Monday, October 7, 2013

An Angry Poem After A Long Silence

An Angry Poem to An Anonymous Commenter

Do you think that I don't hurt
     because I've learned to get up when I fall?

Do you think that I don't understand darkness
     because I know my way around?

Do you think my eyes don't burn
     because I don't broadcast it?

Do you think you know me
     because you saw my photograph?

You don't know me. You won't know me.
     Don't dare think you do.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I have trouble claiming good things about myself. Like, I do a lot of art, but I never contemplate saying "I am an artist." So here is a scary post in which I will name the things that I think I probably am, even if I am afraid to admit it.

I am a daughter.
I am a sister.
I am a sister-in-law.
I am a niece.
I am a relative.
I am a mother.
I am an aunt.
I am a cousin.
I am a friend.
I am a confidante.
I am a Holistic Health Counselor.
I am an artist.
I am a musician.
I am a writer.
I am a poet.
I am a Morris dancer.

...There are a lot of things I considered putting here that are also kind of scary to admit to, but they are more traits than roles, so I think I'll let myself off the hook and stop here for now. 

I Painted Some Animals

Recently I had a painting-simplistic-animals phase. Here are some of the results.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Historically I really have not enjoyed cooking, so as I was sitting here eating a meal of kielbasa and sauerkraut that I prepared, I was feeling pretty self congratulatory. And then I realized that all I did was cut up some stuff and then heat it up. I started feeling a little low, like it wasn't "real" cooking, just a slightly glorified version of putting frozen fries into the oven.

And then I realized... all cooking is just heating stuff up. Yeah, you might chop some stuff for easier heating/eating, or mix some stuff together, and there's a few different methods of heating stuff up... but really, cooking is just heating stuff up. That sounds so much easier! So much more doable! I think I might have just turned a corner in my self care and eating habits.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Knee and Taking Care of Me

Twenty years ago I was in a car accident in which my left knee was injured. I don't remember exactly what the doctors said was wrong, but I know I had to wear a big cumbersome brace for a while.

Four years ago I was in another car accident in which my left knee slammed into the dashboard. For some reason I didn't get it checked out at the time, though I did see a chiropractor who said she thought I might have a slightly torn meniscus (the meniscus is the disc of cartilage separating the leg bones and cushioning the knee joint). Since then my knee has had some pain, some swelling, some weakness. Stairs, squatting, and kneeling have been especially troublesome.

Three months ago I squatted rather abruptly, and felt a weird pop in my knee. Since then the pain has been worse as has the swelling and weakness.

Two days ago I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my knee. Apparently the accidents and injuries caused the cartilage behind my kneecap to wear down. My kneecap thought "Whoa, that's not cool, I shouldn't be rubbing against those other bones like that... I think I'll grow some bumpy protrusions (called osteophytes) to guard myself." So instead of a nice smooth kneecap, like a paved road, mine is more like a cobblestone road at the back. These bone bumps irritate the joint and cause the inflammation that is arthritis.

I've researched ways to treat arthritis, and my first steps are to apply arnica cream (arnica is a plant with anti-inflammatory properties) daily and to take the supplement SAM-e. These are the two "natural" remedies that seem to have the most success, based on both anecdotal and scientific evidence. I don't want to try too many things at once because I want to know what is working and what isn't. I also don't want to shock my body by introducing a lot of new substances all at once. I will also do the simple exercises recommended by the osteopath.

The osteopath I saw had quite an air of being rushed, and of an expectation to be obeyed. I allowed myself to be slightly bullied into getting a cortisol injection in my knee. Apparently this decreases pain significantly after a week or so, and can last for several months. I wish very much that I had told the doctor that I wasn't comfortable with the shot, and that I would schedule another appointment if I decided I did want it after doing some research. I did ask him if there were any side effects, and he said as long as I'm not allergic to any medications, there would be none. After having done some belated research, that is patently not true.

I have had steroids in the past (as a vapor, for pneumonia) and they caused me some some pretty severe feelings of anxiety. The same appears to be true for cortisol injections. Normally I am very relaxed, very laid back. Since about 6-8 hours after I received the cortisol I have been experiencing waves of anxiety several times a day as well as a constant underlying sense of nervousness. My knee feels no better (though to be fair, they said that would take a week and it's only been two and a half days). My breathing, unless I focus on it, is more shallow and rapid. Unless some miracle occurs in five days, I will never accept another cortisol shot.

I will also honor any feelings of unease that come up for me, and do what I need to do to take the best care of myself possible.

Monday, April 29, 2013

This Is A Test and Some Great Things

This is mostly a test post to see if my grandmother still gets this blog sent to her.
Hi, NaNe!

Also, my people, I know I haven't been writing a lot lately. Like. At all. Ever. For months. Writing kind of comes and goes for me; sometimes I feel like it's very helpful and sometimes it doesn't seem all that fun. I try not to push it either way.

Since I'm here though, I might as well do some Great Things.

The mystery that is Clara Oswin Oswald

Enjoy Life brand gluten free products



Random acts of kindness

Cozy blankets on rainy days

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fear and Compassion

This is what I just posted as my status on Facebook, but I think I'd like to go into a little more detail:

"i mean... i understand how fear becomes hate. i really do. i get it. and i'm interested in making sure we as a country remember the principle of "innocent until proven guilty in a court of law." i'm also interested in how we as a people show compassion for others who clearly have some pretty major issues, as one would have to have in order to carry out an act of terror."

I know that, if he is found guilty, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (and his deceased brother) were guilty of some truly heinous crimes. Some unforgivable crimes that have forever changed so many people's lives. It is not ok to act as they did, and I believe that justice should be unflinchingly served.

I understand having emotions about this: being angry, feeling hate, wanting the perpetrator to suffer as their victims have. I so get that.

And I strongly believe it is also important to remember that Dzhokhar is a living, breathing, feeling creature. I believe that he also has felt fear and anger and hate and love. I believe that in order to commit a crime of this nature, something inside of him must have gotten terribly hurt, terribly confused, terribly twisted. I think that, somewhere inside of him, there is enormous pain. And despite his terrible acts, my heart goes out to him on the very basic human level; here is a man, more of a boy, a child of God and of the universe, who so completely lost sight of his connection to that universe that was able to consciously and purposefully be the cause of so much anguish.

I am sorry for the citizens of Boston and its surrounds whose lives have been touched and transformed by pain this week. And I am sorry for Dzhokhar, whose life must have somehow been touched and transformed by pain as well.

Monday, March 4, 2013


Tonight, after months (maybe years?) of thinking about it off and on, I have come to realize why I don't let to set goals for myself.

A long while ago I had a really unpleasant and defeating belief that I was lazy. I felt like I didn't get things done when they should be done, whether it was me or someone else or some societal standard (real or imagined) that was creating the "should" part.

In a class I took, I reframed that belief and it became "I happily do things when I am fully ready to do them." That means that yeah, I might have a few days worth of dishes sitting in my sink, but when I do them I am genuinely glad to be doing them and they get done well. I'd much rather that than force myself to wash the dishes and hate every minute of it. I do have a list of things that I would like to get done, with notations of deadlines if there are any, that I work from, but doing things when it feels good or right to do them works much better for me.

So the idea of goals... of saying "I will do such and such a thing by such and such a time" seems like a betrayal of this idea. I mean yeah, some things have deadlines and I can respect that and I am generally good at meeting deadlines; especially if I have a fair bit of advance notice so that I can do the task at a time that feels best for me.

I think I've been judging myself for not being "good" at goals. But ya know... I get things done, on time if there is a time limit, and I enjoy doing what I do. How could I find fault in that?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Moment of Death

My stepmother, Deborah, died on Monday morning (January 21) after a long (and yet shockingly short) battle with cancer. I had the honor and privilege of witnessing her final days, and then her final moments.

In her final few minutes she lay comfortably in bed, surrounded by her husband, her mother, and her sister (and me). The sensations she felt were their hands caressing her, and the sounds she heard were their words of love. I myself was quiet, reading prayers for the progress of her soul and for the healing of those left in this world without her.

For a while, when we knew that Deborah was living her last few minutes, I felt a heaviness in my chest; a tension. Her breaths came further and further apart, and I felt that the tension was growing. There was a time at around 10:15 when we thought she was gone, but the nurse found that her heart was still beating. The uncomfortable feeling in my chest remained.

Then at 10:17 (I know, I checked the clock) I suddenly felt a lightness and actually began to smile. For nearly a full minute I felt uplifted, the heaviness and tension was gone from my body, my teariness dissipated, and my head felt sunny and glad. I felt the truth of Baha'u'llah's words:

"I have made death a messenger of joy to thee. Wherefore dost thou grieve? I made the light to shed on thee its splendor. Why dost thou veil thyself therefrom?"

A minute later the doctor confirmed that my stepmother had passed away, had ascended into the next world. 

"Bestow upon Thy heavenly handmaiden, O God, the holy fragrances born of the spirit of Thy forgiveness. Cause her to dwell in a blissful abode, heal her griefs with the balm of Thy reunion, and, in accordance with Thy will, grant her admission to Thy holy Paradise. Let the angels of Thy loving-kindness descend successively upon her, and shelter her beneath Thy blessed Tree.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I Exist!

A Man Said to the Universe
by Stephen Crane

A man said to the universe:
"Sir, I exist!"
"However, " replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Thoughts on Icarus' Adventure


i like to think
that when a man is a reduced
to a dusty heap of feathers

he can,
after a time of stitching wounds
and knitting bones,

haul himself to his feet
and limp on
(more steady with each step)

to find something less fickle
to bind his dreams to
to take the leap again

and maybe it doesn't matter
if he ever really flies,
so long as he tries