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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

All Things are New...

It's the planning time... I'll do better, be better, this year I ALWAYS   do!  While some resolutions are made to be broken, there's one that I try to stick to... keep on working. This is the time to dream a dream, to scribble plans, patterns, and ideas. To work on things that built up to frustrate. Where am I, this year?

* Apologies: if I am, if I do wrong, then yes, admit a screw up, but don't be sorry for living, breathing.
1A: Try harder not to apologize as I used to. It drives me insane. I've taken to interrupting myself with something like, "No, I'm not." Oh, I'm smooth, baby! There's also something slightly more profane, but, let's not go there, eh?

*Fighting with myself and occasionally being so irritated by being pulled, I can't relax.

*Relaxing and enjoying.

*Not making promises to myself that I can't keep.

*Not making promises to others that I can't keep.

*Keep working, keep fighting.

*Be me!

Time to dream a dream, and keep on working. To plot, to scribble. But first, to rest a weary head, and remember to let myself rest and enjoy the quiet.

"...the old things are passed away, behold all things are made new."- From 2 Corinthians 5: 17, Douay- Rheims. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

May the Force Be With You

"...And also, with you".
(It's an automatic habit of mine, that makes Star Wars fan-friends chuckle. Some things just become habit, I guess.)

Courtesy of The Shirtlist Dot Com

It's that last week of Advent, the week of Peace.

What is peace? Is fighting for it a contradiction in terms? Do you work for it, or let it come, let it be?

Along with quiet, along with learning patience, with learning to handle things that don't feel very much like hope, love, joy, and peace. I will be human after all. Did things go as I planned, did I get huge insights? Not really. That I can rest, that while doing it, I can bring things together, that I'm tougher than I think, --were my insights. The whole point was lighting up the dark bit by bit, chasing darkness. That patience...oh, I hear how I'm  patient all the time, but I don't feel it. I guess we learn it as we grow.

I am learning to appreciate both light and dark, especially as the darkness comes so early- so I'm attempting to expose myself to as much light as possible, literally and figuratively.

I'm not sure some things are realized in this life time, but I'm growing, and that's what matters. Learning patience, learning to be still.

The only advice I have? Do what works for you. It's tough to wait, while still doing. It's tougher still to get into a waiting place.

Be joyful. Hopeful. Loved and loving. Peaceful, starting internally.

While this is an ancient tune, new words were added. Such is the way of changing climates, sadly. I'm still hunting down the original.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Learning to Be Still and Quiet

Because, as so oft said, the world is chaotic, I decided to try that "Be a radical; learn to find, make, and enjoy the silence."thing. I've been working on dolls and teddy bears- and having peach malba frozen yogurt- oh, gosh, that stuff is... Indescribably good! - with my upstairs neighbor. This was my personal project- a Pocket Pals doll made with a pattern from a 1970s ladies' mag. 

Because of an uncanny resemblance to Nicholas Cage in the early stage, I've been calling her "Nick". Now for "Nick"'s little dress and lacy knickers. Then it's time to take her to the post office and send her off along with a sweet kids' book. She MIGHT arrive by Epiphany. 

What did I learn? That my worries, my fight... Can be rested for a while. And I can temporarily sit still. I also learned I can be dangerous to needle threaders and finished without one. 
What a doll. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be...Alright

I make Advent wreaths, and dust mine off every year, for  a reason.

Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace aren't just sweet little things we should think about once a year. They aren't something we can expect from others, unless we start with ourselves. It's tough, this time of year... night falls early in the afternoon, and the coldest, longest, darkest day of the year is swiftly approaching.

Some people get a wheelbarrow of stuff thrown at them this time of year. People get caught up, the permadusk and lack of light, health issues are up the yin-yang.

Take time out to be silly, to laugh, to tell people "I'm here. I love you." Do something with your hands. As for me, I'm busily stuffing a ragdoll-and making it dance on the stick I'm using to fill the arms and legs and head. And doing a mimicry of a family habit with the head-(ok, once...) of pointing a finger and saying, "I'll tell you this..." like bells will chime and angels will sing at our jaw-dropping news of import.
For God's sake, laugh!

Have you slipped a bit in showing hope and love? It's kind of reasonable. But "Now" is another time, and as Scarlet O'Hara says, and "Tomorrow is another day." 

Are you downtrodden, digging out? What works for me, may NOT work for you- beware the people with the trusty, "I do this, it works! Get over it!" speeches. (Lest you find yourself accidentally shouting, "As soon as you 'get over' being a...") If I were Calvin's "good" side in one memorable "Calvin & Hobbes" strip, I'd have burst out of existence with a *Poof!* Do what works for YOU.
And let others' take care of themselves, for a change. Start with you.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Books in the Running Brooks, Sermons in Stones, and Good in Every Thing

It can be easy to enjoy the silence, to work on goals, when things are easy. But what if the chaos gets too loud and, much like an experience I had listening to Beethoven in an MRI machine, the Fifth Symphony becomes distorted in your memory even as you listen to it... into "Thunk, thunk, thunk, whiiiiiiiiiiir..."

It's time to remember the sweet things, the small things. The way things are hushed on a winter's night. The smell of the cold air, sweet in your nostrils. 

Sweet are the uses of adversity, 
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, 
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head; 
And this our life exempt from public haunt 
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, 
Sermons in stones and good in every thing. 
I would not change it. - William Shakespeare, "As You Like It", Act II Scene I
Focus not on the huge things, the pressing things. It's not a good time, or a good idea, to attempt to change the huge things in a single gulp.
Go easy on yourself.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Not in Thunder, But in an April Breeze

"In this go-go culture, creating some space, some stillness, some silence, is a pretty radical thing to do."_Reverend Scott Gunn
"Come and go, not in thunder, but in an April breeze." (Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, Advent Meditations.)
Don't shout, whisper; you'll eventually be heard, be patient, and people might listen harder and more willingly.)

This isn't just a Waiting Time. And the Waiting Place sucks, don't get stuck there! It's a time to learn to enjoy silence, enjoy being a radical. Being the same as everyone, a people pleaser, keeping up with those Joneses, is chaotic, exhausting, and impossible. There is nothing wrong with the simple, the quiet. Learn to be kind, to you, first. (I do detest when people say, "To thine own self be true" to excuse selfishness. Don't do that!) Shrug off your burdens, Atlas. Learn to let anger go. To forgive, beginning with you, first.
Above all, have a blessed season!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Very Special Christmas Tale, Starring St. Nick and Arius

Once upon a time, long, long ago, a tiny little meeting was held, called the Council of Nicea. You may  have heard of it. Among those who attended was one St. Nick, the man himself... known more properly as (Now- Saint) Bishop Nicholas of Myra.

The year was 325AD, and the holy men of the world set about nailing down what was believed, what was doctrine, once and for all.

One Arius, out of Egypt, argued that Jesus the Son was not equal to either Father or Spirit. He even came up with a catchy jingle, which had to irritate far worse than the old Round Up weed killer ads put out by Monsanto.
To wit: "If you want the Logos Doctrine, I can give it hot and hot. God begat him, and before he begat him, he was NOT."
 Logos is Latin for "Word".

Along with assertions of doubt that Jesus was both divine and human. He was so nasty, so vehement, that the good Bishop lost his cool and punched Arius in the head. The Bishop was expelled, but forgiven and returned at the next session. At last, things were ironed out and the Nicean creed is now said to this day- "I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, as was in the beginning, is now, and shall ever be, world without end, amen."

Things did not end so well for Arius, who died of an intestinal prolapse, causing his former peers to say it was divine punishment. You see, in laymens' terms, Arius' butt fell out of itself. Ow.

Other than Arius, our heroes lived happily ever after. You know, until the sixteenth century or so- and that darned destructive Reformation.

Imagine if it had gone the other way. Arius Klaus. Shudder!

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Heaven Out of Hell, or A Hell Out of Heaven?

It seems like people are perpetually saying, "I'll be happy when," , "I'll be happy IF." I'm no expert. It seems right, feels right, to keep John Milton' s famous quote from Paradise Lost in mind: "The mind is in its own place, and in itself, can make a heaven out of hell, and a hell out of heaven." *Rest cannot dwell *And Hope never comes... UNLESS! Big steps: GOOD! From beginning to fruition, keep up the little things. Be strong, be stubborn. Love yourself first. Always. Don't second-and- third-guess yourself. When? BE HAPPY NOW! Where have you been? You HAVE survived. The world has beauty to offset the ugly... however much people suck, it's that that should restore faith in humanity. Know your own strength. Don't rest on your laurels, but take time to enjoy. See how far you've come, now go forward.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ero Vester Huckleberry

I've been working on learning Latin. While a disc of Latin prayers from the Boston Catholic Journal helps with calming and I'm getting an idea of patterns- I'm aware that there's 3 types of Latin so far. Classical, or church Latin, the "Vulgar" or "conversational"form- complete with wonderfully dirty origins for "porcelain"- notice how it looks like "porcine"? And basically, the thought was: the new formed thin, delicate glass had a property not unlike the lady parts of a piggie. (Sows, obviously.) and, of course, Canus Latinus- Dog Latin, which I'm trying to avoid. Yes, I'm being snobby, but not enough that I won't go searching for "I'll be your huckleberry" in "Latin". 

The "pronunciation" as given by Google, sounds like: "Ero vay stir who cull berry"- be sure to twirl your tongue on "Berry". Such gravitas! Imagine Octavianus, the soon to be Augustus, saying this to Marcus Vispanius Agrippa. Now go and tell your dearest that you love them- and how much!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Suffocate the Lingering Nasties

Had a few (or more than a few) bad days? "Suffocate the lingering nasties" with... adorableness.


i09: "Here is a baby sloth in pajamas. You're welcome."
Video is absolutely adorable- and rather familiar to those who've tried bathing, lotioning, and or swaddling something small, cute and fuzzy.
Sadly, Sebastian the Sloth in blue didn't make it, but his twin is doing well.
II: Cute baby giraffes. About the size of a tall man, and weighing in at 150 lbs +... sweet, ungainly, and long eyelashed little darlings.

Rather a fetching look. Courtesy of National Geographic Kids-MyShot.

And finally: A doberman and a kitten play wrestle. Both win with adorableness.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Concede Mihi ut Ne Tam Petum Intelligi Quam Intelligere

The Prayer of Saint Francis" is one of my absolute favorites... And an absolute must. But... Its' origins go back only so far as 1912 or so, and may have some older context in 1066 or thereabouts, with William the Conquerer. That said, as I've been making it one of my projects to learn Latin prayers- the English is marvelous, Latin has majesty. (The sparkling conversations in Tombstone gain gravitas in Latin.) it was lovely to see my favorite prayer in Latin: 

While not St. Francis of Assissi's, it glows with his spirit. As for Guilluame, the Harrowing of the North doesn't quite strike me as "sowing peace" but so it is for warriors who must cede personal beliefs to the job at hand. 

English translation- the original is French- 
 The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis

O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!

Where there is hatred, let
 me sow love.
Where is discord, harmony. 
Where there is injury, pardon. 
Where there is doubt, faith. 
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light. 
Where there is sorrow, joy
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not 
so much seek to be consoled as to console; 
to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; 
for it is in giving that we receive
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we gain eternal life.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

What To Say?

What do you say in the face of premature death? When you knew that, even with all of the love of a strong mother, of a strong sister, there was so much pain in their lives that they felt they had to dull their pain with drugs? 

What do you say... When your last memories were watching them attempt to kill the withdrawal symptoms from alcohol with mouthwash, to fly from one rehab to another? 

When the negatives outweighed the positives?

BUT... There was a kind, sensitive soul in there. 

Your life meant something to us. You may have become clean,all to leave this world far too soon... 43 years is not enough. May you be at peace now, your mother at your side. You got closure, for that, I offer thanks. Be at peace. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

It's a Wonderful Life, Not-Quite-Autumn Edition

"Of all the wonders of nature, a tree in summer is perhaps the most remarkable; with the possible exception of a moose singing Embraceable You in spats."_Woody Allen

One of the lyrics of Embraceable You is:
Embrace me, my sweet embraceable you
Embrace me, you irreplaceable you

How about you embrace yourself, embraceable ones? I can't say this exercise is easy, scribbling out reasons your absence from the world would be horrible (Just call me "Clarence".), but it's well worth it. I kept coming up with 90 rather sarcastic versions. I have two now, and am posting the least flippant and off the wall. 

Click to read.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"Barbies on Dinosaurs", an Alphabet of Sorts(Move Over, McGuffy!)

Communication is an essential tool. It's also a bit of a bugbear. Let's see. I can try to sort out a lot of life's issues.

*Juggle Juggle*.

When talking to someone who has communication issues, it's imperitive to be patient. DO NOT make them shout random phrases, when shouting is an abnormal act anyway, because you don't focus.

Tip A: If you need to put something in your mouth so you aren't talking, do so. Just avoid thinking too much about the water, soda, cheeseburger, ice cream, your finger... but not so much that you choke.

Tip B: Do not assume first, ask questions later.

Tip C: It's amazing to see what might happen to a person who seems "vague" if you ask things straight out instead of, like, y'know, hinting. I might actually enjoy Barbies on dinosaurs... or... whatever.  (Fill in the blank as needed.)

Tip D: Some things aren't comfortable subjects. Does the person you're talking to, or at, twitch or look for a new subject? Take a hint, they'll discuss things in their own times, and everyone has something to deal with at given points.

Tip E: Everyone has layers. The guy with the orange mohawk built like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his early days, might be a gentle sweet guy who loves to do hair. The woman who looks like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth, might like to suddenly smack people upside the head with a filthier sense of humor than you'd expect. Or, enjoy what I'm euphemistically calling "Barbies on Dinosaurs."  

Tip F: There's a limit to even friendly mocking, and vagueness and discomfort might creep in. Or darker humor to alleviate the awkwardness.

Tip G: If it works for you, it might not work for everyone. Don't assume, or get crotchety if they disagree.

Tip H: With all humor, know when to cut it short. Some gags are throwaway and have finite punchlines.

Tip I: Be there.  But... find things to do for yourself, and don't let that be your only focus. Pray if you do, however you do. But also, get yourself motivated and find good, sturdy projects. Good friendships don't just go away, and sometimes, patience is necessary. For them, and for you.

Tip J: Sometimes, people need quiet. They'll get back to you.

Tip K: Shared interests are great, but don't give up your own to make someone else happy. It's me... and guinea pigs in scale mail (Chain mail is interlocking links, scale mail mimics hard reptilian skin armor.), Blackadder, The Vicar of Dibley, and QI... Columbo-my TV watching is scanty... and my books, and my music. Or my sweets.  It's part of my personality. I'm not giving those, or my love of hiking, or anything else that makes me me, even the struggles I've fought and won against, for anything. Don't you do that either. Friends don't become clones of friends. 

Tip L: So nice, I'll say it twice: Friends don't let friends become clones.

Tip M: Borrowing from the Narnia films... Lucy's marvelous advice: "Just be you". You are faaabulous, dahling.

Tip N: Whatever you do, put all of you into it.

Tip O: Introduce new music or something interesting and fun, or necessary. To rock.

Tip P: This is a good way to handle negativity. Special thanks to The Bloggess.

Tip Q: Don't ever be shy to be seen tapping a foot or fist pumping to Irish rock. Tip R: Or to foot tap, fist pump, head bang, and realize there's a very good point being made, and that you can take away a lesson to hold to your own. Alphebetized or not, I didn't really have 26 points to make. Tip S: Everybody goes through a time of Funky, or a Time of Lean. Be there, but understand, they aren't gonna be like this forever, and that a shoulder and patience are the way to go. Tip T: Keep promises, or don't make them. Things will happen, but there's such a thing as honesty... and rainchecks. Tip UVWXYZ Love yourself as much as you do others. Don't let yourself get bogged down when busy.

Autumnal Equinox or, "Mountain, Move!"

Autumn is almost here. And with it, comes projects and watching for brightly colored autumn leaves. And planning.

The November Projects will be up and running, perhaps a little early. I have an Advent wreath to work up for Mom. These are pretty basic. It's meant to count off the weeks of waiting for Emmanuel. God is with us, he's on his way. Pretty, but still simple. Dark greenery, simple dark purple bows, and one large golden ribbon- and maybe a random, brightly colored object, like a little angel playing a lute. I'm also thinking of using that time to buy an adult-sized Christmas tree.

The October Projects?
The The Purple Pumpkin Project will be going. And I'm going to play a bit.
I'm going to actually do it and add a few purple highlights to my hair to match- and for advertising purposes. Pics later. (I could go with a bright, obviously fake and cheap Hot Topic wig, but I've been told about Hair Chalk and feel like playing. Subtly, but having a little fun.

I've got things to sort and things to correct. It's all well and good to be a huge softie, and I can be. There also come times to learn to say to that mountain standing in your way, "MOVE!" and see it move. May be seeing some more help from a neurosurgeon I thought I left for dead. *Fingers crossed*. But for the most part, it's correcting the iffy stuff. And preventing my yearly flare up with my kidneys. The piss poor (Pun not intended, but being left in anyway)  appetite signaling that it's time to fight has begun. Must change that, I have recipes to play with and promises to keep. Not liking Wegmans cannot keep me from doing that... or my health. A need to wander, that's always with me, and I'm going to obey it.

And hell, I'm going to kick ass. If I can't say something, I will show it!

I say to you, Mountain, that you will move!

Downswing of ASL "No". 

*Also, I've got mayhem to wreak.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Leave A Better World, or Leave No Trace

When life makes me insane, or I need to get out excess energy, a wandering I go. I love the water, and the plants and animals. I do my best to leave no traces of myself, and take nothing but photos. 
I pray, in a small part, that I may leave improvements here, or no footprints where they're not needed. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

One Would Ask That We Stop Using The Royal We and Them. Please

This MUST sound odd. It's possible to like people but get bogged down easily. It's also possible to find that, when someone finds themselves in a group, they might be polite about things... My closest friends may know it's been about six months of fighting for better medical help, grief for a family member, yeah I don't recover fast, trying to sort out many different things, and generally, get me under control while I search for ways to help myself and keep my mind from tick ticking loudly while researching VNS, etc. and trying to make a dent in the antiquated treatments. They made me sicker.

Do NOT pull me aside like I am a recalcitrant five year old, shout at me, and make accusations and assumptions. Don't mock me because I'm pale... without sunblock, the sun does worse than burn me and my eyes are sensitive to light.
Do not speak for collective groups... the royal we makes YOU sound like an asshole, and WE would hope that one would learn some manners. Ew. Ok. Now. Asking politely might gain a general, polite answer. I want fresh air. I like people. I don't like loud noises and people talking over each other loudly and making nasty comments,apparently for fun.I got a new haircut. This is obvious. I like it. I'm happy. Let it go, it just strikes me the same as the guy who asked me if I could permanently straighten it. Don't like it? It's my head! Judging me and saying do this, and blah blah, and why like that, and everybody does this, especially negative things... No... that's not true. Also, my life is mine to lead as I choose. If I am quiet, I am quiet. If I am happy,let me be so.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

I Want To Believe, or, Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

want to believe.
I want to believe that:
-Every hooker on the street has a heart of purest gold and will suddenly burst into Memories from Cats with just the right knowing look.
-Every homeless person is really an angel in disguise, even the one drenched in his wee and shouting epithets at you.

But: the world is harsher and colder, and while I detest judging people harshly, I can't afford to ignore my gut.
There are freaky, nasty people. Sometimes, they get close to families, and tend to pick on one person with both gossip and lascivious remarks that erode trust that might already be hard won and shaky.

-Responding to anything a person is happy about with negativity and gossip and phrases designed to dig at insecurity... this is not normal, or shouldn't be.
-Asking about people I'm not involved in any arguments with and speculation on if I see them in Mass. Subsection 1: Not my circus, not my monkeys. Subsection 2:if you're in church, it's not human things and battles you should focus on. There are bigger concerns in play at church, I'd think.

Let me reiterate because while asking me to go back to doctors who have hurt me, stating you'd talk for me, after years spent wearing me down and getting me to think something was wrong with the way I spoke and carried myself, and doing just that, to my detriment, you want to keep it up, want me to hurt in order to heal?

I can speak. I have not spent time healing and fighting to depend on abusive and nasty people for a basic human right.

Wearing me down and telling me "You can't" to anything, going after me ad nauseam, and treating me as ears for gossip and hurtful things has to quit. As for nasty personal friends: Not my monkeys. I respect myself too much to let nasty old men with lust and more around me in return for "help".

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Back in the Habit Again

Habits. For survival reasons, I packed on a few odd ones. At the moment, I'm figuring out which don't suit my purpose anymore and which will let me survive better,faster, leaner,
... we can rebuild me, we have the technology!

Having the capability to wax sarcastic is good. Without it, I'd be driven positively mad! But it's nice to have actual conversations where, bearing in mind my usual bugbears, ambient noise, technology unknown, my pointy elf/Spock ear hitting a screen in the wrong place, funky volume control on speaker... I can be understood and can be clear as a bell and wax sarcastic without losing my lede. Not being frightened and squeaking like a little girl church mouse,  and perhaps setting up everybody for frustration is best. I know I generally have a clear directive: for speeches, index cards and figuring out the "Smile while you talk" gambit while not looking like a freak. Here and there I break past my family's habit of talking for me, which they do in good intention, but leaves me staring at people wide eyed or attempting to steer them my way. Trying to be polite in turn has screwed me up. I know better than to try anything with voice recognition... I once had to ask a medical company, in clipped tones, sounding like I was talking to Reverend Jim, or like a robot, "Can you. Help. Me. I. Have. A. Speech impediment". Mild, but there, leading me to annoyances when I have to repeat myself in endless, exhaustive loops. Sometimes, I find a way, with friends, I simply squeak- shout something mildly inappropriate like, "I said, I'm signing you up for a ceramics class!" I need to say, no, I can speak for me. To show it by being clearer... by answering the more simple questions. The more complicated, I'll leave until my eyes and face can help me.

Sleep schedules:
I've been doing phenomenally well. But being woken at 6 AM... and there is no need to comment someone sounds tired, for goodness sake. It's 6AM... has messed me up by 2 hours this week. I think I have to stay up a little later to get the averages back.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Times, They Are A-Changin'...

Appropriate Treatment:
Sadly, medical care and its quality can still rely on how much a person has. Finding a good specialist who will deal with the Medicaid hassle is a rarity. And sadly, so many still have trouble when their job isn't simple. Are poor people inclined to be sicker? And if so, is the correlation or causation? Poverty is not a causation here, as epilepsy, like any illness, can strike at any economic level. Ah. Contributing factor. Which leads to:
1)Burned out doctors not inclined to dig below the surface, and are inclined to be judgmental, walking into gray areas of patient treatment... what is bad bedside manner and what is abuse?
2)Along with side effects that can increase or decrease an appetite, there's mood changes, nervousness, and innumerable other side effects. Prescription sheets could be made into a movie by Rob Zombie. Then there's the tendency to sap nutrients from the body, and some patients might need to go on supplements that they can barely afford. Not to be disgusting, but if the situation isn't rectified, sometimes their pee can be worth more than gold!

I've been following trials for varying "gentler" drugs. They tend never to go past the formative stages.
The classics never die, do they? Well... Depekote has shown in some tests to decrease brain size. That I caught the Email and knew, without the use of a brand name, exactly which drug was being discussed, scared me.

What's being done? Every "Living With" book I've seen indulges in prehistory, up to and including nasty treatments, and offers a small chapter on " But it's getting better, honest!"
Ok. So something needs to be done and the usual treatments are detrimental. This, besides the poverty issue, is pretty universally accepted. But I haven't seen anything saying, "We have started doing ABC...". As for the poverty issue, this too needs rectifying. Part of it begins with social services, the insurance companies. Part of it is the doctor's responsibility. The patient needs to ask questions, to say no when something is wrong and demand proper care. They should not need to draw diagrams. They should not feel shame.

Sources: Epilepsy, medical care, and poverty, 2011-Health Care Disparities in Epilepsy, 2011
CIDPUSA Epilepsy and Nutrition
Studies on Depekote and Brain Shrinkage-Epilepsy.com: Valproic Acid Reduces Brain Volume?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Emily Post Can Teach Your Grandmother to Suck Lemons

I think the time has come to bring back polite convention. "How do you do?"Can be answered most politely as follows: "How do you do?" "How do you do?"or, "How do you do?" For continental flavor, one can reply in Swedish: "hur mår du?"  Now that I sound like Emily Post upon sucking a lemon...

Conversations are already fraught with fear for me. Am I audible? Are there forces beyond my control that I have to compete with? Is someone notoriously shouty? Am I running my words together and feeling weird? Am I having an off day? Add someone who will joyfully speak for me, and think it's for my good ( Ground rule: If,  and only if I'm unable to communicate do I wish to have others say words that at aren't mine and claim them as such. It's simple, and I'm being reasonable, right?) 

Also, for the love of God, there is no call to suddenly whip out things to show and pass them swiftly in front of my face. Um, scary, much? Swiftly moving hand, ahoy! 

Let me see if I can create a simple diagram:

If someone engages me in a conversation... "Beth, do you like Where you are now? What do you do for fun?" I'm going to be very frustrated if no words can come out of my mouth in answer because someone has spoken over me. (These are the moments I'm grateful for dark sunglasses, as my expression can be slightly hidden... I hope the fact that I'm tempted to whisper something like, "My BDSM workout videos were a real hit," isn't apparent to people who've babysat me.)
The related, speaking for me... claimed as a good thing... uh, NO! I can speak! Help me, don't hurt me!
I like people, but I like to be spoken to... "My friend bought you dirty cupcake tins at a sex shop... knows your humor is a little raunchy at times" will make me smile. "She is very silly, wonderful sense of humor"- I know it's meant well, but coupled with everything, I feel like a well trained puppy and want to scratch my ear with my foot and look disgusted. 
Plus: All those years of speech therapy? Um... what use if I don't practice?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dream a Little Dream

Everything is a work in progress. I occasionally get irritated when things follow the "One step forward, two steps back" approach,but I'm enjoying... becoming aggravated and frustrated, throwing up my hands, won't help. Sleep is precious. It lets the body heal and rebuild itself. I've always been something of a lark/ party animal hybrid. Being exhausted may mean I sit and look ready to drop but not quite. I'm working on scheduling a bedtime... and a sane time for waking up. So far, it's ensuring comfort... am I past old nightmares, have I cleared my mind.A melatonin formula with a fast release and steady release double coat helps... I see not like the idea of me on sleeping pills. A glass of milk... not hot,just your standard cold glass of milk helps. I find chicken helps, but this is probably just me. Sometimes, I'm good... very good, for weeks, then am slap happy for God knows how long, then I'm up with the farmers. The first thing I want to do is sort out my next project, go grab some nature photos, and clear my mind. I know my basics and try to remember them: 1)Remove stressful activities and their reminders from bedroom 2)Invest in good-quality sheets, blankets, etc. 3)Start eliminating caffeine around dinner time 4)Try to Dr-pressurize around that time too. Music, good books. Some meditation practice. I need to quit studying late. I want to know more,figure things out. Sometimes I wish I liked mindless romance novels, but I never can force myself. Go for a walk. I also need to just remind myself that I've got this!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bursting the Lead Balloon

Or: How Not To Be a Dick, Lesson 1,000,000,000...+ ∞(And Beyond!)

When you've been under the weather- no prettier phrase for this area, where one week one wears light cotton and rolls down hills with happy 4 year olds and the next, you're debating using the free heat and laying  in the fetal position under three blankets while it's gray outside, and frankly, if you're honest, and not attempting to quietly close a conversation... (Well, loud, shouty people are getting frightening, that's just me...  and if I could sort myself out PDQ, that'd be delightful. The first isn't helping with the interactions and the exhaustion caused by the signals my brain is sending off, and frankly, I'm scared and having a few funky weeks.)- a conversation with the understanding is great. It can take one person who listens and is sarcastic and silly right back, and just enjoys, to pull you back to yourself. It can take another who seems to want an overtly cheery but quiet and well behaved, and obedient person, in all aspects, to simply bite their tongue as a litany of complaints is read off (Fine. Have you tried taking a pain reliever? Having a coffee? Getting yourself out of there for a while?- because as much as I like people, a litany of complaints that are getting nothing done for them is exhausting.) Finally, as I do, I start laughing at something seemingly silly and inane... maybe a phrase that could have rather filthy acronyms attached... and getting hung up on with, "Well, I'm glad you're happy" when the tone implies, "I insist you be as miserable as I am!" (Look, I feel horrible that your head hurts, that the weight loss pills you bought, after I warned you to be wary, are making you feel a bit wonky... that the puppies are keeping you up...I did say, maybe Dix should be spaded after her first litter...I feel bad your head hurts. That you seem to eat to shut out nastiness from people. But you're not going to cure anything dwelling on what's bad and horrible!- I am not in control or in power of that, I am trying to help you live a full life without worry, but when I am yelled at for having a seizure, or for being scared because you allowed a stranger to touch me, I lose a lot of trust and sympathy. I have so far kept my trap shut on most of this.) I'm forever getting hung up on these days. And then called back with more bad memories and litanies. So, I've chosen to laugh. It may not solve any or everything, but it makes me feel a million times better. As for the funk? Clearing my mind of weirdery, and of things that are disturbing. I've always been the type to find something laughable in the dark and scary. And please, expect, if you wake me up, having known me all my life, expect that a Neanderthal could write the Oxford English Dictionary in comparison to me, (This is slightly unfair to the Neanderthals who were quite sophisticated.) and that I need something to get me going. But being upset because of spontaneous happiness? Be happy I can be happy! Ps: Infinity Plus One: Be wary of the Shoulds! "You SHOULD be able to discuss ABXYZ by now"... I am going to be no sooner or have no easier time doing so if I am being forced and shoved around. I lock myself in when that happens, try to focus elsewhere. It's coping. I can't do things until I, personally, am ready to, and have dealt with things on my own.
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Image courtesy of the wonderful Broken Symphony at Deviant Art's Artisan Custom Dolls

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Twinkly Thirteen

Thirteen is my favorite number, if not my "lucky" one. And randomonium is my forte.

13: I love ancient Rome and Israel. Yes, there was war, bloodshed, gore, horrible wrongs perpetrated...
but we had great art, and the Romans gave us the art of going really far in a straight line. (They were beaten in the art of the straight road.) (So, you know, apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order ... what have the Romans done for us?) I'm hoping eventually, along with my occasional blips into vulgar and church Latin, and into Yiddish, (oy vey!), to learn modern Hebrew and to visit Israel, which, at this point, could be a bit of a tall order. 

12)I have an incredibly overactive imagination. I have discovered that it's worse if I'm eating spicy food. 
One evening, I made jambalaya, adding in banana peppers... and ate this fine mess before going to sleep. I dreamed a dream that I was in a house with red walls and liturgical dance was going on all around me. (Youtube at your own risk!) I came across, in my fevered endevours, St. Theresa of Avila... who was lovely... but in this portrait, was looking up, not angelically, but under her brows in a terrifying way and still occasionally shocks me if I look at her portrait. I have to look at more realistic paintings of St.TofA as an older woman to remember that it's not something scary I'm looking at. At least it wasn't the "cat-clock" creepiness of the Sacred Heart or St. Bartholomew  who strangely, just looks like a man in red long underwear holding his coat. (It isn't.)

So, the lesson to myself is: No Spicy Food Late At Night!

11)(Freebie-I skipped this the first time around)- Some of my favorite foods fall on the spicier side of the spectrum. I try to avoid making my lips go numb, or going into an unladylike sweat, but the occasional hot sausage or pepper makes my heart sing.

10) Getting out of the scary and staying with random-
I was born without muscle tone. While this makes a person really squishy (Babies without muscle tone are actually rather delightful to hold for this particular reason.) it's really not good... and so, my sports-loving Czech pediatrician offered my parents a solution that was natural for her. To strengthen her infant-sized, bony, squishy patient, she advised that they take her and throw her around, er, sign her up for gymnastics. I only learned to walk fully on my feet as opposed to my tiptoes at 20, and am still uncomfortable with it, and still throw my arms out for balance as if I am on a balance beam. I am notorious for being able to bend into "uncomfortable" positions, and while possessing strength worthy of an anemic mosquito, I am dangerous with my elbows. I try to stay away from people when I am either angry or very excited.

9)One of my funnier annoyances lately is that my Kindle, while being set to English US, seems not to recognize the usual American spellings of various words, for example, neighbors, color, recognize, licence. I'm almost terrified someone will think I'm being a snob!

8)I grew up around people who seemingly got insulted and complained if you said, "It looks like the fish has a beard", or "I don't wish to discuss that", or if you did anything that they weren't doing... or, I hate to say this, breathed wrong. I'm in constant fear of becoming like them, but I don't want to be as nasty as they are, to them. But frankly, there's no need to complain if someone decides that they don't want to sit and complain with you.

7)When I was 11, I saw a weird shadow in my bedroom. It turned out to be our neighbor's 6' long, "baby" boa constrictor. You wouldn't believe the song and dance I had to do to be understood. Finally, "Oh, there he is. He's been missing for two weeks." I'm not really scared of creepy, scaly things.

6)I love music of many different types, but am constantly wondering what that stuff is at the store or beauty shop. Some of it is explainable by the fact that I got an earful of classical, jazz, and  oldies in my childhood, (With the Smashing Pumpkins tossed in in their prime, somehow.) and more modern music is "new" to me. Some of it is explainable by the fact that whatever it is is not music but is made to to either make you move or make your ears bleed. I think I've heard it called "Tesco".

5)When I was a child, my lullaby was "Good Morning, Starshine". It was morning, somewhere. And I did tend to think it was party time at 2 AM as a small child.

4) On music, it was disconcerting recently, to realize I was the only one who had heard of most of my music list. Eeek! This isn't good when you're trying to list musical innovators alphabetically. I was pretty good at not being too cliche.

3)I do tend to speak my own language, which I try very hard not to do. While I love the flow of language, and learning how it develops, I don't like trying to translate myself!

2)I started doing speech therapy at 18 months, speaking at 4. I remember with clarity, using bubbles to blow, instead of suck, as I was doing...because I took in a big mouthful of Dawn, and must have made a very funny face, because it had my mother and speech therapist laughing at me. That might be my first memory. I learned quickly, and to this day, sometimes, if I have a straw, I have to stop myself because I'll be blowing bubbles in my milk instead of drinking it.

1)I've often gotten in trouble for rebellion, yes, me. I don't intend to stop! There are loud rebellions and there are quiet rebellions.


Saturday, May 11, 2013


If you are currently in need of a mail drop, kindly follow this advice: if you happen to use a private, residential address, it is that resident's right to return all mail to sender. There is hope!

For a certain fee, the nice people at the post office offer these newfangled things called post office boxes.

There's also the very nice people at the UPS store, formerly known as Mailboxes, ETC..
Using people you have formerly robbed, and have stolen their mail, gets your crap sent back. Nastier people wouldn't do that. I'm aware the postal service doesn't deliver to whatever rock your limpet-self is clinging to. But I am not a UPS Store or a branch of the US postal service, however much I seem to be the only person under 60 who still buys stamps.

If this is not acceptable, kindly touch some other sap for money for $70 boots while everyone else is wearing a threadbare coat and sneakers in 20° weather. Or fifteen cheeseburgers while others starve. I'm sure you can ingratiate yourself. I, however, am no patsy, and refuse adamantly to be so. Or, you can go lie in a gutter until you piss off the next person, whom, I am sure will be far less polite than I, and will have you tossed in a cell, dumpster, or worse. You seem not to comprehend that I wish you no ill also means, "I wish and expect no good for and from you".

Monday, May 6, 2013


I saw a really cool craft idea, homemade "dinosaur" eggs. I'll just say this: I love dinosaurs. Imagine my surprise to see it earmarked as, "MOMS WITH BOYS!"

I'm not going to go into gender politics and into how, as late as 1927, Princess Astrid of Belgium was "caught out" when she "optimistically" decorated a bassinet in pink, the color for boys.   (At one time, the more sedate and "softer, serene"blue was fitted  baby girls.)

I'll say this, though. I love fossils and dinosaurs, and know many little girls who do. As the younger of two children by a decade, and with a father who loved Tonka trucks, I inherited rubber T-rexes, Tonka trucks, and a metal Bionic Woman toy truck, made from metal and boasting ouchy edges. (I googled this, but nothing showed. Eh?) I also had dolls and teddy bears up the yin yang. Let me tell ya, nothing beats your realistic baby doll, hitching a ride on a scaly, green, broad triceratops.

Case in point... (sorta, it's actually hard to find that... Google, 0-for-2!) My thanks to http://coilhouse.net/2011/01/hacking-the-passive-girl-toy/ Coilhouse Magazine for PIXIES ON DINOSAURS! In essence, if you love it, do you have to wonder and worry in terms of pink-washing, or should you just enjoy? Ok, seriously: this is awesome and I want to play in the dirt.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Oh, What a Relief It Is!

The days are warmer, the nights are still chilly. Winter tends to stay around much longer than I, or anyone, can  be content with... I had  run- in with black ice just a few days over a month ago now.

Are you trying to get your skin back to normal after being dried out in the cold? Do chilly nights still leave you itchy and looking like you attempted to put a  dog in a dress, or with suspicious-looking wounds? If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, I have an answer for you!

The simple answer is, "olive oil", but at the risk of looking like an oil slick, or smelling like a finely dressed salad, I present you with this mixture:

1) Measure out 1/4 cup of plain colloidal oatmeal or grind up plain "Irish oats". To this, add,
2)a tablespoon of heavy cream, and
3)A teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
4)Mix together into a rather disgusting looking mess.
5)Pour mess into two large coffee filters.
Oats should feel, at most, slightly... damp. (I really hate the word, "moist").
6)Tie with rubber band, securely.
7)Toss this into a hot bath and relax. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh, what a relief it is! (Eww, gross Alka-Seltzer® jingle!)
8)Get your mind out of the gutter, drain tub, and rinse to get any gunk off of you and to avoid smelling like spoiled cream.
Repeat as necessary.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

You're Not Going to Prom!

It's... been. Wonderfully vague, that. My great aunt left on Easter, March 31st. The family has been in a state of flux for the better part of 2 and a half years now, and people are still at each other's throats. At the moment, I am sad, I am freaked out. People keep coming to me, both with complaints, and their struggles, and I'm choking a bit. I've found myself trying to bite my tongue before I snap and shout: "If you can't behave, then you can go sit in the corner until you can play nice or I tell you that you can come out!" "If you kids don't behave, that's it! You're not going to prom!" As the bulk of the people I' 've actually snapped at are in their mid- sixties, this is a teeny bit of an issue! As for Mom- pulling her " don't do that/ don't go out, it's (Insert Lousy Weather Conditions Here)... until I have to virtually taste blood to stop from shouting, "is it always raining in that hell hole/scar on the planet I left behind?!"- needing to rehash bad anniversaries and horrid assumptions and gossip about others... I'm worn down and not even sure how, exactly, to begin grief, for two, as grief for Grandma got waylaid into "comfortably numb" at this moment... because I don't know anything else. I'm trying to laugh, to get things out so I'm not hurting myself holding them in. But "what's new?"- scary question for me. I don't want to say, I am in a fog... Finally got over a rather lovely set of chills from the funeral- I'm thinking stress, and being in a mausoleum in 30 °F weather were probably culprits. Can't do a lot until I have time. Or get myself out of myself, so to speak. For now, adventures and baking/ cooking will have to do, and music. I can change no one but myself, and am trying to remember this: I don't know the key to success, but the key to FAILURE is trying to please everybody."_ Bill Cosby It's me I need to please. I've been listening to the Black Crowes a lot... among other favorites, played good and loud. The Black Crowes - She Talks To Angels (original video) - Video Dailymotion

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Awkward conversations are part of life. Thankfully, many are the sort that can lead to giggles later. A friend and I were discussing rather bad romance novel tropes. The first thing I think of is this highly unsexy scene: Our heroine, (Let's give her a rather depressing and clunky for the 21st century name... uh, Desdemona.) enticed by the hero, uh... Lord Byron's Underpants... Or, Lord Pants, to shed her rigid and upright demeanor, and "submit". "Desdemona's heaving bosoms... apparently she, and Lord Pants, who also apparently grew bosoms for this conquest, are elderly maiden aunts. Hot!) "...rose and fell over the tight whalebones of her corset..." unfortunately for every author of romance, I always picture the bosoms hovering... escaping from the confines of the corset and flying off heaven- knows- where. Hot! So I am left not in the fancy bedroom of the couple, but trying to sort out where these hovering- flying- titties are going. Will they be having a more splendid conversation than those they grew on? Are flying titties now loose and attacking fair cities? It's really quite pleasant, albeit awkward. I can't say the same for Desdemona and Lord Pants. Now, a disgusting word. I'm uncomfortable with "moist", even if it's a box of cake mix proclaiming its... Ew!- . I find myself responding, with a rather bizarre posh accent of unknown origin... I know, for example, my German accent is not unlike that of Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle... "Get moose und squirrel!"... "Yes, yes. My coffee is rah- thuh moist, as well." And then I feel warm, possibly from blushing at how embarrassing this all is. But there's always fun to be had.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tomato Basil Soup In the Giant Yellow Cup

Tomato basil soup... a strange comfort food... I hated tomato soup as a child... it might just be that the few bowls of Campbell's were simply a bloody shame to me. Resting up and have a pretty simple little recipe, a slight take off of Copykat' s wonderful facsimile of Le Madeline' s recipe. They always do say homemade is best.

Keeping it simple: Get a big Stockpot.
Set aside for now.

You will need 4-5 ripe, vine- ripened tomatoes. I still had bits of vine
A jug of tomato juice, virgin if you please.
One Giant, Scary Knife!
Peel, core and remove skins. I'll stop now. After my sarcastic review of Mrs. Beeton' s Everyday Cookery, I might not be allowed around apricots for a bit. I blame Lisa Tarbuck. :) Pop those tomatoes into your pot with the juice and let simmer slowly, on low,  for 20 minutes. Grab coffee. Alrigby. Pour mixture, in small amounts into blender. Add fresh basil leaves. Puree. Pour back into pot. Add 1 stick butter, salt to taste, cracked pepper, basil, oregano, 1 cup of heavy cream, and combine. Primary colored comfort food. The recipe I tweaked slightly is: http://www.copykat.com/2009/03/27/la-madeleines-tomato-basil-soup/

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bad Sentence Starters, And a Little More

"Everybody does..." is probably the worst sentence starter outside of, "My aunt's poodle was on phenobarbitol..." a sentence that had me making an effort, I'm pretty sure to vent my displeasure at being compared to a bad mannered perm with feet, to scratch my ear with one foot. "Go on..."

There is a lot in this great and terrible, twisted and beautiful, dark and wonderful world to confound us and more, daily. Are we really needing to live our lives by "if they're quiet, they're strange, if they don't like what we like, they must be made to feel bad!" How's this? Be happy. Do What you do best. Don't worry if Martha Peckerhead can feel confident without a ponitail and you can't. You have talents, so use them.

Please, I must beg: I don't know where this new habit of: the person next to me wishes to be quiet, I must grab and cajole them, and snap at them comes from. Please, knock it off. I will avoid your company more if you grab me or scream at me, even if you don't think you did. There's no call at all to suddenly, for example, ask a 30 year old in loud terms, "Why wasn't Ronald Reagan in the military?" and many might give you a blank look. Just be grateful my former mother in law thought he was God Incarnate. Also? um... this has disturbed me, more so because it was sudden: What kind of an asshole SUDDENLY screams at a person because they use a Rosary? News flash: Screaming scares and scars. And um, if I "hide" and get anxious, THIS is why. Politics and sudden screaming do not help me, knock it off!

This Holy Week, I turn to what is important. And I also thank the people who do try to understand me. They are gold.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

It's Like Teaching A Pig To Sing... Castrated

Lately, I have felt a bit snappy... which is really bad. I was feeling marvelous. Enter: They Who Must Apparently Belittle To feel Good. Enter The Don't Analyze, But Please Do Analyze Why You Are Apparently Weird, Why You Are Quiet, Why You Just Won't Do As I Say... types. Well... I'm in tailspin, I guess. 20 page notes on how I should do my hair from perfect strangers... Uh... I beg pardon? 2 hour long conversations consisting of why I like things, why I am this or that, or why I fell asleep (either avoiding the conversation or the engine's lull, take your pick.) Why are you weird? Because I'm happier being myself, and get frustrated and anxious when suddenly, I can't even wear a rosary bracelet or eat a damn cup of soup or be quiet without the Spanish Inquisition!

Sad news too... last phone call with Mom, and these are always tough, considering that in between ordering me to relax, complaining about people, which makes me anxious, and discussing touchy subjects... how long do I have to explain, "I need coffee to talk on the phone. I consider coffee food. I do not discuss my former in-laws or related subjects over food?" before it sinks in? she informed me that my great aunt was out of remission. Sad enough. Then, because being last to know wasn't enough, and being scared seeing a fractured family isn't at all frightening, " why'd you hide it from me?" "Um, you just told me."  Yeah. I'm fucking in a spin. I'm trying to cope and get back to myself. I'm running wild trying to be bright, and all the while it feels like when people want answers, I explain 18 Times, it's fucking painful, no one's happy, and I'm beginning to think it MIGHT be preferable to teach Porky to sing   La Traviata  while castrated.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

There Are Good Days And Bad Days, And This Is One Of Them

There are good days, and there are bad days. And this is one of them._Lawrence Welk

Will be having all my wisdom teeth, and the tooth I broke in a seizure, removed in April. With the last, I just have to wait for the gum to heal and a falsie will be put in. Progress is being made, and smiling is becoming more easy now.

Fearful that I can't be understood, trying to ensure I take time until I can be. There's a lot of that verbally and in writing. It's DAMN frustrating for me, too!

Trying to avoid saying the wrong things to people who are loud and opinionated, too.

Have settled on another project, growing, along with Jack the Pet Orchid and Baby the Pet Clover, on a little viola - a tiny pansy like thing in a recycled rice fiber pot, that I suppose I have to give a name to. Dolly?

I don't want to analyze, that, I do all the damn time. It's not why I like or feel something, just that I do.  I don't want to judge, or need to constantly ask what a person is doing. I want to just be, I want them to just be.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ten Million Strong...and Growing

I've hit that age now that was horrifyingly and inappropriately given to me as, "Miss, you'll never have family of your own, or a marriage... with everything, these drug interactions, allergies, your inability to thrive, sometimes (I think now that it was being put on and then raised up to high levels of, then dropping off Topomax, which this year we finally realized, oops a daisy! I'm actually allergic to, which in 15%  of patients cuts the appetite)- working to get past 600 calories, your episodes, a word used frequently by neurologists... frankly at times I was having boxed sets you won't make it to 30."  Some incidents came and went since then, one particular seizure in a bathtub had me bloody nosed and sore from hitting my head on tile and inhaling water... I wouldn't recommend it!- I realized after I was beginning to show fear of water and fought to be able to immerse myself in the complex pool. I came up bedraggled, the stink and sting of heavy amounts of chlorine in my sensitive nostrils... but triumphant. I do keep a hand on the sturdy towel bar in the shower now, and try to avoid dunking when feeling something coming on. I know I terrified myself immensely and spent the day after in my undies under the air conditioner, on a blanket, miserable. You get tired... an all encompassing, can't make yourself understandable, drunken sailor gaited,slurry tired. But I beat a developing fear I could have easily succumbed to.

I'm not a succumber... agreeable, maybe hair twiddly, seems too damn nice sort... and while I can't ask others to agree, I've taken on, somewhat of a " this is me. THIS is what works" attitude.

I can't say I'm brave, but I love to live, as opposed to survive. Learn from mistakes and be happy. I've felt what it's like to wake and be unable to move at will, willing limbs to cooperate, whomever has decided to sit directly on your chest and beat your head about - I'm certain now that was sleep paralysis and what had to be what I've taken to calling a Tonic Nightmare... to kindly, get off and fuck off. I'm not in the mood to focus on my bad days, marked in a tracker along with meds, the bulk of which looks like a pharmacy blew up on my dresser- with either an orange confused face, a red :-( or a lightbulb without the diagonal line through it, letting my doctors know I've taken meds, had a boxed set, and what I was doing... little notes- "Toga! Toga!"for a party taking place on the Ides of March, or "Had episode, etc."'. I don't want to be the saint. I'm not Catherine of Sienna ingesting  pus, and I'm no Little Flower. If I help anyone, I'm delighted... but want no earthly nimbus around my head. I just want to live, enjoy, go for hikes,find music to tap my toes to, watch movies. I won't fit into anyone's mold and ask them not to fit. Don't be the rollers on an old stereotype, the printing press, marking out where ink fills dyes and divots with a sound like "Cliche! Cliche!" to put the words on the paper. 

To be light, yes, that I want. To enjoy, for themselves, foods, music, my butterflies, my cherry blossoms, my creek ( ok,  a rather picturesque section of an 18 mile creek I like to sit on rocks by and sip my coffee, or record each season for prosperity.
To heal more, I've done a lot of that! To enjoy and be bad if I so choose, hell, to, if I like, have sex illegal in 30 states. To be silly. Being a saint... doesn't necessarily agree with me. (Never mind that there was a little gag that I got a pope for my birthday, finally driving out my feelings of complete and utter popelessness... and that he has the name of one of my favorite saints, Francis.) Enjoyment and growth is what I care for. The unspoken thought I had, unbidden, "oh, borrowed time"- it is anathema to me. 

I'm living, I'm dancing, enjoying. I'm... ten million strong and growing and have a vintage Flintstones Vitamin jingle in my head. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dalek Cake, Paczki, and More

I am excited!

1)Found a way to make Dalek Cake without first making gluten-free Swiss rolls. Here, it's a bit of a pain in the butt, however used I am to gluten-free food- to make what amounts to a jelly roll, when I'm not used to them. (However, with yellow cake, good cream, and a clean cheese cloth, with a bit of mess and rolling, you can have voila! Twinkies!) I'm also astounded by the amount of butter, even as I heal, just one treat from the recipe above- my thanks to the BBC, who gave me the idea- I'd be eating about all I could for that day!

   But... playing with a little frosting and plain M&Ms and a few other titbits, I can make my own miniature dalek. But a video from a vegan kids' show gave me a way to do it with a few cupcakes stacked on eachother- a bit less fuss. Since tweaking recipes is normal for me, starting from a vegan recipe can sometimes be simpler.
 2)Are you gluten free? Been a little saddened by not being able to pick up paczki (I hear it mostly pronounced as "Poon-ch-key".) at the store? In the beautiful red and white boxes? Gluten free Catholics and Polish people everywhere! Rejoice! Before next Fat Tuesday, you can now order paczki from a little place in Detroit, which, like beautiful Buffalo, is another hub of the Polish-American. And chocolate with chocolate buttercream, too! Yay! I have to share the good news! You can order at: Celiac Specialties. (You can order now, I suppose, but this is a time for getting ourselves right. This does not mean pile on the carob, although the book of Daniel discusses carob and fig mixtures. I wouldn't suggest that, believe me. This means a more barren diet of sorts- fish on Fridays, more prayer. No sacrificing a pig as fish! But if you're not a Lenten celebrant, you can have your fill of a lovely fatty doughnut. They do say those with health issues can abstain from the partial fasts, but at 500 calories, one of these is surely overkill and should only be taken rarely!)
I am delighted to report, my kitchen is fine and that this year, I only got my ashes once. And the original dalek cake recipe, via Blue Peter, a British kids' show, sort of like Sesame Street. I have to say I prefer the classic episodes that I've watched on Youtube, as the newer ones got a little odd, sort of like the new version of the Electric Company blew dead bears but the original is still bloody marvelous. Enjoy, and towards Easter, may there be peace, more light, and a chance to eat, drink and be merry!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday 2013

Fat Tuesday has left us, and full of pancakes from Fat-or Shrove (pancake) Tuesday celebrations, it's time for 40 days of sorting myself out (well, 40 more days of doing so... as I have been at work to get myself sorted for some time now.)

I have, for some time, done at least a decade of the Rosary a day... to get myself rested, to get "bad energy" as it were, out, and to focus on what's really important, as part of my meditation practice. I use one of three large rosaries--- we seem to collect them in our family, from my father's large wooden beads from his stint as a Franciscan- to a blessed strand (blessed by John Paul II) to the 6 inch rosary bracelet I wear on my wrist. (I have arms that would best befit a very muscular mosquito.) This is simply, 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, and 1 Glory Be, (Which uses a sentence I've unconsciously been using when I list things verbally... "World without end, amen.") around the rosary, stopping to greet Our Lord and the Holy Mother.

Yes, I have heard of the Pope's resignantion, first in over 700 years. I am not laughing, although I was used to and liked John Paul II very much, and could not, even thinking "forgiveness is all", etc, manage to respect Benedict XVI. May he be blessed, is about all I can say. The jokes about the Pope giving up being the Pope for Lent, while I have an odd sense of humor, are sad to me. 

I also added in a new app, which lets me do breathing exercises, which is very helpful and gets me to slow down. This is Meditation Words on Google Play- which allows you to breathe in and out through the prayers... 1 prayer for forgiveness, a prayer for peace, and the Lord's Prayer again, as well as prayers for Tao and Buddhist philosophies. 

After the extreme bell ringing while sorting out Lightning Bug-I'd hoped that it would filter out "household noise"- toilets being flushed, heavy footsteps, the occasional too-loud conversation somewhere in the building, or water gurgling. But along with the artificial rain, one thing that is calming for many but sends me in search of a bathroom, it also used bells on a loop, and I acquired a Pavlovnian- reaction that had me sorting out if I needed to pee or begin the Liturgy of the Hours. White noise is still something I haven't gotten, but laying/ sitting still and breathing to calm are actually possible for me now. (And at once, someone has uncapped a Sharpie and is writing in a calendar blank: "February 13th, 2013: Beth learns to be still.") So-

Meditation Words: Highly recommended.
Lightning Bug: More work needed. 

In all, I've been officially at this for about 37 hours total, in varying segments of time. I am finally learning to be still, which I needed, and perhaps calm myself. 

It's been tough: Got an answer, a diagnosis, but also found that the anti-convulsants had not been working, and had indeed been hurting me- from lack of vitamin/food absorption  to severely cutting down how much food I was capable of eating, to not helping symptoms at all, as I am actually allergic or sensitive to many, and keeping me from being able to use or eliminate other medications. But while on occasion, one type of seizures messes with speech/writing, and I get frustrated because I'm trying very hard to be understandable, I have been hard at work, researching both neurologists (It's not so much an icy, nasty demeanor. It's refusing to talk to me, rather than yell about how frustrating I am, and medicating first, letting "Inconclusive" be as opposed to checking the answers, and re-doing tests, and then asking questions.), and alternative seizure-control treatments. I am not my disease and want to simply live---cause mischief, be a brat, go out... without fear and without worrying that someone will force my hand and my freedom will be taken away. And without fear of losing control in public. I also want to, and am working on, being calm, and being understandable. One step at a time, I suppose.