy the other day-small but did the trick and held down nicely.

Now to work on exhaustion. I know I'm dragging butt. I know saying, "I'm good, I'm getting there," feels like a horrid, hollow lie still. I'm tired. I know I need to do a few last minute things and haven't got the blasted energy to do so.But even with melatonin, the medication changes are still screwing with me, and 3 hours is my best. Oh, no. As for DingDong Neuro: So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goooooooooodbyyyyyyyyyyyyye...  you overdosed and almost killed me, you ass! Look, I was willing somewhat, to overlook my discomfort with you-for God's sake, my pediatrician's husband was a loveable grump- but you are so not loveable except in so far as you are human. But verbal abuse, messing with meds twice now, and ignoring symptoms is wrong, I'm afraid.

See, I know I need to do this or my body will take over on its' own. Among seizure triggers is lack of sleep and stress. I have so far been unable to sleep correctly, even with melatonin, and need to heal. I'm working on focusing on the good... the hope, the peace, the joy, and this week, love, and later, CHRISTMAS! It's a tough one, I'm dragging still and everyone's been sick, but damned if I'm not going to be joyful anyway. I refuse to focus on the mundane, the hurts, the slights. It's the season of Light, and I am not messing that up for myself.

Still working on that focusing thing. Taking time out...rosary bracelet, maybe artificial stars on ceiling to focus on, zen music... 20 minutes a day, although I might up it a touch.

I've got this.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Love Among the Hate, Light Among the Darkness

It was a rough few days...

Massive build up of anti-convulsants. Succumbed to a massive kidney infection--- am fighting fever (102) and attempting to be calm. Have had many medicines removed, still on Topomax, but almost maxed out on headache and seizure drugs, almost overdosed. Still waiting kidney ultrasounds and urine tests. Pain is--well. Working on sitting still and being calm.

Had an up-kick in griefs and anxiety with Friday's events---seeing a news photo with WBC's plans to protest the funerals of those beautiful babies- of a baby- a child-holding those signs-took the grief, the overwhelming I was already getting- I needed to turn off news earlier than I did, for my sanity- those signs broadcasting hate, in tiny, chubby hands that should have been holding a crayon to make a sign that said "I love you, Mommy"... brought out so much rage. God help me, had I had a Phelps in front of me at that moment, weak and sick or not.

But- this 3rd week of Advent- it's meant to be the week of Joy. I wasn't feeling it, for all these reasons. Everyone's sick, we're facing evil, gun debates are flaring, people are using God's name for unspeakable hatred. But---I was shown, in the darkness, that among all that, among unspeakable darkness and sadness, is unspeakable joy as well. I need to say my prayers- for hope, for peace- maybe naming a few as I go- "For family who can't be with us, for friends who are sick, for me, for those who are gone- we give you thanks, we ask for your peace, your light, your blessing."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Holly and the Ivy

The holly and the ivy
When they are full-grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown...

Sadly, The Holly and The Ivy, a beautiful, ancient, traditional carol isn't heard or sung much- I first caught it in-2003? When it was Jo Brand's buzzer in a Christmas episode of QI.

Here it is, in beautiful glory, sung by the Mediaeval Baebes.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Focusing on Hope and Peace

This week of Advent we are celebrating Hope and Peace.

What do these mean to me?
The freedom to be myself, to let my light shine, as I want to. No needing permission from others, just simply being.

This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine

This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine...

Hope: A brighter, healthier future, with strength and stability. May my family, my friends, and indeed, even my enemies, be blessed and loved.

Peace: May I be strong enough, healthy enough to face the world- to not apologize for being me. May I not worry about what I cannot change, but focus on the future, and do what I can to help others as I try to do. Let not my heart be troubled, but let me laugh when I am happy, and let me have the ability to let it out so I can heal when I'm not.

I was introduced to Shiny, Happy People by Miss Michelle, my gymnastics teacher of 15 years. At this age, I'm aware of sarcasm among the extreme happiness in the video... and the background, where I might not have paid attention as a child. It still makes me nostalgic. Yes, we did look like dorks in the 80's and 90's.

Friday, December 7, 2012

British Engineering and Pearl Clutching

The Jaguar is a classic work of fine British engineering, and its smooth, flowing lines and sweet roar will be remembered fondly. Ford needs to be shot for killing off such a classic.

Ahem. If masculine eyes are now on the prize, a beautiful 1957 Jag, (Heck, I'd rather discuss the Jag, and I'm having a bit of a Jeremy Clarkson moment, for which, I do hope, I may be forgiven.)

This being said:

This is a new century. We are freer. We do say things our grandmothers and mothers would blush at. I'm known to be a bit shameless when it comes down to certain things, this I know. But ahem. One does not discuss one's feminine protection in inappropriate ways. You cannot expect a one-word response to "Do you use pads, tampons, moon or diva cups?" Anyone who does so, in a public forum, could not possibly expect a date this weekend. *Clutches pearls.*

I had to stop myself before I sent the following: "A couple of rags and a twig," instead of "Why?"-I should have known what I was getting into. I can understand a toxic shock argument, and didn't get one, instead I got, an hour later, a link sending me info I can get in any doctors' office (remember how very little respect I have for the medical profession) and four hours later, I got cramps. No, beg pardon. I got the answer, "Cramps". I understand that an epileptic's brain has unusual brain chemistry to begin with (Duh.) That once a month, said beleaguered brain may be further affected by that nasty Auntie Florence. But unless you're sticking your tampons up your nose, (and if you do, you're doing it wrong)-another one I tried to avoid sending back- that generally should be something between your gyno and you. I had to ask why... as my neuro being a ding-dong not withstanding, I've been asked regarding birthcontrol, as the anti-convulsants can mess with birth control pills, told to up folic acid, but never regarding cellulose and cotton based protection methods. Now... let me return you to your regularly scheduled programming, and let us NOT speak of this again. I need to go say about a few hundred hail Marys.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tradition! Forgetting Stress In the Season of Light

Because it just isn't the holidays until I've worn a silly hat that is far too big for my head. Not time yet for full on Christmassing... it's the season of Light... Advent. We are on the first purple candle this week, Hope. This Sunday, we light the second, and focus on both Hope and Peace. We are waiting on Emmanuel, and on the light. But with light, comes laughter--- even among the stresses. At the stresses. This is Hope, this is Peace. This is Joy. Love--- may I show that, not in word, but in deed, in my action.
But may I laugh. May I suspend sarcasm for a while, and enjoy being starry-eyed, enjoy being a misfit. Enjoy the pure, sweet and simple, love the people who bring joy, for who they are. Life is tough. Pain is all around, but it can be forgotten-worry and strife...and the world can be forgotten for a while.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dubious Honors

I follow and enjoy the Swedish government account---brings back memories of 1999's trip, and hope to get back. I got to see a tube of caviar paste again, a rather dubious treat that makes you grossed out when you first think about it: Fish eggs...in what looks like a toothpaste tube, smeared on Wasa wafers (crispbread, or large crackers... I miss these wheaty delights, but have found a gluten-free version I enjoy caviar-free) and enjoyed with the hair-straightening Swedish coffee.

After spending some time retweeting a link to a large list of Swedish metal (trust me... it's well worth it.) I found something weird happening.

Read bottom up. Google has taken to automatically translating me into English. While I joke that I speak "Bethglish" and am writing a dictionary as I go, this makes me laugh.

I, humble me, am apparently getting my own language entry in Google Translate. Oh! Such an honor! You like me, you really like me! The CORRECT way the top tweet was supposed to read, and English- reading friends won't notice or may get confused is this:."When you've been reading SWEDISH and go back to English." Showing your bias, Google?  Oh, Google. Tsk, Tsk.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I Want an Alien For Christmas

A song that never gets airplay, sadly.

Gregorian Chants for Advent

Because Gregorian chants can be very calming...
...and because I have yet to replace my Chant CD :-(

I owe a debt to the  lovely Jean Heimann at Catholic Fire for Gregorian Chant for Advent, which I am reblogging here... thank you! :-)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Dreadful Feast

"Good King Wencelas" is a favorite of mine, taught to me by my endearing but rather odd Czech pediatrician.

The sanitized story told to children is that a king saw a peasant struggling through the snow, gathering firewood (winter fuuuuuuuuu-ooh-el...) and saying to a page, "Boy, where does he live?" Upon being given an address, king and page walk ten miles through the snow, barefoot. The page shivers horribly, the king tells him to walk in his footprints. By strange miracle, the footprints elicit a beautiful heat and the barefoot boy walks behind his monarch in comfort.
Popes have repeated this walk, and it's beautiful to see. But the story is bunk. 


(Beautiful song, though!)

 The truth (in as short a time as I can): Wencelas I was Duke of Bohemia, paying homages not to the Holy Roman Empire, but to East Francia. He was a gentle man, too gentle... a scholar as opposed to leader. His reforms caused strife. Brother Boleslav (Great Glory, Bringer of glory... Slavic names are more abstract.) kills him on his way to Mass one fine winter's day. The page kills one of Boleslav's men, and goes into the woods. He too is found and murdered. Boleslav's wife has a child that day. In honor of the horrid deed of murder, and feeling sad and sick, Boleslav names the baby "Strachkvas"- A dreadful feast. (Such a marvelous name--- oops, sorry, kiddo, we committed murder, and now that I am feeling guilty, you are permanently named in honor of this act.)
Boleslav was called "The Cruel"... but he did great things for Bohemia (if not being someone I'd ever trust to write a book of Slavic Baby Names.)