I blog gluten-free

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Epilepsy Unveiled and Song of the Magdalene, Your Year End Recommendations

A very special post for Epilepsy Unveiled.

Epilepsy Unveiled is a site dedicated to seizures, care taking, psychosis, and brain injuries,  -and surgery- among other things. 

A brand new book as come out, with the eponymous title of Epilepsy Unveiled. 
The last chapter is a letter written by the hero, one Charley. Charley discusses, among other things, what it's like to have an aura and a seizure. Far more poetic than many.

 For example, I tend to describe them in profanity, not excluding French profanity. I like a word such as "Merde!" as it can be understood in any language! 

I recommend Epilepsy Unveiled to patients and caregivers.

The site has other helpful topics, such as choosing surgery, on making goals, postictal psychosis- a distressing time, as you've been sick, and already had to stand outside yourself, and now, for example, if someone pops bubble gum, you're inclined to slug them.

Please do check out Epilepsy Unveiled (Book, Amazon link.)

Now, if you're a fan of historical fiction, rather than partial memoir, I also recommend Song of the Magdalene.

Be blessed and joyful... here's to 2015! Na zadrowie! 
Scarf by: Dezeen Dot Com, Alchemy silk scarf by Cristian Zununaga

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Challenges and Goodbyes

It's time for the annual "What is needed/ what needs to go" reviews. I always love a good challenge.

At this point, I'm free from a series of partials that I am firmly of the opinion, also turned me into an obnoxious, overemotional, twat. I'm probably not quite free of giving myself a good smack. I never really believed in out of body experiences before. It's a really weird and freakish experience to wander, to sleep everywhere but your bed, to look on and ask, "Holy shit, what the hell is THIS? Who ARE you? Get out of there, that's my body, and I'm using it, thank you very much." I think I'm still doing that to an extent.
I've been jumpier than a jumping bean on acid (Yes. I know it's insect larvae in a seed pod. I like the simile.)

While the time has come to say, "No, fusker. I don't like being dragged and shoved around. I don't like the fact that I was dragged into a grocery store on the day before Thanksgiving again. Especially when last time, you actually shoved me into the candy display. I've never really been that interested in having Reece's peanut butter cups that close to my tuchus. I really hate that you shouted, "How can you be so clumsy?!" I'm aware that this year, my stepfather/ something or other of 19 years went to the great VFW Fishfry in the Sky. I neither enjoy nor appreciate being the punching bag for this nor the person who is apparently answering for Mom's will. I'd assume that is for her to follow through. And discussion should take place... with HER. I am not,  cannot be responsible for her behaving like a grownup. My responsibility is ME. And I am upset that I have had to deal with others' issues and have not been able to be appropriate or myself, forever trying to stave off criticism or a smack."

You can feasibly say: 1) I've let myself get gotten at. 2)I need to be assertive, not aggressive. I found it irritating and frustrating when a friend both told me things I already knew AND told me to give into anger. Among other confusing statements, I've become disoriented. 3)I need to get me back. The me who delights in the fact that everything is funny eventually. The me who enjoys warped humor. The me that loves freedom... to choose, to run free. To learn from, even if I don't agree.
People that make me feel uncomfortable due to inappropriate touching or needing to comment on personal choice-hair style, that I need to eat this or that, do this or that, don't understand why I'd dislike certain situations or types of touching... need to go. My eyebrows, the formation of my skeleton, if I prefer to do this or that, is really my business, and feeling uncomfortable about it is wrong.

I also need to remember that the next 4 weeks is explicitly set up to set light to the darkest part of the year and in two weeks, the week of joy is coming up. What good is it to be sad over how I'm not this, I'm not that? Sure, I hope to rectify a lot of things. To recoup from illness and injuries. But I absolutely have to set aside that which does not help me.

As for freedom, of my own... I think I need to leave NY by spring 2016, and ensure better health care, better employment, better education. A place where I have control over wall colors, myself, what I believe, what I do, where I go. I have to help BETH.

While I fully enjoy helping others, I know when I've been kept in the dark too long. I won't be accepting "Let me take care of yous" it's creepy and has some weird overtones. And I hate being in debt to anyone. I have a tendency to want to nurture; there ends up being a weird Frau Boucher style creepiness if I think, "I'm not doing enough." This has to go. Being nurtured is fine. But I think I should start with me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Second-Hand Anxieties

If you have an illness of any kind, making yourself an island is a bad thing to do. There's a hierarchy of needs consisting of companionship, food, and more physical appetites.

I consider myself a piss-poor patient. I get grumbly and irritatable if I'm not able to do things for myself. Even when healthy, those who seemingly doubt that I can boil water for pasta, remember to make a cup of tea (and I have a particular ritual for that: Quality tea, a tea kettle, and long steeping times.), or indulge in solo activities. Life is a risk. You can die in a bathtub, (Having had an episode in one, I realize that this is no hollow, trite fear.), or you can die doing something worthwhile. Or, Live

If you care for an independently-minded person with any one of a number of chronic illnesses, some of which can lead to increased anxiety or depression, then your job is this:
1)Teach them NOT to fear. That you can be trusted. That they can come to you.
2)Understand that sometimes, laughter is the only thing they have at that moment. Gallows humor exists because we are meant to fight for survival, to rail against death. Do not go gently into that good night. Rail, kick, scream. Laugh.
 3)It's one thing to care. When we love others, we might worry. But casting doubt on others, giving them lists longer than their arm span is wide, of everything that can go wrong, feeding them that heaping spoonful of fear, shoulds, and despair, is a horrific thing to do.
4)If you care for someone who has not had an easy time of it, feeding their own fears, before they can face them down, will cause them to pull away. And for very good reason. People need not be reminded about:
A:What a former spouse may or may not like
B:A list of things they dealt with, with said former spouse/ other partner/ fill-in-blank-here.
C:Piling on new anxieties for fun. This may or may not cause nightmares where innocent people are transformed into monsters.
5)For God's sake: I beg of you, don't answer for people. Don't talk every way but to.

Maybe... maybe you should simply remind them, indulge, and honor them for this: "Just be you." Remind them of the things that make them wonderful. Be compassionate about episodes, about nightmares, about injuries.

Do NOT, I repeat, NOT allow the person to hear you ask "Why did you have to do that at the store? You ruined my day!" Feeding guilt and fear does nothing to help anyone. The first step is to try to unlearn that fear and help them so they can be confident. A normal conversation should not  sound like a sarcastic reiteration of "Stand By Me".
What if you're out hiking alone and have a seizure?
(What if the mountains should crumble into the sea?) 
Have the person make and show you plans, medical information for wallets, ID tags if necessary. Not often will law enforcement pay proper attention to tags, to my discomfort, but you need to be there if your diabetic needs sugar and is hassled for being drunk. The same might go for your epileptic, wandering confused, emotional, and panicked by not being able to control themselves. If they cannot speak, YOU must be calm. YOU must learn to speak for them in this instance. (The only time I'd approve of such behavior. I know how I like my cocoa/coffee/tea. I know what I'm doing. But if I am unable to function and need medical care, and have no voice, then you must use my pre-planned words.) This means planning. You all need to sit down and discuss "If X happens, then you need to do Y". All should be written down, signed and agreed to.

Remember that a smile, a nice dinner, love... can make a big difference. Sometimes, you have to say, "I understand that you weren't quite with it. I'm not mad."
I think caregivers as well as patients can benefit from seeing a counselor. Some caregivers neglect themselves. This will make frustration even more likely, and far worse than it should be. Frustration is part and parcel of the experience, but it can be too much and cause a person to react differently, to show anger they previously had no idea they felt. Toxic behavior is just that. It poisons everyone.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Time to be Human

It's frustrating, frightening, and horrible when you can somewhat stand outside of yourself, daring, begging, and fighting for control. For understanding. An old prayer generally associated with St. Francis asks: "... Let me seek not to be understood, but to understand." Sometimes, interests and protection need to be on a human, not saintly level. I have not done so well lately. My emotions need Depends. I cannot help others until I help and heal myself.

I have problems hearing-made worse lately with a slew of technical issues and a sinus infection that refused to die. I am, however, acutely sensitive to tears, anger, or what I think is anger. Panic does nothing for me, but send me into a spiral.
I cannot handle the pseudobulbar affect ad (for awareness) as the actors are very loud and over the top. If I am freaked out, I react very weirdly. I cannot assume others understand. I can't force them. But I MUST stand for me, and my freedom. I will be pushed and pulled, scared and shocked absolutely silly. But I have to push on. I have things to face. And I know, somewhere are walls to strip down and paint a fresh blue, stars, and life. So ... while I am unable to change the facts of a cold summer night 11 years ago, I can fight my demons now.

While I shared the ad about two posts ago, I cannot watch it. This discussion is long but done calmly.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

People First-With Some Apologies to Emily Post and Mrs. Beaton

How do you introduce your friends?
"Oh, Janet, I'd like you to meet Jen. She is a kleptomaniac who also likes croquet and the music of Gilbert and Sullivan. Klepto-Jen, this is Janet, who once ran for the "Puppies to End World Hunger" campaign, has a rather bad habit of chewing garlic cloves whole, (Oh, have a breath mint, dearie.) and once sold herself to an electrician for $5 and a new lamp, but she does have a heart of gold and hasn't run over any old ladies in about three weeks. Well, you two should have a lot to talk about!"

Descriptive language is important and does paint a vivid picture. I can think of two children playing with a ball outside, or I can think of two sun-kissed children playing with a big, blue and white ball, in a sunny meadow.
Your friend Janet has famously foul breath. Your friend Jen needs to be frisked after a party. Some other details aren't really necessary.

How about the words we use to describe people? Jen and Janet seem more human and fleshed out. But what of Bevis, who likes to conduct music while listening to the radio, usually brandishing a large zucchini. One probably would not call Bevis "The Great Zucchini in concert!" One would probably say, "I'd like you to meet Bevis." Now, let's use "the Great Zucchini" one more time. "How is the champagne, Margaret? Oh, fabulous! Margaret, I have someone here that you'll be delighted to meet. Margaret, this is Gangrenic Bevis." (Bevis has gangrene, you see. He's a big hit at parties.)

Cocktail parties would be particularly awkward and frustrating if those with health conditions or rather interesting lifestyles were introduced and discussed rather than, or in a way that their actual fun quirks. (It's also really bad etiquette to (A)Ask someone what they think of a person, to inform them, "Oh. Really? Well, Frank doesn't seem to have a real personality, and always plays parts. Plus, he's really a liar. Haven't you noticed?" or (B) to do this while smiling in Frank's face and bathing him in empty flattery.)
So, let's say you have a friend with a medical condition.
"This is Josie. She has epilepsy."
"This is epileptic Josie. She seems to like that a lot more than 'Spazzy Josie.'."
Which of these is correct? Neither, really. One is not their medical condition. One might use certain adjectives when asking for certain accommodations, but condition-first language aids in dehumanizing ourselves. When this happens, we are left a shell of ourselves.

Here's a fantastic idea: "This is Abigail. Abigail, this is Josie. Abigail, why don't you tell Josie about your collection of pornographic post cards from the 19th century?"
Another no-no:
Person A:"Hello, Felix! How are you?"
Felix: "Hi...I..."
Person B: "Gail! Let me tell you what Robbie (Felix's older sibling) is doing! Oh, Henry too? Oh those guys." (By now, Felix is either standing stock still with a face changing between white, pink, red, and purple, or quietly going outside.) Tip: Sotto-voce insert an inappropriate comment. With luck, they'll have to recover from the shock. Don't be TOO filthy.
Gail: "Felix! How are you?"
Felix: "Gail! Hi! Well, I just started/ have been..."
Person B: inserts embarrassing details and rather well-disguised put downs.
Felix, my friend, there is no escape here. Smile and be polite. But try to say "Excuse me. But I'm Felix, I think." And you probably should have a wine. May I recommend a lovely Reisling called "Relax"?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Holy Purple Pumpkin of Antioch

The yearly Purple Pumpkin Project is an effort to spread awareness about epilepsy. Epilepsy affects 1-in-200 adults, and can be caused by many factors. In this world, there's emphasis on breast cancer awareness, a worthy cause, but surrounded by charlatans and pushed to the exclusion of anything else, including dangerous mens' health issues such as prostate cancer.

This is a pink-washed world: Giant pink buckets of the Colonel's best, drill bits for fracking (Seriously, Susan G. Komen?!), scarves, hair supplies, coffee mugs and toasters. I'm holding out for a purple dildo that plays "Stand and Deliver" and says "Save the brains!" for no other reason than this:That still wouldn't be the worst or most inappropriate piece of awareness merchandise.

We really don't need a purple-wash, per se. What we need is this: a fun and fantastic way to show where our hearts are and can lead to discussions that can save lives. I've found that neurologists hold back necessary information and use scare tactics.

For news and information in fighting against epilepsy, please visit:
The Epilepsy Foundation.
For a list of more links or if you're outside of the US, please visit: Epilepsy Information Resources- I need to do some updating, and if you know of anything, please let me know!

The first step in fighting: You may already feel anxious, fearful or dehumanized by your illness and by medical professionals who NEED TO DO BETTER. Your doctors need education every bit as much as you do. You are not insane. You are fighting an illness that affects your brain. You have done NOTHING wrong. You are not alone. Keep going.
"First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it"

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mea Culpas and News Updates, or, State of the Beth Part II

Everyday, I try to learn a new task, perform a new craft, improve a recipe, learn something new. Even something as odd as the mating cycle of ferrets, or as one Craigslist posting would have it, "Cat-snakes."

But today, I learned about one particular hangover of traumatic brain injuries, hereafter called TBIs.

They can cause you to be rather labile.

 I am irritated, because I was handed a diagnosis, a death sentence (I've since decided to go with the conclusion that Dr. With A Terribly Offputting Name was terrifically wrong. And I celebrate this every moment, but especially every year!), medications that, across a wide scale from broad-spectrum to targeted, I ended up being allergic to. I was told that epilepsy meant I couldn't have a family. That no man would want me. When I was pregnant, I was told to abort, when I asked what I could do, because I didn't like the side effects of AEDs on a fetus. Dr. Offputting told me in no uncertain terms to abort. I refused. After reiterating his rather dark prognosis, and not giving me anything resembling proper medical care, I left shaken. Tonight, I learned about an interesting hangover to TBIs. Namely, inappropriate reactions. Tears or laughter (When not discussing TBIs, I tend to think snark is a wonderful way to handle things, and that there is no such thing as inappropriate laughter.) I was either not told about this, although telling me that I was bad, dirty, uncooperative, too emotional, and that any pain I was in was my brain and not my body, meaning that my kidney went undiagnosed for years... until, suddenly, it couldn't. I did everything to avoid this, went to doctors, support groups for conditions I didn't have. I became far more anxious. I lost everything because I didn't have proper resources. I became resentful and distrustful of doctors who hurt and insulted me, while I counted down the time until I'd finally just give up and quit.
I never did. I can't, I won't. But being told "Well, this is what happens after a TBI, and we are going to monitor more than your nutrient levels on AEDs" would have been fantastic.
I spend a lot of time teaching on living with epilepsy. I fight that anxiety and depression are common. That talking about it, that fighting... is what is necessary. How to deal with life stuff, dating, going out in public, dealing with the cops. I never knew about inappropriate laughter, tears or anger, except in the confines of Parkison's Disease! (This really should have alerted me. Parkison's affecting the brain. Derp.) And while I was either not told about or slept through a discussion on this particular symptom... (I'm sort of betting on the former more than the latter.) I do vaguely recall a few commercials, that like most, I ignored.
And...while watching to actually catch up, I felt an urge to take a pee break. How could I ignore and not figure out that "Wait... that's... " I've called myself overly emotional, the TBI distilling certain small things and making them REALLY apparent. Oh, God, I've mimicked every crying Virgin Mary in existence. Thank God, it was in saline, not blood. That's just messy. I have a lot to learn. I also am having an inappropriate reaction to a well-meaning ad... because it's over the top, and sad people/ loud people put me on edge.


Are you still here? Good news! I am 8 months free of tonic-clonic, aka grand mal seizures. I am two months free of smaller episodes, (I am estimating, but I think I can say 8 days shy of the calendar date is an allowable estimation.)
Last month, the 7 and 1 month point marked a 4 year point - if not the 1 year point I'm reaching now. I have now gone longer without a seizure than I have for the past 4 years. I still need to learn to "find" words- I tend to know what I want to say, and end up not being able to speak, or not being able to spit out the word at the end of my tongue. I always had some problems with speech before my injury, the distillation process means that when nervous, I can't hide them as well. I turn into a malfunctioning robot far more often than I'd like.

But I am better, day by day. I will close before I somehow end up singing a 90's TV show theme song. I think, rather than recriminations, party time is what the doctor ordered. :-D
*Ask your doctor if party time is right for you!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

State of the Beth?

*Note: I have reached 7 months free of tonic clonics, one month free of the smaller episodes.
On the whole, I'm doing fantastically in that department. *Crossing fingers!)

We all like to think that we can do it all. I enjoy that feeling of accomplishment from not having to say "Help me!" and doing first, asking questions later.
(There are those who say it's easier to apologize than ask for permission, I'd say they're right...too right. I am working very hard to stop that tendency, actually. I'll see how it goes!)
I managed to teach myself a terrible lesson, going by the cues I got from those around me. Well-meaning, but ultimately, fearful- in that I let their voices become part of my internal narrative and shook with fear at nice people who said "Oh, let me help!" (With what? I've only cooked for myself and others about a thousand times!)
Don't take over unless I ask you to.
Teach me something I can do that is useful and keeps me out of trouble.

I learned that those who went nuts insisting that I do things by myself had a point- I'd feel very good.
Then they'd ask who helped me with the project I'd worked so hard on.
Or they'd insist on "helping" me with simple tasks I'm already good at... making tea, filling a coffee pot. Look, if you see me with a 5 gallon jug of water, feel free to help. Except on spectacularly shaky days, a 12 cup carafe is not going to be too much trouble.
I hate the lists- "Ask Josie if she can help you! What do you mean you don't want to borrow milk from Jenny?" and more.
I really detest doing something, being proud, and being asked who helped me.
Or actually asking for help and getting asked why I told the person I asked anything instead of struggling. I hate that far more.

But I have had to come to the conclusion that the last 11 years since my head met a sidewalk,  did leave a mark on me:
*My hand control varies. I am nearly out of coffee cups, have gone through about 1/3 of a set of 16 drinking glasses. My white shirts are not so white anymore... I might as well give them a coffee bath or tea-dyeing, or even a tie-dye! And the gross (144) bandages I bought? Gone.
*My AEDs messed up my eye sight so that close work requires both my reading glasses and my contacts.
*I'm ultra thirsty all the time... I also have to keep both saline and fluids in balance.
*I used to make small wooden toys... jelly bean/ gumball machines, a little jigsaw puzzle... without it being tough. I'm hoping to repair a gumball machine I made at 14- clean it up, make a new plug for the hole at top that the candy is poured into. It needs a wide cap with threading for a secure seal. Take care of the signs of being packed away for years. Maybe stain it a pretty, bright color.
*Sewing is something I can do, But I've struggled at cross stitch.

I sometimes do have to acknowledge what I can't do anymore, figure out what I want back, What is feasible?

First and foremost though: I am not a rug to walk on and while being polite-even coldly polite- is fine, I need to say, without guilt, "Look, you can't do this."
I'm attempting with everything not to apologize... make it mean something, like when I say no, another word I struggled with (the opposite way) So far I'm still awkwardly replacing it with "Suck it" in conversations with friends.
But, I'm absorbing a few nutrients now. I've got a lot of fish to fry, as it were... projects, the need for escape.
I also have to stand up for me. No more letting myself be dragged, to have my happy moods changed into something else. No more letting people talk over me. It's upsetting and embarrassing, and I will have my say!
I will quit doing my malfunctioning robot: Intend something else, short circuit, head swivels around by a thread, sparks shoot out and I'm guaranteed to say something that, if not intentionally so, strikes people wrong, but can also be the words I've thought about saying while people shouted over me and told me that I had to speak this way, no that, and couldn't use my hands, (Impossible), insisted I translate all conversations with deaf people (Uh, no. That's private.) And sometimes it gets unleashed on the wrong person. Or it's entirely innocent and yet... phrased very badly. That's among my many tasks.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Howard Lovecraft and the Three Kingdoms: Update

Update! The beautifully-appointed hardback set of "Howard Lovecraft and the Three Kingdoms" is so close to Arcana's goal! Let's give it a little boost! Thanks to community support, and word of "mouth" the fund has gone up 40+% in a week!

Introduce the glory and weirdery of Lovecraft's world to your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews... To YOURSELF! And do it with a classy, SO-appropòs- leather-bound volume (and maybe even candlelight!)

To support the effort to introduce such beauty, please visit Howard Lovecraft and the Three Kingdoms KickStarter and watch the video!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Howard Lovecraft and the Three Kingdoms

A project very near and dear to my heart: Making the charming and beautiful HP Lovecraft prequel graphic novels about young Howard Lovecraft and his loyal pet and friend, Spot more accessible to the masses AND showcasing them in a format that best suits them: Leather binding! The wonderful and imaginative writer, Mr. Bruce Brown, and the fantastic folks at Arcana are making many (weird) dreams a reality, as AT LAST! The missing middle of the Howard Lovecraft trilogy, "Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom" will be available.
Please take the time to watch the video at Kickstarter, and help honor the innovative HP Lovecraft for his birthday.
KickStarter Campaign: Howard Lovecraft and the Three Kingdoms Hardback Graphic Novel

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Badly Drawn Cartoons No. 1: Conjugating the Verbs For "Go"

In English: "Exit, pursued by a bear". Literally translated, "(He) exits and is pursued by a bear". This is what I do if I'm not pacing during a phone call. Expect a lot of these.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What Is The Meaning of Life Part One Gazillion

I'm thinking both that, this is essentially the best way to base your philosophy and your ideologies on... (or do we need to have them at all?) Thanks, Siri.It's nice when my Monty Python love and my half-hearted questions to Siri actually click together. And when a computer actually can understand me!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Dream Team Tea Party

A question like, "If you could have X number of people to dinner, living or dead, who would they be?" sometimes goes around.
My follow up questions are as follows:
1)If your guests include Gandhi and Jesus, along with a polarizing figure like Joseph Stalin, I'd think that your menu choices would be limited and one of the four, (Because you're hosting) would be slightly peeved and probably not add much to the "epic" chatter you'd like to have. Sadly--- because that really would be epic.
2)Do they actually have to be people?

But, the classic "Dinner Party" set up by Judy Chicago got me thinking.(I'm sure Judy Chicago agonized over which historical figures to add...and she blended together quite a mix, of saints and villains.). The feminist angle is not what I'm looking at, (although it does permeate, and is, kind of the point.)  but I would relish hearing the Empress Livia ask Queen Elizabeth I to pass the salt or what she thinks about the poet Homer.

I've been building a dream team to invite to tea... it gives me something to do when my brain does its' nightly overthinking. (Usually at three AM, having woken me up to tell me all about it.)
So far, I'm stuck, having given myself an unlimited list.

My dream team tea party is as follows:
1)Stephen Fry (Who can keep the bon mots flying, and discuss his numerous trips to Africa, among other places, with wit and charm.)
2)The Empress Livia herself (Fascinating, even if she wasn't the cold, calculating murderess/ sarcastic bitch portrayed on I, Claudius. She was, at the very least, stubborn, strong, and a survivor. Magnificence.
3)Siân Phillips, in or out of stolla. An utterly fascinating actress and woman of her own right, whose depiction of Livia helped foster the "Magnificent Bitch" stereotype we have of her.
4)Cthulhu- because... Awesome, that's why. 
5)Really awesome biker couple that must have epic tales to go with their tats and Rockabilly looks. 

And they already look like they're dressed for it.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mama's Got a Brand New Bag

New opportunities have arisen. Now adding to my teaching gig, I've added features writer, designer, and brand manager at Epiphanies Magazine to my bag. Because of a death in the family, and because I don't want to make myself sick and screw up four months without a tonic clonic seizure- or make my smaller staring spells, which I'm trying to correct, worse, I'm attempting to take it easy, ask for help when I need it. I've managed to learn HTML coding, studied up on RSS on the train to visit friends, (I'm thinking I'm meant to write a travalogue, but I'm still recouping... travel is never never a good time to learn about a death, sudden or not.) and did off-season Latin homework for my courses, in which I cannot converse vebally, unless I'm asking a question, accidentally slipping into it, doing a translation, or catching bits of Spanish or Italian (I did manage to translate a short conversation from a British show that sounded more like, "How long can we keep this up?" "Well, with my liberal arts degree...") but hold a solid 96% in class work. I'm ensuring that I celebrate the good, too. And look forward to more of it.

As brand manager, I know getting the design as simple and memorable as possible is the best way. I had one particular design I liked, but it ended up being too much blank space, so I took the basics and simplified, after asking select people to take a look for me.

I also tried my hand at an app for Epiphanies' social media presence, and learned how to build the basic template for those. Thankfully, Como did the QR code, although that should be a cinch to learn.
Below: A QR code for the Epiphanies app, a lazy 2 hours in the making. Compared with learning Wordpress, HTML, attempting RSS, and some odd dreams from this endeavor, this was a lazy chunk of time!
I will be looking around and improving as time goes on, and am grateful for the responsibility.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Memoirs from Tralfamadore

When I was a child, if you'd asked me what I thought heaven was like, I would have given you a description of people living in small glass apartments with 1950s and 60s appliances- avocado and sunburst, I think they're coming back! With radios and a rabbit -ear television. Heaven supports the aluminium industry.
 There were lush plants too... but I was limited in speech and everyone kept staring at me.

I realized what I was describing, other than the sex and the aliens, unless somehow, we're really the aliens- and sometimes, I wouldn't fight you on that- when I first read Slaughterhouse 5 and got to Billy Pilgrim's adventures on Tralfamadore.

So, at 4, I was either psychic and describing a book I hadn't yet read, psychic and describing neo- 60s minimalist decor,  or... I've been to Tralfamadore. Or... I'm just a colorful dreamer.

Monday, April 28, 2014

On Triggers, On Remedies, and All That Jazz

The first answer for many people when asked, "What are your triggers?"- when it comes to epilepsy, that is, is stress. While a full blown- episode might not develop, a tendency to do a blank-stared wander about (if I'm getting lost, I mean to do so purposely!)
-might develop. It's always funny- in fact, hilarious- later!
I guess I've learned this: my humor is odd and is very healthy!

Still going strong... No tonic-clonics for 12 weeks now. The minis can go... preferably somewhere in the deep south with a rather hot and arid climate!- and the "I can't brain" moments where every action is done like an automaton... I can look dear friends in the eye, have no freaking clue who they are, but do something like wave or smile because part of me says, "This is expected, act normal and no one will notice." It's a lie!

But I got myself together... and will pray for no repeats of that particular move... in the meantime, time for quiet, for comfort foods, for happy music.

I also enjoyed a wonderful and glorious performance by Cecile McLorin Salvant at Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and was delighted, stunned, and taken aback. And stress melted away. I can over- think another day! (Or, work on NOT doing so!)

With jazz, with scatting and a free, open, lyrics and flourishes, I can sit back and let myself get caught up... and no one worries if I'm enraptured, transfixed, or swaying. :-)

Note: at Saturday's concert, the ultimate line in "If This Isn't Love..." was, "if this isn't love... I'll kiss your ass!"

Thank you, to a dear friend for taking me, her children not liking jazz (You poor loves!) and 2 sets of people having to pass tickets on! I'll take it as a Godsend.

As for ass KICKING, it's my turn. I'm beating this, and sorting out! To... a state where I'm not worried about, "Oh, gosh, something's going wrong..."
Time for joy!
Cecile McLorin- Salvant: If This Isn't Love...

Friday, April 25, 2014

Backstage in Biscuit-Land

Tourette's Hero is a spectacularly funny woman and one of my favorite Super Heroes. By day, she's an adorable curly- headed lady with a tendency to tic, "Biscuit!" and what seem to be fantastic recipe and craft ideas. Jess, who suits up in blue spandex and a mask, has also given me fabulous ideas, both for rewarding myself when I go seizure free, and when I have to go back to square one: laugh about it, and make sure you reward yourself. 

Jess is a gifted, natural comedian and is trying to get her act, "Backstage at Biscuit Land" to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I know I'll have to YouTube or hope it's on Comedy Night on the CBC- and I can't wait, even if I can't be at the Fringe myself to cheer her on. 

Check out her fantastic blog, too, at Up, up, and a biscuit! It's... Tourette's Hero!

Please enjoy the video, and let's help a hero out! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Horses Named Dude and Democratic Hydras

The wonderfully insane mastermind behind "It Came from Allen's Brain!" asked a few interesting questions, and never passing up an opportunity to over- think, I got to work. 

For other probing questions and original stories, please visit: Allen's Brain

1)Q: You've been through a desert on a horse with no name (I feel bad for the earworm.) In a fit of boredom, you decide to name it. What is the horse's name?
A: The horse's name is Dude, of course. Dude is a horse, of course. "Dude" is a term of endearment in my family. 

2. Q: Dr Jarnikov, diabolical genius, is going to perform the classic brain swap experiment on you. Who/what is the other subject?
A: This is temporary, right? Because I sort of feel bad for whomever/ whatever takes custody of my brain. I'm used to it, and even I get annoyed. I've been told people are curious about how my brain works, so if there are any volunteers, walk this way.

3. Q: The Great Old Furry Tortoise of Wisdom grants you the answer to one question. What do you ask? 
A: Oh, dear. I'm sure the first thing on my mind would be, "Why are you furry, O, Wise Tortoise?" Before I could stop myself. 

4.Q: Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door. Build a better mouse, and...
A: Watch out, the world will either have pitchforks or Disney movie deals this time. 

5. Q: There are eight entrees on the menu. How does the hydra make up its minds which to order?
A: If it's a democratic hydra, they either draw straws or go by which head has gone the longest without eating. 

6. Q: It’s the end of the world, and you have the last pudding cup. What do you do with it?
A: I'd like to think that I'd have those little cardboard ice cream spoons, and would share if I could. Slurping out the dregs is best. What I'd probably do is try to save it and would end up mournfully intoning, "J-E-LL-Oh!" 

7.Q: Sometimes you just have to get away from the angry, pitchfork-wielding mobs. Bamboo hut in the jungle, laboratory hidden in a volcano, observatory on the ocean floor, or apartment in the sub-basement beneath the Asian food market?
A: This one's simple. Or is it? Everybody will probably think I'd try to hide in a volcano or under the sea. My best choice is to hole up somewhere that seems too obvious. I'm not giving anything away lest that route is closed off too.

8. Q: You’ve just strolled into an ice cream parlor in the Twilight Zone. What’s the ironic problem with their frozen treats?
A: It's the Twilight Zone, so expecting some strange disaster, like exploding ice cream, or ice cream made with a Soylent Green cone or ice cream that never makes you gain weight, because a portrait of yourself ages and morphs into a helus, (glutton) and then comes alive and eats you, would be too obvious. Rather, nothing happens... Or maybe it does. Your choice. Choose carefully! Hands off the peach Melba!

9. Q: You are the comic book superpower fairy. What amazing ability do you give your enemy?
A: The power to read my mind. 

10. Q: A box arrives at your door with a note, reading “Do not open!” What do you do?
A: Is it sparkly? If it's not ticking or moving ominously, I'll be sorely tempted to open it. I like rebelling. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

It's Just a Wafer- Thin Mint...

Oh, by golly, the time of year I find myself good and swamped... because I did it to myself, and/or I see people with problems and can't hold back.

No one is sleeping properly... and I had JUST been getting a schedule, too. (It means one of these days I'll zonk right out at 5PM and wake confused 12 hours later.
It doesn't make me happy to be on trend.
But when I'm ALMOST there, I get one or more of the following:

My legs deciding, along with my brain, which I've affectionately taken to calling Audrey, that I am a Rockette and this is the Christmas show at Madison Square Garden.
The 3AM Wake Up Question or Columbo Act, depending on Audrey's sadistic whims.
"Just one more thing..."
In order, some of Audrey's most interesting questions:
*You occasionally like Necco Wafers, right? Don't they have a terrible name? 'Neco' is Latin for "to kill"- Wafers of Doom! (CATCHY!)
*What have the Romans ever done for us? (Audrey, no more Monty Python before bed.)
More frustrating is the recrimation, what should be done/ said replay.
I gotta get this brain in shape.

This ought to do it!

That's Nerddelicious! Mr. Creosote's Wafer Thin Mint

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Howard Lovecraft and the Kingdom of Madness

Note: I received my copy of Howard Lovecraft and the Kingdom of Madness from the writer, Bruce Brown. I am honored and grateful and consider both Bruce and "The Kingdom of Madness"  to be precious gifts. 

The capable Thomas  Boatwright  endears and terrifies with his beautiful, glossy illustrations.

"The Kingdom of Madness" opens with our hero, Howard, and the childlike adults who make little Howard seem like the only grown up and voice of reason. 

It opens with an apt, disturbing quote from Edgar Allen Poe:
"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dreamed before".-Original Source: "The Raven".

And we see a scaly arm, an annoyed, well- dressed little boy. 

Then, we see a vintage plane (To US, anyway), carrying Howard, his sickly, insane father, apparently on their way to meet a doctor. Spot-aka- Cthulhu, aka- Hu Hu Hmong, acts every inch the excited, tentaclly puppy, while the child of the group expresses doubt. This is normal for Howard and Spot, up to and including Howard's capable act as a loving, but strict father figure who has to occasionally lay down the law.
Having read HP Lovecraft's "Complete Works", I find what amounts to a prequel to Lovecraft-the Grown-Up, Not-Fictional-Character's  disturbed and disturbing, wonderful but not for children'- 's works extremely beautiful. It's a cuddlier side of everyone, including Lovecraft, whose views of race make the "enlightened" of the 21st Century choke. It's beautiful. I watch every Howard Lovecraft book for an image of Little Howard and Cthulhu hugging. 

I also look for shoutouts- a very obvious one that I adored was a shout out to Charles Addams, a capable illustrator who lent his name to the 1960's portrayal of his artwork, called *Snap snap* The Addams Fam-i- Ly *Snap snap*. 

I was charmed and delighted, and give Howard Lovecraft and the Kingdom of Madness two tentacles- er, thumbs, WAY UP!

I also send my thank you's to the wonderful Bruce Brown

Words can't describe how much I love this warning label. 

Thanks again! I was touched, disturbed, and I couldn't be more grateful! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Purple Day, or, Save the Brains!

You might see some purple banners unfurled, ribbons dusted off. Why? Isn't Epilepsy Awareness Month November? Yes.

Why am I once again playing with purple? 
-1) because I have a lot to celebrate! As of last Friday, I'm 42 days free of tonic-clonics. Because I have goals to reach and it's TIME to get better! 

-2)Because there's so much emphasis on saving the boobs, which ARE, fantastic, but for all the special edition hoodies,coffee pots, panties and Smith&Westons, there is still no mentions made of the males also affected by breast cancer. Do I think epilepsy awareness needs to follow with expensive coffee pots and stand mixers? No. While breast cancer is "sexy", with "Feel your boobs! , "Save the Boobies!"- epilepsy takes a back seat. A 2010 article on funding for research proves saving the Brain nets researchers less than minimum wage per day, most of it going towards medications, which don't work for 20% of the population. This is a huge deficit. 

-3)Because there's still stigma, there's STILL sweeping things under rugs, discomfort, and myths to dispel. And until the day comes where I can buy a limited edition epilepsy awareness dildo, or a hoodie at Sears that says, "Save the Braaaaaaaaiiiiiiins", I'm fighting for my brains and my boobies.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lente, Lente

Lent has been upon us since March 5th. The idea is sacrifice.. as in, if you choose to not eat sugar, or fatty food, don't do it for those hot jeans.

I tried- am trying to give up anger, to be more patient. Anger has both just and unjust reasons: is someone being hurt? That's just. Are you being hurt? Then you MUST say something. I like to use the wholly unholy phrase, "Grow some big, hairy balls of steel." How to reconcile that... well. It's a headscratcher, and I'm afraid I don't have the answer.

This is no time for a perfectionist streak.

Put away needs for perfection, from yourself, from others. It's not happening. And human perfection is an illusion, normal is an insult.

How to reconcile lean diets when you have health conditions? Well, if, for example, you have an illness, are elderly, a child, you might not have carte blanche to either gobble down any glutton-y amount you might like, but fish and veggies aren't a sticking point. What can you have, besides meat? Tomato soup and grilled cheese (Dairy, broths- the taste of meat, without the substance- A-OK.)  Pizza. Pasta with almost any sauce.
But with health conditions, you may have chicken, meat, with no shame. What would I consider not limiting diets for? Children, the elderly, those who are ill- they need energy, not restriction, those with trouble maintaining calories, those recovering from eating disorders.

You are asked to put self behind you. You are not asked to make a martyr of yourself.

Remember that temptation is normal- indeed, we derive Lent (Funny how in Latin, you get the word, "lente" for "slowly"- but keep going!) From Jesus being tempted by Satan for 40 days.
There's a test, and oh, goodness, I'm feeling it! Above all, be careful what you pray for!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Squeaky Pig Gets...the Bacon?

There's a form of positive reinforcement, where a person is rewarded both for reaching a goal, and for cracking on with it. I have heard it referred to as "Giving the kid the M&Ms"... which sounds like a fabulous idea for this kid. I'm not entirely sure, by the way, that it's ever been truly used on me... given a pack of M&Ms in 4th grade, I had to give an average of the colors in a 1993-era bag of M&Ms before being allowed to indulge. This just allowed me to organize colorful food. Ok, I learned mean, median and mode, too, but frankly, I was thinking of other things.

I did find an interesting lady with tourette's, one very fabulous Touretteshero, who also manages, in her tics, to give such poetic soliloquies as, "Be as ancient as a fish and as wise as a guillotine". Jess, you should write fortune cookies. She has a system in place. When she goes tic-free for 24 hours, she gets a decorated rubber squeaky pig. As much as I like and adore her collection, especially "Pig in a Wig"- dressed quite nicely in 18th century threads, I'm not really a piggie person. I love the snub-nosed little pink buggers, but in thinking up a system to keep me crackin' on, and motivate me, it wasn't a rubber squeaky pig that made my heart beat more quickly.

A friend asked me if I'd be upset if I didn't reach my goal, and thus missed out on what little trinket I'd decided was my reward. Truthfully: Yes. But I've decided on my first "pig" so to speak, and might very well turn it into a theme- (For a while, I was searching half-sarcastically for a Cthulhu teddy bear. They exist.)

I've loved HP Lovecraft and the like for many years. So I was delighted to see this beautiful little graphic novel, Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom, about a little boy, his pet, Spot, and his epic journey. I had yet to decide, when I lost out on my goal at nearly 7 weeks, exactly what my time perimeters were, but 2 months is my first hurdle.
In response to my friend's worry, I've decided that it is time to buy myself something nice. And work on the next goal as it comes. I have to work on my attitude, too. And I gave myself a lot to worry about, after I worried that I had nothing TO worry about. Ah, c'est la vie. Actually, I decided this: I need to be patient and kind to myself, and not keep being frustrated by all the goals I set up for myself to jump.

So for now, I'm giving myself some time, hopefully finding a somewhat mindless pursuit that I can do without analyzing, I'll enjoy the Roman Art History & Latin classes I'm working on, and simply get engrossed in the beautiful artwork, etc.

I can analyze later.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Seven Polish Plumbers Plumbing

I hope to meet a Daily Mail writer in my lifetime. Just so I can shake their hand and give them my honest and heartfelt thanks for their accidental humour.

What would it be like, on those occasions where I am stuck in recovery stage and have run out of reading material and have begun swearing at yet another cross-stitch pattern... (Huge confession: I like crafts. But I have a deep and abiding hatred for cross- stitch.) and I couldn't open up an article on Polish plumbers plumbing?- and driving up house prices. (Tell your friends! I'm here for all of your home improvement needs!)

Thank you, to the Daily Mail, for reminding me to be bikini ready, but not go out IN said bikini. I now know the only way not to "flaunt" is to wear a ski jacket to the pool.

Love, a devoted foreign git.

*Recovery mode: The time post seizure when I can easily be mistaken for a rather slurry, foul-mouthed drunken sailor, and when I'm apt to come down with any cold or flu that comes my way. As of Saturday, I'm 7 weeks seizure free and I'm hoping to keep myself strong and get stronger. Currently, my record stands at 8 weeks, and I'm attempting to beat that and give myself positive reinforcement. Recovery Mode lasts about 2 weeks, except this time when I came down with a good flu not long after and am only just getting full strength and energy.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

For Lovers, Plague Victims, Bee-Keepers and Me...

St. Valentine tends to get his name cursed and misused quite often.

Sappy and beautifully, wonderfully inappropriate little cards run riot... er, are mailed in abundance- how nice that for once, I don't seem to be supporting the USPS single-handedly.- or are hand delivered.

But it's not just about making people uncomfortable, Hallmark getting money, or silk panties.

In third century Rome, abuses of power abounded. It was after Nero's reign, after Caligula, who may have been epileptic himself, and long after Marcus Aurelius, great speechmaker, in the second century- the second-last of the Nerva-Antoine Dynasty, whose steady hand on the wheel left an empire woefully unprepared for Commodus, a loose cannon. The Valentines were early Christians who ran afoul because of their faith, and because they fought against marriage laws disallowing men of the soldiering age to marry. So, there's that love connection. Nothing as romantic as strobe lights, champagne, silky panties, or a sweet card. There was a festival of love, for Hera, not Venus, which involved swatting the person you adore and sounds a lot like the Polish Dyngus Day celebrations post Easter. Polonia, having been conquered by the Romans, might have simply taken Lupercalia, added a Christian spin, and kept the swatting. Just as we did with Lupercalia, but usually without swatting a boy or girl to say "I love you."

Unlike the information cited in this otherwise sparkling article on Atlas Obscura, the Valentines were not killed in the third century by Claudius. Well, not the Claudius most people think of... evidence might point to Claudius II, who died after 2 years on the Imperial Throne, of plague.
AtlasObscura: Curious Facts About Valentine's Day

This isn't a "Shout a lot, show people the original meaning", sort of post, not to end with.

In this case, I'm hoping to compile epilepsy related (Inappropriate cards, welcomed.)greeting card slogans.

"I'll bring the champagne, you bring the strobe light"- works for any day of the year.
"SEIZE the day"- sadly doesn't work with " Carpe diem." And Latin has wonderful, colorful phrases, like the loosely translated "I don't like the look of those sows' udders" and "The man who inspects the saddle blanket instead of the horse is stupid; most stupid is the man who judges another man by his clothes or his circumstances."

There are some,slogans that, "Have a sense of humor!" Aside, I couldn't bring myself to take past my brainstorm stage.

Due to the bee-keeper connection, a few honeys got bandied. As well as a "A plague on..." 

I will be playing with ideas. Personally, I happen to like "A day for plague victims, lovers, dreamers, bee-keepers... and me". 


Friday, February 7, 2014

The Cliff Notes Guide to Seizure Types

Like fine wine and grapes, or even bananas, epilepsy has many faces, varieties, and disguises.

I don't usually use WebMD- I find it a sort of terrifying tool. And Dr. Google is the LAST physician that I need. However, all tools have uses- Good and bad.
This is a slideshow of varying epilepsy types and beautiful images of the nerves and brain.
Epilepsy: A visual slideshow

This beautiful video of a talented musician gives a well-done illustration of absence seizures.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Push Me, Pull You, and/or, Putting an End to Shame

How to be a caregiver/ how not to be a dick- I can't stress that more strongly, unless I put it in bold, italicized, dark red 60- point font.

1) I am not Flash Gordon when I feel something coming on. As much as I get accused of leaving people in my dust if I'm walking with them, I become rather shaky and a bit jerky in my walking movements.... Do the robot!- I find it very annoying, and occasionally painful when someone pulls me by my arm or pushes from the back. Some do this... and the shove to look around you- whereupon, you're against a wall, and thinking unkind thoughts like, "Bitch! Ask me to move or to sit for a while!" - without any conscious thought or malice. It's my responsibility to say, "I don't like that," to the pushing/ pulling, or, "I need to sit a moment,".

2) Don't ask if your friend or family member is going to have a bit of a problem, or a seizure, in a hushed, shamed voice like they just told you that they find hedgehogs listening to industrial metal with headphones to be relaxing, or like they admitted to a serious crime. I am not the most shameless person. And during my mini episodes, (8/7 central on Hulu!) I am apt to be very snippy right back. Whereas, in my "normal", I'll just be a snot.
This is also why I tend to avoid people when sick. I'm a lousy, meanly-sarcastic brute who delights in using newfound cusswords- NOT crosswords, although I love those, too-  of all nations, because I found that it tends to be a distraction/ pain reliever. There's great relief in Catallus' epic set down, which begins with "Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo, ".

(Because Catallus means puppy, and he did tend to write love poetry, my brain seizes (no pun intended.)on a lovestruck, mischievous puppy snarling.)

Basically? Just carry on, avoid putting pressure on a person... It's one thing to say "You shouldn't be stressed," another to avoid BEING a stress. Physical force is sometimes painful and scary. Sometimes, if a stranger hugs me, it might be scary for me, not comforting, now's not the time to talk about manners. Sometimes, a person I know well- no, it always is... using force and grabbing, pulling, and shoving is scary and I'll be too shocked to do anything. This stress will lead to more symptoms.

3) if I can't hold onto anything because my hands shake, shame won't make that go away.

ETA: do NOT speak over them. Do NOT speak FOR them UNLESS THE SITUATION *ABSOLUTELY* CALLS FOR IT. In a normal conversation, people like to voice their own opinions, likes, dislikes, and anticipating is not listening. This behavior also serves to tell the person, "You are not capable, and I don't like what you say, so you will be a breathing ventriloquists' dummy." If they can't speak, then you must. Before an emergency, discuss what needs to be said, to paramedics, doctors, and\ or cops.
*Understand that "please stop" and making the patient feel guilty is harmful. 
*Understand that the patient is a human being with real feelings. Not JUST a patient. 
*Overprotective behavior is just as harmful. If I am feeling well, I might love a walk in the snow,  a hike, a trip, or bungee jumping. Being scared to let them, and making predictions and wringing your hands... Will not aid them in trusting you or feeling protected. It says "You can't." 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Nietzsche and the Giver

"We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once."_Friedrich Nietzsche

*Please note: Sir Saint Thomas Moore, who gave us the word, Utopia, and wrote the classic on which all utopian epics sprung, did not believe it was possible. Paraphrased: "Humans will find a way to screw it up."

Is the above quote appropriate for a "utopia" where pain, joy, sadness, anger, love, and lust are regulated and medicated?

The Giver's society, as any middle-schooler knows, is actually a dystopia, of artificial weather- no color, no warm sun, no cold snow. True pain is scary and they have to have someone to take on the load or society is in turmoil.

There are rules against difference... mentions are later made about genetic tweaks, of trying and not quite succeeding, to eliminate recessive genes like "light colored eyes" and red hair.

There are rules against asking questions- a rather strange rule the protagonist receives is: "You may lie". He soon wonders how many people received the same rule in their training papers. For all the emphasis on truth, on being open, a lot of people seem to lie fluidly.
And that's where 99.99% of "The Community" following the rule about not asking questions and not being rude help keep everyone happy and satisfied.

I won't do a play-by-play.

How... very apt for our unquiet times. It doesn't surprise me, any more, to see what looks like a prophecy of the 21st century, written by people who thought the 60's-70's or even the 1990s to be heavily government-influenced and dystopian. (They were.) In these unquiet times, one is told to be patriotic, to question nothing, (Forgetting a portion of the Declaration of Independence that reads:
“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness”

People are already asked, "politely" and with all-out rudeness, to leave. How soon before they're expelled, or worse because they didn't go along with the Status Quo"? 
It HAS happened. In the 60's, at Kent State, the Army murdered protesters who said that President Johnson and the Vietnam War were wrong, and peacefully made their positions.

Japanese and German-Americans were abused and locked up during World War II.

There's so much more, and I haven't scratched the surface- teeming as it is with maggots-

Who says, "ENOUGH is enough"?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Free Radicals

Tradition: What is tradition? Governor Andrew Cuomo's recent behavior had me searching myself. I do this a lot, but I had to see where I stood.

Traditions are people gathered to celebrate and honor a shared cause or another person/deity. They decide, "That was great! Let's do that again!" And it grows. Or, a belief or behavior passed down with symbolic meaning or special significance.

What is not tradition?
HATE. Hate is not a tradition. For years, for generations, those seeking to belittle have chosen tradition, "This is how it always was, don't wreck it" to do so. And have used God, money, family, the status quo to do so. They have used guilt.

And forever and ever, "radicals" have come out and said "No. That is not ok." Some have died because they dared go against what "always was". And while people were resistant, they changed. Sometimes, slowly, sometimes more quickly than you think and traditions became half buried, funny little rituals that made more modern people say, "Gosh, our great-great-great-to-infinity-grandparents were silly!" Or, "What the hell, Granddad?!"

It shames me that I agree with Governor Cuomo on 1/3 of his stances this week. No, Meatloaf, that is bad. Hold onto your hats, kids.

A: If you love someone, gender doesn't matter, and everyone should be able to love without fear of government intrusion, losing benefits, or being unable to see each other if one part of the couple is hospitalized. They should be able to inherit, adopt. Gender doesn't matter.

B:Abortion, if done for any reason other than rape (ALL rape. No rape is fake, it all damages. And there is no shutdown valve.) or incest, health of infant or mother, is wrong. I do not approve of any proceedure beyond 20 weeks. I believe that no matter what, you support the mother and do not judge her decisions. Belief is one thing, being a judgmental asshole is quite another.

C:The Right to Bear Arms. You have a right, a duty, to protect yourself. You have a right, regardless of a piece of faded parchment, to arm yourself responsibly.

2 out of 3 ain't bad, eh, Meatloaf?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Blazes and Conflagrations

It's ok and wonderful, and great, to be there for your friends. But one straddles, constantly, a fine, fine line between being there and insulting family. No matter what crap gets tossed, family is... Family.

Toxicity runs in families, sometimes, with a whole host of its' own issues. While it's not ok to single out a child for the "Do this,", and to pile scorn, gossip, and criticism on them, it's also not OK to insult a friend's mama. 

Conflagrations erupt especially when two people cannot communicate and are seemingly smarting from, and trying to discuss two separate arguments. 

What's the hardest thing? 
There's explaining what hurts- psychology texts tell you to use "I Messages"... "I feel ____ when _____."
But textbooks are cold and don't factor in the humanity and tempers. It's not good to be frightened of saying, "Hey, this is stressing me out, and I need quiet time," for fear of a hot, blazing argument, during which you learn so much about yourself, and things that you're sensitive to- everyone's got a trigger button- are shouted out to you. 

Is there a solution? A guaranteed fire- stopper? 

Maybe letting go of the "They won't like it, if I tell them I am upset by this. They tell me I'm too sensitive all the time", and quietly saying, "I am stressed out. I care for you, but can't let you talk to me like that." At the very start is best. 
Holding back leads to explosions and white- hot blazes. 

It's easy with acquaintances: "I am upset by racist speech and behavior. I am further upset when I'm told I'll understand when I'm older," nothing will likely change with those patterns, but you can walk away.

With family, there are some things you cannot accept, that are wrong. Love is one thing, and history, and respect. It's quite another to realize: those are being used to keep a mouth shut. 

I'm trying to put out fires, but first, I need to step back, give myself time to heal from other things, and work on assertiveness and patience.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

I Am NOT an Animal! I Am NOT a Machine!

Why comparisons to machinery aren't good for you. If you have invisible illnesses, you must be polite, but insist upon your rights and your humanity.


Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year, New Order

Making resolutions isn't going to happen for me, and I think that ship sailed.
But I am a creature of habit. I like order and routine, and am perpetually working on goals, ideas, and improvements.

*I will let myself off the hook when it comes down to toleration of the intolerable. Life is full of things that will make a person bite their tongue. But that's probably good... even if you're like me and have a tongue bearing teeth marks. But if someone says something racist or homophobic, "But I have X friends, so it's ok!" They'll swiftly become an ex friend, which is of course, completely different than an ex parrot. =)
I don't think tolerating that is essential.

*That I continually need to repeat everything and over-explain... has driven me nuts because then I repeat said behavior when unnecessary. It causes a nasty case of spluttering. I've got to find a way to get back to me.

*Reworking the skin care routine. It feels good, is good for me. I'll also work the routine for undereye circles... a perpetual annoyance. I fell off the wagon for a bit and feel less like myself.

*I will finally change insurance companies. I will quit gritting my teeth when having to explain the situation. "I have it, it sucks, and I am attempting to get it changed. But changing is different than GETTING it."

*I will quit grinding my teeth when people say "I'll talk for you"- and ensure that I speak for myself. People also tend to talk over me... I will continue to find an inappropriate thing that makes them stop.

This will be continuous, not automatic. Process. Progress.

This parrot is no more. It has ceased to be. It's an ex- parrot.

Monty Python - Dead Parrot Sketch by beautifulcynic