Grateful for Regimens and Protocols – September 20

img_3445What a way to go forth into fall — a fibromyalgia flare has sneaked up on me and dropped me like a dead cat on my own doorstep! Still, I am grateful that I DO know how to do this.  

It is no longer an undiscovered country.  I no longer am afraid when this happens to me, I no longer worry about never getting better.  I know the drill:

Don’t miss vitamins and essential fatty acid supplements.

Drink more water and limit coffee.  Remember that a little alcohol kills pain, but too much adds pain.

Eat what you can get down and not to excess.  Remember your gut hates dairy in flare.  I am very grateful I no longer crave and indulge in sweets binges during flares.

Work in short bursts of opportunity, rest in between.  Watch lots of comedy, laugh a lot.

Take naps.  Go to bed early.

Do yoga, even if at only half the time and effort.

Stop everything when you get dizzy.

Listen to your body when it complains with pain: don’t castigate yourself for failure.  Love and nurture yourself back to health.

Get out into nature more, but no crazy hard hiking.

Curl up in a feather comforter and read when you cannot sleep.

Feed yourself beauty when your gut hurts too much for food.

Grateful for GoFund Me

cup of loveSpecifically, I am grateful people are giving to the fund for the young wife/mother/Army officer was was lit afire by a hateful old male employee.  And yes, since she is Army, her doubtless huge medical costs will be covered.  However, as commenters have pointed out to some very ungracious clueless posters?  Child-care won’t be covered. Bills once covered by HER check, if she is medically discharged won’t be covered.  Family expenses won’t be covered.  And btw, waiting for the military to provide physical aids she might need?  Might take too long so it would be great if that fund covered some of that on the spot.

I’m awaiting payday to donate.  My old Volvo demanded a transmission rebuild this week and so I am broke, broke, broke.  Any Pacific Lutheran grads out there?  She is one of “yours” — so toss some cash in the pot to make her recovery less grueling and worrisome, ok?

Gratitude 17 September (Caturday?)

img_3478This morning, I am grateful for kitten paws on my face in the dim of six in the morning, and the pale dawn light shine on wet patio stones outside my window.

The light is very dim today, the air is fall coolness.  I light up more lamps in the house to counter the gloom.


Cat 0600

My hair is not a rat’s nest,

Instead it is a purring cat’s nest,

Her chin rests upon my ear,

Her three pound weight anchors me to pillow,

I wake from a nightmare of human ashes,

A paw pats my cheekbone as a purr announces,

Life and warmth and presence in now,

All the dread past and fearful future?

Collapses into morning’s first meow.


Gratitude 9 – 11

I am grateful that 15 years after “the day”, all the fear-floggers have been wrong about foreign terrorists hitting us again.

The constant flag waving and repeats of replayed horror remind me of the story my husband told me about parents in Turkey taking children to see a painting of a battle over 100 years old.  The parents emotional telling of that old battle was accompanied By tears and rage!  Can’t ever let that hate die, can we?


More people in America die by gun violence in America EVERY year, and yet we have no day to read THOSE names, do we?



Gratitude 4 September

washboardAs the Washington State skies gray and cool (to my delight), and I sort laundry? I am profoundly grateful for a washer and dryer!  I say this with full knowledge of what doing a family’s worth of laundry without a washer or dryer is like.  I’m not talking a few items of hand-washing like iffy sweaters or fancy nightgowns.

No, I mean, old school.  A house with no hot water heater — no indoor plumbing whatsoever, in fact.  Heating laboriously carried-in water on the stove and pouring it into a huge galvanized steel tub and scrubbing by hand on a washboard, a bit bigger than the one in the picture.  Big things like sheets were stomped like grapes in old movies.  More water carrying, more water heating, more work to rinse — though often this was done in cold water for time saving.  Then the hand wringing began and the hanging on lines.  If it was winter, they hung inside, as drying outdoors was nigh impossible.  And later, the ironing.  Ironing everything, even t-shirts and men’s undershorts; even sheets and dishtowels.

I always wonder about those people who get misty-eyed about living in the past, thinking the 19th century, or even the 18th would be “awesome”.  Only if you are in their version of the top 1%, darlings.  Otherwise?  Even the 20th century has some hand-reddening, back-busting “fun” left over from the not-all-so-good-old-days!

Gratitude 29 August – Wherein She Deplores a Well-Written Book

I like reading, and am generally grateful for books. I am grateful for the book I just finished, although reading it was like indulging in a film genre I deplore: horror. Trouble is? This was a non-fiction book.

Attachment-1So, while I am gratefully deploring “The Battle for God” by Karen Armstrong; I’m pretty sure she would ungratefully deplore my used graphic today.  Tough.  I think Ms. Armstrong, for all her meticulous research and very fair minded approach, has a couple blind spots.

Armstrong peaks my tolerance meter when she suggests that people under duress from fear and economic distress feel “left behind” by modernism — the general post-Enlightenment default mode of most of the Western World.  Her discussion of American fundamentalists in particular comes across to me as a prettily written gloss for “Yes, we are fucking idiots who like to boost our ego by being assholes to others; how DARE you college kids and atheist/feminist/faggot jerks tell us no; it’s a religious RIGHT, damn it!

All in all, I DO recommend the book.  It might be better read with a bottle of Scotch near at hand instead of the coffee I used to plough through it.  I absolutely enjoyed her careful historical analysis of the religious revolution in Iran — the whole nasty business that downed well-meaning Carter with hostages he could not retrieve.  However, it was NOT Carter who set that stage with letting the Shah be an autocratic asshole to his people, driving them to religion for refuge.  However, she also describes how a well-meaning revolution descended into a reign of terror devouring many Iranians; and yet somehow misses sounding alarm klaxons for what could happen if the legal “cuffs” every came off in America.

While she discusses how the less educated, poorly employed, tech-deficient Americans embrace Iron Age mythologies because they feel “left behind” by modern secular life?  I think she should have perused the book series “Left Behind” for where those mythological dreams would actually TAKE those pitiful fundamentalist sorts.  While she DOES discuss the American Christians who openly want theocracy, complete with slavery and forced birth?  She seems to believe the “Dominionists” are more dangerous than their Islamic brothers.  I wonder?

Like many modern apologists for Islam, and monotheism in general, she repeatedly stresses the nice things the Koran says instead of discussing with complete honesty what believers in the Koran did, including plenty of “conversion by the sword” by Mohammed himself.  She notably does not address the absolutely Iron Age mentality in the holy books of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — the way women are property (whether or not they veil for their own purposes, thank you very much), children can be slaughtered for disobedience or apostasy, and wonderfully non-modern things like slavery are AOK with God (and Jesus?).

She seems to want to defuse the religious fanatic bomb without actually acknowledging that religion IS a bomb.  She insists that humans need both “mythos” and “logos” and it is her opinion that problems happen only when mythos is treated AS logos.  One of my issues with this is that she seems to think monotheism is the only viable mythos out there; and second, as she said, any mythos being transformed to logos becomes an ideology.  And that, folks, let me tell you, IS the road to human hell paved with allegedly good intentions.  Ideologies make people into a means to an end — and as a good Kantian/Nietzschean Existentialist, that is a huge no-no.

For every chapter and verse she quotes on peace and love, there is more than one for “Kill the unbelievers!” in any of the three faiths she discusses; she can list all the external pressures in the world — but that is only the making of the gun, if you ask me.  The ammunition and the will to put finger to trigger comes from the “mythos” she tells us we cannot live without!

For a woman who once called herself an atheist, Karen Armstrong has returned, it seems to an idealized fold.  She thinks a religion-free era leads to emptiness and nihilism — whether she got this from Sartre’s “god shaped hole” or Nietzsche’s dead god, I don’t know.  I think with a bit of practice, we big-brained adaptable primates could find plenty of grist for that empty mental mill — IF we could stop fearing an afterlife punishment we are propagandized, beaten, and bamboozled into accepting.  I sympathize with her personal struggle and applaud her “praxis” approach to religion  — her description of it as “ethical alchemy” enchants me.  But as a priest once told me, shortly before I, myself, abandoned the Catholic Church, “Your ethics and logic applied to religion are not in line with the bulk of religious people; they will not rise to your level.”

Note, this book came out before 9-11, 2001.  I know she has written more on the topic of religion and terror.  I am not sure I want to read more, even with a bottle of Scotch at easy reach!  I walk (gratefully?) away with the uncomfortable sensation that Armstrong believes religion necessary, even IF it is an evil, and is trying to put lipstick on a pig.  She finds criticism of her take on Islam destructive, fearing it could lead to another Islam-directed Holocaust.  I share those fears, to be honest.

But if we could see ALL religions and hierarchies based on the holier than thou sorts ordering large groups of semi-stupid people into action as dangerous?  Well, then perhaps change would happen.  I think pointing out more loudly that, just as feelings are not facts, NOR is FAITH, might lead to more societal benefit than merely writing hall passes (in blood) for religious manias.


Grateful for Green Russian! August 28th

I am grateful for a productive day over all. I picked 4 lbs of little green apples and cooked them to make apple pectin. Then I used the pulp, the pomace, of that cooking and made 6 jars of apple butter.

greenrussianBut the best? I made a simple cool vegetarian dinner – a salad I call “Green Russian.” I am grateful for that! It was delicious!

Cook 3/4 c of kashi — toast it briefly in dry pan, then add 1 1/2 c boiling water and cook for 10 minutes, gently simmer/steaming the grain.  Chop 1 1/2 c Italian parsley and put it in a strainer — tuck it under lid over steaming kashi for last five minutes to blanch the parsley. — set it aside to cool.

While this all cools?  Thinly slice 2 green onions, one fennel bulb (also cut some of the lacy greenery) and 1/2 a pound fresh mushrooms.

In a blender, put cooled parsley, 1/2 c olive oil, 2 T balsamic vinegar, and 1 T lemon juice and one garlic clove (I used garlic comfit — soft and mellow)  Blend all this till it is emerald green and smooth.

Mix cooled kashi, sliced vegetables and emerald green dressing.  Serve with boiled eggs on the side or some other protein of your choice.  Delicious with broiled salmon, for instance!

Gratitude 27 August

In my childhood, I remember many yards in various states of decrepitude. I remember hours of back-breaking labor of my own to transform such yards into something better — on my mother’s orders. I also recall the beauty of success.

Blue morningWe occasionally had flowers! Imagine.  A great favorite of mine was the morning glory in that marvelous sky blue shade.  So, in this yard  – my yard – where work is done only at my self-command?  I have planted these seeds almost every year.  And despaired.  The seeds have come up and blossomed only twice in all those years!

But I am grateful that this IS one of those years!  The vine is not thriving, it is very slow growing.  But it is blossoming and the color is bliss to my eyes!

Gratitude? August 26

rockedI am mysteriously grateful? Grateful for mystery and distraction?  I think?  I walked the Labyrinth last evening, and went out again this morning to be sure I was not imagining things.

My yard is fenced and the only gate into the back is very difficult to open from the outside.  So it isn’t as if strangers can just walk onto the Labyrinth, you see.  My sons have not been out there doing anything either.

So, note, in the photo of the counting beads atop the central monument?  A small stone — a wee bit more than one inch in diameter has been carefully set upon the monument.  By whom?  By what??

I suspect the crows.  Once upon a time, when I did counting bead strands one hundred beads at a time, the crows used to steal the shiny loops — leaving my count lackingly discoverable at cleaning times.  I restrung all beads in loops of 200 to make them too heavy for a crow to easily make off with and the problem ceased.  Perhaps the crows decided to give me something back?