Thursday, June 30, 2011

One Failure Allows Another Success

Okay,  NABLOPOMO was not a success this time around.  Once I started feeling better, breathing is a wonderful thing, I realized I had so much stuff to do!  So my blogging every day here in June sort of like, well, failed.  But I have a pantry now! Imagine me doing a happy dance, let your mind fill with pictures of celebration, as those are the only types of pics of me you will get to see.   I've lost 10 lbs. since mid-May but it is going to take several more tens of lbs. to make me want to post pics of myself.  But I do have pics to share with you.  

First, the "before" and I need to attach a content warning.  They are scary!

But first, a little bit of a story.  Last year I moved the washer and drier from the tiny utility/mud room that is just off the kitchen and opens onto the side yard patio of our home.  I had been plotting to do this for years!  The washer and drier are in a toilet/laundry nook separated from the master suite by a pocket door as you can see to the right.   
The utility room stood devoid of old washer and drier for months storing only plastic tubs of dog food and dog treats, and a few tools and lots of dirt.  Then at the end of May my hubby and I decided to finally start the remodel on the room and turn it into a pantry closer to the kitchen than the old food storage area.  Here you can see the old washer and drier hook-up.  

And the view of the room from the kitchen.  Yech. 

I did a really good job of emptying out the room, TSP-ing every surface in the room in prep.  Hubby did an amazing job of re-plumbing the old washer drier hook-up into a modern version ready to go hook-up in case anyone ever wants to put a washer drier out there again.  Hubby and I both did a really good job of demolition, and a good job of spackling, up to a point.  That point was when Zilla decided her poor old decrepit parents were not doing it right so she took over while I was down and drugged from my septoplasty and she spackled and sanded for days, which drove Hubby bonkers but he was headed out of town for a conference shortly after my surgery anyway so there wasn't much he could do. 

So,  Zilla and I finished off the room except for the trim around the doors and floor.  We will put all the trim in at the same time we install that sort of trim in several rooms that we tiled a couple years ago.  I still have to put up curtains too, but I have to hem them first.  

Finishing off the room included: lots of measuring to see what would fit, spackling, paint prep., priming,  painting one wall and ceiling yellow, one wall green, and two walls blue.   It also included getting shelves for above the door storage of Christmas ceramics and linens. 

The green wall is now graced by Talavera accents that we purchased at Mi Casa.  I cannot speak highly enough of the proprietors who were gracious, quick to help without hovering, and very knowledgeable.  If you are in Tucson and want something with a Southwestern or Mexican feel, Mi Casa is the place to go for great gifts and home decor at a reasonable price.   I had been dreading the day my husband comes home with a cow skull, which he has been threatening to do for years, as an art piece so I managed to get him a ceramic one that will fill that void (yes, I'm rolling my eyes here) in his life. 
We celebrated the initial done-ness of the new pantry with a sumptuous Cauliflower Cheese Pie (recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook) that is an hash brown encrusted vegetarian (not vegan) main dish baked in a large pie pan.    I made the main dish, zilla created the salad, and we all (hubby included) enjoyed the celebratory dinner.  

So I did not get posting done every day this month.  But I did gain a pantry.  I'm happy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What I've learned from Nablopomo Thus Far

Image from by pawel_231
Okay... I didn't get this posted in as timely of a fashion as I should have.  The draft was written on Friday, June 17th so I'm putting that date on this post.  Is it a violation of nablapomo "rules?"  Maybe.  It is by the book, but I'm not going to worry about it and I'm going to keep posting back on schedule for the rest of the month.  Why?  Well the main reason is that I'm using Nablapomo to get the pattern going.  Do something everyday for three weeks and you own it.   Someone said that.  I'm writing posts every day.  I have just missed a couple days of getting them up on time, but you know what?  I don't feel guilty about that.  I learned I had diabetes after I decided I would do a post a day stint for this blog for the month of June.  I didn't get any entries prepared for a "reserve" of posts, I had surgery on June 10th, my 22nd wedding anniversary on the 17th,  and I forgot that Dad's Day was the same weekend as our anniversary which was also the same weekend my husband had to leave for a week long conference.  Oh, and did I mention that we were dog sitting my daughter's 10 month old dogue de bordeaux who was  also in heat for the majority of the first week of June.

So I think I'm doing fairly well with this exercise in training and promotion.  In fact, I'm thinking about doing this for another blog I write for the month of July. Will have to decide which of my blogs is the one I will do.  To make things a bit better, though,  I will:
  • have at least one thematic day each week 
  • do daily postings only on  the featured blog of the month
  • 5 or fewer posts per week on non-monthly focus blogs 
  • have more than one alternate publication schedule: 
Image from by bredmaker
  1. weekdays
  2. Tues, Thurs, Sat.
  3. Mon, Weds, Fri.
  4. weekly on the weekends
  • have 3 to 4 emergency blog posts back logged on day 1
  • have all posts ready the day before publication
  • set post publication via auto publish

Regular posting for multiple blogs is not a trivial matter. I'd love to know how those of you out there who maintain several blogs manage to do it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Virtual World Culture

I have a new store in OSGrid in Wright Plaza.  It is a freebie store. I was fortunate enough to be given a storefront there on Friday.   It carries over the same name I have used for all my virtual world ventures for the last 5 years, Casita Gaia.

Grand Opening this Tuesday 10 to 11a.m. PST.  Yes, it is also at the time of the Summer Solstice.  Fun, no?  

This is why I like OSGrid. It is a small general purpose open source community.  The gifting culture of freebies encourages sharing, CC licensing, and community development.   It feels very much like Second Life® did when I joined it in 2006.  I have my island, Virtuality,  on that Grid.  So the freebie store is not only a nice thing to do... it is also good advertising for my ventures on Virtuality.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Breathe - Septum Surgery as a Life Changer.

Geesh, I hate writing like this, talking like this, I sound like a freaking old lady fixated on her medication, aches and pains.  But this is where I've been in my head for the past 10 days. Like Betty White says  for AARP,  I just need to "Get over it!"  And, it is important that I write this as people need to know that this surgery can be a game changer for people with sleep disturbances.

Breathing is pretty basic to life.  I've thought about the actual action of breathing a bunch over the last 10 days.  As soon as the surgery to correct my severely deviated septum was over I began to notice drastic differences in how I felt, how I breathed, and how I slept.  I was taking an opiate-based pain medication for the first 5 days after surgery and nasal passage swelling was pronounced during that time as well.  By the 6th day after surgery, with the stints still in place holding the new position of the septum while it healed, I noticed that was breathing better and I had not found myself with my mouth open and breathing through it in a day or so. 

This is also when my husband told me that I was not snoring at night.  This is absolutely amazing.  This is a really big thing to me.  Even before the apnea became apparent from the "snort, snort, choke, gasp" sequence of noises I would make several times at night and wake my husband,  I would snore like a sailor swears. 

My dad snored so loudly he shook the house.  I could hear him snore and gasp and snort in my bedroom upstairs and in the opposite corner of the big old farmhouse I grew up in.  He would take naps mid-afternoon if he could as he obviously had sleep apnea and never was able to really rest.  I appreciate how he felt, and I wonder if my deformation was inherited.  I've never broken my nose. 

I was happy that the surgery seemed to have worked better than I dared to hope it would.  Then it dawned on me how hard I had to fight to have this surgery and how long I lived half a life  because of something so simply, if not easily, remedied.  I think I am a little bit angry.

I asked my primary caregiver at least two years ago to have something done to check out my nose because of nosebleeds, sinus headaches, migraine and snoring.  She looked at my nasal passages and said things looked fine.  This year I asked at my check-up again.  It was with a different physician in the same university-based practice group.  He wanted me to use a steroid nasal spray and did not want to write a referral to an ENT specialist.  I insisted this time.   I'm glad I did.  I just hope it was in time to be able to undo some of the damage the deviated septum induced apnea caused.

I definitely will need to have another sleep study done to find out how my breathing really is.  In the last year my health has gotten worse and worse.  Two years ago I was diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver.  I needed to do more physical exercise and get some weight off, but I had no energy. I had enough energy to work half-time and do a bit of work on my own business, and that was about it.  If I kept up with dishes and laundry it was noteworthy,  and  I slept as much as I could and it was never enough. The diabetes diagnosis really was not what I wanted to hear.  I wanted to get the nose fixed, Ramp up the exercise and getmy weight down before I became diabetic.   It is all a chain-linked spiral.  I have to stop the cycle. 

I can breathe again.  I've lost 10 lbs. in the last month. Now to get to and from the gym without having to take a nap when I get back.  It will be ok.  But how much of this could have been avoided if my request to check out my nose had been taken seriously.  A CT scan should have been done before any thing else was decided. I'm definitely unsure how to proceed with medical assessments.  Major trust has been lost.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Little Veiled Woman From Madinah (Sung to a Beach Boys Tune)

I hope there are lots of news reports and posts about women who drove in Saudi Arabia today.  TIME's coverage is the only professional journalist coverage  I've found so far.   This is significant in so many ways.

Women are the majority in every culture unless other cultural practices such as selective abortion, infanticide (in all its forms), extreme gender differences in access to food resources are in play and institutionalized.

Arab Spring has been typified as political unrest and that often is misinterpreted because of too narrow of a definition of political.  Governmental processes only one small part of political structure.  I would make the argument that women' participation in government, including willingness to engage in civil disobedience and to be arrested is extremely significant and at least as important for the trajectory of governance of a country as any other element of government.

While I am sure there are many ways to celebrate this important event in a continuing campaign, I find myself singing something similar to the Beach Boys Little Old Lady from "Pasadena."

It's the Little Veiled Woman From Madinah

The little veiled lady from Madinah

lady, go lady, go lady go
Has a pretty little flower bed of white gardenias
Go lady, go lady, go lady go
But parked in her family's Saudi garage
Is her brand new shiny red Super Stock Dodge

And everybody's saying that there's nobody braver

Than the
little veiled lady from Madinah
She drives real safe and she drives real good
She's the terror of Amir Abdulah Boulevard
It's the little
veiled lady from Madinah

If you see her on the street don't try to choose her

Go lady, go lady, go lady go
You might drive a goer but you'll never lose her
Go lady, go lady, go lady go
Well, she's gonna get a ticket now sooner or later
'Cause she can't keep her foot off the accelerator
And everybody's saying that there's nobody braver
Than the
little veiled lady from Madinah
She drives real safe and she drives real good
She's the terror of Amir Abdulah Boulevard

the little veiled lady from Madinah

Go lady, go lady, go lady go
Go lady, go lady, go lady go
The cops come to bust her from miles around
But she'll give 'em a length then she'll shut 'em down

And everybody's saying that there's nobody braver
Than the
little veiled lady from Madinah
She drives real safe and she drives real good
She's the terror of Amir Abdulah Boulevard

It's the little old lady from Pasadena

Go lady, go lady, go lady go
Lady go
Go lady, go lady, go lady go
Lady go

Go lady, go lady, go lady go
Lady go

Go lady, go lady, go lady go
Lady go

Please understand that I mean no disrespect.  I understand that Madinah is the second most holy city to Islam. It is also the Saudi city that best fits the lexical structure of the lyrics.

Go ladies!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Drive Sisters Drive!

It is well into Friday June 17th in Saudi Arabia as I write this and women there are demonstrating their ability and right to drive.  That is right. Drive. A car.  Women's voting rights are restricted there.  Similarly it is forbidden for women to drive.   They've been arrested.  Watch the You Tube video for which  Manal al-Sharif  was arrested when she uploaded it.  The video is of  her driving and talking about the about the driving ban and her feelings of hope that women were volunteering to join the Saudi Women Driving Campaign.

In the Washington D.C. women drove around the Saudi Embassy, encircling it,  in Foggy Bottom on Wednesday to show their support. My favorite support action thus far is the protest in Kiev where topless members of FEMEN demonstrated in front of the Saudi Embassy.

To follow what is going on use Twitter hashtags #women2drive #W2drive

Some have already reported success without problems, but one report's link to an image of a woman driving has already gone "empty."  The world is watching!   And commenting.    And supporting!!!

Drive sisters, drive!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Boortz Calls for Violence on the Same Day Giffords Leaves Hospital and Arivaca Family Murder Trial Continues

I don't do a lot of cross-posting on my blogs, but today I have to.  I have tried to write an entry several times today.  Several situations are swirling around in my brain space,  and they all involve violence and public complicity in that violence. 

Ed Schultz gets pulled from the air for a week for using the word slut.  Neal Boortz, major Right Wing radio personality, calls for his listeners to arm themselves and kill "thugs," a thinly disguised term for young brown or black men, and women, in the streets of Atlanta, and I hear no outcry from the right to control their own.   Where the hell is the rage when Beck or other Fox "news" people regularly allude to violence against our political figures. 

Gabby Giffords, my Representative to Congress, was able to go home with her husband for the first time in over 5 months since the attempted assassination of her, the life altering injuries of several others and the death of 6 Tucson  by a very disturbed man that I still believe, as I wrote shortly after the shooting, was impacted and influenced by a culture of hate that is one of a number of subtexts and dialogs that run through my beloved Tucson.  There was a call for civility that was anchored in Tucson.  That call is still being broadcast from Tucson.  If you don't believe me, just read Ashley Burroughs post on BlogHer today who doesn't candy coat a dern thing (can you use the word dern without tooting?) and still remains a positive, constructive person and a force for good.   She and her Big Guy chose to live in Tucson because they picked up on all the wonderful sub texts that far outnumber the negative ones in the Old Pueblo.

The trial of the third person charged in the Flores family murders is also going on here in Tucson.  Some things that have not been clear before in the two trials of the non-locals who arranged the murders of a family to finance more hate crimes.   This third person was known to the family.  As much as I cannot understand how anyone can shoot a child, the pure evil of killing a child of a family you know is beyond my ability to even describe.  There was something under the surface of the daily lives of these people that never should have been there.  Smuggling pot across the border.  Why is it illegal?  Why do we not just let people grown a couple pot plants? There would be very little market for illegal marijuana smuggling then and much of my figurative backyard would not be littered with the bodies of people drawn into the lure of "easy" money from the Mexican Cartels.  If we had Fair Trade, living wages, and corporate regulation there would not be mass migrations of economic refugees to attract the hateful attention of people competing with the economic refuges.  I don't like the Pulp Fiction feeling that I sometimes get that something has been going on nearby and recently -- you can find that feeling here in Tucson. 

So I guess I should just say that, living in a city where people have been shot en masse recently,  I'm more jumpy about violent speech than the average person, and I want the people of America to take responsibility for what they say, do, and listen to.  If you don't speak up then you are just as guilty of any violence that stems from whatever you remained silent about as the actual perpetrator.  We are a democratic republic, yes, but that does not come free.  I'm quite frankly tired of "I don't want to get involved" types enabling hate speech.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

When the Light Fades Before Sunset

Day 14 in nablopomo blogging month, day 5 after septoplasty surgery.  The headache I've had for several days is lessening but my heart is heavy. 

People come and go in every person's life, but no where is this more evident than in a college town.  Tucson is a military town, a tourist town, and a university town.  Together all these towns have created a fairly large city.  I know lots of people here, but I do not have many close friends. People come and go here all the time  My first friends here were post docs and graduate students connected to my husband's campus department.  I was the matron of honor for one friend who was a post doc., I stay in touch with her.  Other friends who have moved away are Facebook friends and I see them occasionally.   Other friends slipped off into independent lives in other states and are only known through the rare bit of updated information a friend of a friend conveys. 

That is how someone I will call Miss A. was, a friend with whom I'd lost touch.  Back in the 1990s she was very good friends with a good friend.  That is how we met.  She was the youngest of the women who would participate in celebratory ladies' nights.  We were wild and crazy women who marveled in each others intelligence, wit, and attitude.   We drank too much, stole keys from those who wanted to drive and shouldn't, and thought we were immune from the problems that follow such actions should they become habitual.  Some of us were.  She wasn't.  

We did not know they had become habitual for Miss A.  They had.  She was 38 years old when she died from liver disease this past Sunday morning.  Did she also have Hep C from improper tattooing? Maybe, we won't ever know unless someone from her close family chooses to share that information  with us, which isn't likely. She moved away, married, had children and drank herself to death in the matter of a little more than a decade.   She is the second woman I know who was associated with a college department community who killed herself drinking.  I'm wondering if there was a department culture, or if that is just how campuses are.  Were we bad influences on her? Why did we not all head in that lonely direction she chose.  Several of us from that group had parental abandonment issues and we didn't all feel the pull to escape as she did, our children seem fairly normal, fairly healthy.   How could a mother kill herself slowly in front of her children?  How could you do that to a child?

She was so bright, so vivacious; she should have been a physician, but she didn't have the support system to pursue that path.  Support systems.  I hear that her family did try an intervention.  Sometimes you have to push away from a family to have any chance at a normal life, but without family what kind of a normal life can you have?  And there are religions that pile guilt on individuals and have differential expectations for men and women and different types of men and women. 

Oh Miss A. I'm looking at what might have been done differently.  What might I have done differently to help?  Miss A. I'm so, so sorry.  This isn't how it should have been.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

How Much Blog Bling is Too Much

I'm trying to learn about this social blog thing.  I'm not very social.  I love people.  I love a good joke.  I have blogs I read because I enjoy the blog author's perspective.  I have been a political and social justice blogger for years.  I have floated at the edge of blogging networks made up of Mommy Bloggers for years too.  But I don't know how to evaluate all the themed blogging, the badges, mini-networks, and dare I say it?  Subtexts.

And then there is Bob's first law.  "You never know how much is enough until you've had to much. "

I love Victorian imagery but does putting a certain badge some how put me on the radar screen of religious home schoolers that I try to avoid.  Home school frightens me because my mother kept me out school a lot -- homeschooling wasn't an option so she encouraged me to be ill so she could play teacher. I question peoples motives for wanting to exert atypical control over their children.  And while I love light kindness, and goodness, much contemporary  Christianity seems focused on restricting the health and welfare options available to my daughters and granddaughters.

So how do you decode the symbols and how far do you check into the networks you link to on your sidebar?  How much sidebar blog bling is too much?  What about consistency in bling style?

I'm truly interested in your views on this.  Writing and integrity go hand in hand.   How do you evaluate partnering and participation?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Recovery Reading with Margaret Atwood

Well, it is day three post surgery and my face hurts.  I can't say anything about it though, as in my home uttering the phrase, "My face hurts," would undoubtedly elicit a response akin to, "Well I'd think so, it is killing me!"

Facial swelling and new areas of soreness inside my left eye and on the roof of my mouth have developed, and I live for when I can take my next dose of pain medication, even though it makes me a bit nauseous.  This is not the best experience of my life, so today I've been distracting myself by choosing a book to read.  This is not just any book or any choice.  This will be the first book I will have purchased to read as an ebook on my Literati that Zilla got me for my birthday. 

Reading is such a powerful behavior, it is one of those acts from the litany of the sacred ordinary of life.  To be able to read is to connect with the greatest minds of humanity and to have the right to read anything ever written is a treasure.  I do not often stop to think about such things but there was just something about reading a non-paper and  ink book that seemed momentous.  And yes, I know that others have been reading this way for years... but I have not.  Just call me a sentimental book nerd.

A couple weeks ago I had to wrestle with what the first things I would read on my Literati would be.  I chose from the free pre-loads.  The Constitution of the United States was my choice for first read.  Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass was my choice to read as second item.    Then I transferred a bunch of social justice literature that I'd previously stored as pdfs to read.

But now, after surgery,  I wanted something to distract me from the not so comfortable world I'm living in at the moment but also be a fitting introduction into this new era.  I thought of reading Ursula LeGuin's new work, The Wild Girls, but I couldn't find it in an electronic format.  I then thought about William Gibson's latest work but I have his second  to last novel in paperback and have not finished it, so that precludes buying the later one until I've read the first. Then I thought.... Atwood.  Margaret Atwood!  I have She has written and published a follow-up set in the same universe as Oryx and Crake titled The Year of the Flood.   That is the one.  No one writes post-modern cautionary environmental fables interwoven with fear informed fundamentalism and both human frailty and strength emerging out of chaos as profoundly as does Atwood.  I can't wait to start this book.  It is downloaded and I'm set to go. 

If it is even one third as good as The Handmaid's Tale - well then she will have another classic on her hands.  If you have not read The Handmaid's Tale, or seen the move, you need to.  Nothing paints a clearer picture of where fundamentalism, militarism, and environmental degradation could lead.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

TV and Smoothies Help with Recovery from Outpatient Surgery.

Friday was a unique day.  Woke up at 5 AM and was at the surgery reception desk at the University Med Center signing in at 6 AM for out patient septoplasmy, which is surgery on the septum.  Yawn.  I know, boarrrr-ring (Does anyone remember Jo Anne Worley on Laugh-In, or is my age showing?)  Check-in paperwork, wrist bands, possession stuffed into a plastic bag and given to my husband,  open air "gowns," intravenous catheter in hand,    I was wheeled into surgery exactly at 7:30AM where the last thing I remember is being asked to scoot over on to the narrow operating table.  I remember starting to brace myself with my hands and elbows so I could lift and scoot.... and then nothing until I regained consciousness in the recovery area. 

I'm still amazed by how different my perception of surgery is each time when I prepare to go under the knife.  This time I was thinking things like how much more trust I have in the facility after seeing how amazing UMC was as they treated the January 8th mass shooting victims.  The surgeon came in pre-op, glanced at my blood pressure, looked up a bit surprised, and said that I was the most relaxed person (this was pre-drugs) out of everyone in the pre-op area.  It is amazing how calming deep breathing a la yoga can be, that and far greater levels of trust.  The only thought I had that was negative was the thought that drug with which they put me under was probably the same thing that killed Michael Jackson.

Anyway, I'm surprised at how well I'm doing.   I basically just have plastic tubes in each nostril's airway to keep the airway open (sort of open, everything is sort of swollen  now) and there isn't a bunch of cotton shoved up each nostril.  I'm not bruised that I can see.  I was not nauseous after surgery and was home by 10:30 AM.

I'm so glad the recovery is going to be far less terrible than I had thought it would be.  Cuddling with my cats and drinking smoothies is not so bad.  My husband and daughter are taking great care of me and I love having my great aunt's antique brass school bell with which to summon them.  And there was great junk TV on to watch and chuckle over on the History Channel.   Some of the stuff that is said about Nostradamus and the Winter Solstice of 2012  is a hoot even without the perspective provided by oxycodone.

I cannot wait until I can breathe again without obstruction!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Women, Natural Disasters, and Economic Reconstruction

Fire, floods, and massive tornadoes - this spring is one of the first truly "different" seasons that screams climate change.

I found this old post and thought it worth re-posting on the day I'm having my septum moved, corrected, or whatever.

The Women's Edge Coalition released an article in 2005 (after Katrina) that highlighted how natural disasters disproportionately take a huge toll on women.  The next year the Coalition reported on the Tsunami.  For communities to rebuild and life to return to a equitable norm, women's needs must be prioritized at the highest level of importance.   This is now referenced at the Women Thrive Worldwide site and remains pertinent. 

photo credit:  Xanderalex,
Disasters impact women severely in specific ways which are often not recognized, especially during the reconstruction phase after the crises have faded from the news. For example, violence against women usually rises dramatically in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, as legal and social structures are shaken. In Nicaragua for example, 27 percent of female survivors of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 reported increased violence within the family, and even after the Loma Prieta earthquake in California in 1999, reported sexual assault rose by 300 percent.  (Womens Edge Coalition, 2005)
Just as is the case with any cultural imbalance, whether it be political, economic or religious in nature, women and children are disproportionately harmed by life out of balance. "Women and children first" was not a Victorian disaster catch phrase but a recognition of the disproportionate importance the mother child dyad to not only family stability but to societal stability.

Women's Thrive also has a pdf download about poverty trade and globalization that is one of the few intelligent articles I've found that touches on how the dominant economic process negatively impacts women and children.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Unfolding Another Level of the Onion

Unfolding Another Level of the Onion

Once I conceptualized healing as the closing of a wound.   Then I was told to visualize healing as the opening of a bud to expose new layers of petals on a blossom.   I now use the peeling away of layers of an onion as my visual model for conceptualizing the process of healing. 

I find the model self-explanatory, but then I am using the schema.  So a bit of an examination of this model follows. 

Others have used the onion analogy for problem solving.    Even narrative text parsings have used the onion example.

Onion models at first might seem to be framed as a negative experience.  They stink.  They make you cry.   No, no, no, no, no. 

They do not stink.  Walk into a house where onions are softening and browning in olive oil.  Ten to one someone will say, "Something smells good."   They are powerful, they are aromatic.

Aromas carry particles that perfuse the air and land on and travel with things that pass through the air carrying the aroma. 

The little beads of oil that transfer to and bond with the skin of anyone coming in direct contact with the raw, injured, onion are impossible to ignore and difficult to remove unless you interact with lemons. 
Aren't as simple as they seem.  There are membranes and layers of layers.  Some of these are very closely paired to the point where they seem to be one or at least inseparable.

You peel one away and another even more densely compressed layer is underneath. 

I may be referring to this analogy in posts throughout the next few weeks as I embark on a journey into a new phase of my life that I have been trying to enter for the past year.   I think I have found the door. 

Useful?  Let me know.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Empty Nests or Out on a Limb

Most nests are tucked into branches reinforced with twigs and constructed with love, threads, blades of grass and found bits of ribbon and string.  When the structures are no longer housing progeny, mother and father birds find themselves hanging out on a limb with spare energies, once directed further down the limb,  swirling around them.  Eddies of awareness and updrafts of familiarity shape the air.

Now that a metaphor has been constructed we can begin to attach words and sentiments to it.  

There is something called empty nest syndrome, and like those swirling winds mentioned above, it is amorphous and our attempt to label it is an attempt to control it.  I'm a very firm believer in the notion that control is a total illusion. For me, someone who has spent a huge amount of time studying how humans organize themselves, I believe processes are far more important than specific behaviors that we have boxed up into neatly stacked terms and definitions.  Processes drip through unsealed seams and corners, creep out of from under loosely positioned lids, and even disperse like a gas through porous sides of a container.

Empty nest syndrome is described as the sadness, lack of purpose, fear, depression, and loss of interest that many parents experience when children leave home to make their way in the world.   From what I can tell from my research, the person most often experiencing one or more of these symptoms is female and middle aged.  I do not doubt this condition exists.  I do however wonder why it exists.  An empty nest usually signifies success in the first several stages of parenting before it evolves into grandparenting.  What's so bad about that?

I clarify and direct my thoughts in times of "now whatness" by looking back to note the things I have stopped doing during the years I was intensively parenting.

I can be selfish!   I.  I.  I.  Me. Me.  Mine.  MY time.  My Goddess, I have a wonderful prospect of many more productive and healthy years.  I can stir the pot in so many ways.

I can raise hell with politicians that are thinking short term rather than long term. 
I can read the books I've wanted to, but had to put aside because of lack of time over the years.
I can learn to be calm and slow down the hectic pace of life.  Breathe.
I can make dinner or not.  (The hubby is a big grown up guy and can take care of himself.)
I can start a business.
I can do things for others (volunteer) or take a break from care-giving.
I can just follow my whims and enjoy the moment.

Now for the boogieman of the empty nest.... dealing with the strange bird who is in your living room every night with the remote in his hand.   When you research empty nest syndrome associated with couples rather than an individual the word divorce comes up again and again.  But that is for another day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fear and Snoring in the Old Pueblo

Posting everyday when there is no stock pile of emergency blog entries built up is a bit stupid.  So call me dumb and dip me in rum and roll me in sugar.  I have so much I wanted to convey in the preceding three days of entries about virtual worlds, but I'm trying to get so much done before this Friday that I'm writing things that I should have been ready to post in the morning 10 to 15 hours later in the evening and my writing has suffered.  I will revisit the topic but only when I can do it justice. 

So today, tonight, I write from my gut rather than my brain and promise nothing.  I'm scared.  I have surgery to correct a deviated septum on Friday.  I can't breathe through my left nostril and my right one dries out and causes nose bleeds.  I end up breathing through my mouth.  I hate being a mouth breathing idiot.  I'm sincerely hoping that after surgery and the coming week of hellish recovery when my whole facial and dental structure will be terribly sore, I will only be able to have liquids, and I will only be able to breathe through my mouth.  I may have headaches.  That is the down side. 

The up side is that will just a little bit of luck, this will be the beginning of an upward spiral.  I've been on a downward one regarding health for several years now.  I should be able to breathe and have a much better sleep experience with greatly reduced apnea.  Once I'm healed fairly well - by the end of summer - I will be able to have a sleep study done to see where I'm at per stopping breathing during the night.   Then I will have my dentist work with the apnea specialist to make a mouth piece that holds my jaw forward and keeps my airways open during sleep.  Once this is done I should feel better in many ways because I will be getting deep sleep for the first time in many, many years.

Getting sleep will give me more energy.  Getting real sleep will also get hormone production related to sleep normalized.  Leptin and cortosol are the hormones involved with sleep and sleep apnea stress that also regulate hunger and create a desire for carbohydrates and fats.

Not sleeping well makes a person not only tired but also hungry and desirous of exactly the wrong foods.  If you a person is tired, and hungry, the motivation to exercise is usually diminished.  Without enough exercise, even more weight is gained and sleep quality worsens.  It is a vicious cycle.

In the past I loved working out.  Elliptical cross-trainers and weights were my friends. But in the last few years it has been harder and harder to work out. I got a bum trainer who did not understand a foot and ankle problem I had and had me on a program that injured me.  I lost my trust of the gym and when management wouldn't work with me I became angry and disillusioned. 

By this fall I plan to be hiking at least once a week and working out 3 or 4 times a week.  I expect the diabetes I have been diagnosed with to be totally manageable with diet adjustment by the end of the year, if not sooner.  I also fully expect to have lost at least 20 to30 lbs by the end of the year too.  The weight loss will also lessen the severity of the apnea and in turn I will have more energy.  By next year at this time, I expect to be pretty healthy and much less heavy.   This path all starts with Friday's surgery.   I will overcome my fear and regain my health.

Wish me luck and hold me to it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Playgrounds of the Mind Made Real - Virtuality Pt. 3

There are people in the world with whom I am friends and who know me predominantly by the  things I say and do.  That is sort of nice.  There is no physical bias because of what I look like.... because everyone looks pretty much the same unless great effort is made to appear distinct.  It is good to be judged on the nature of of one's character.

There are environmental groups, political groups, artists, groups who practice languages they are learning, book discussion groups,  and really just about any interest you may have you can probably find a group dedicated to that interest in the virtual world.  Lots of folks do role play and if you have any interest in a particular historical period, literature genre, or game there are groups of people in the virtual world who share your interest. 

Thought I would share a few images of people I collected from semi random
travels around the grid.  The first two I've included are meetings I attended.  The first is a planning meeting for International Human Rights Day observances, and thesecond is a Linked In group meeting, an international theatrical presentation that included live music, choreographed dancing, and a light show, 

Here an audience is gathering for a live broadcast of Virtually Speaking, an interview show that is streamed live from SL.  

This image is from an international performance of live music, choreographed dance and light show. 

Here's an author I met at Burning Life, Second Life's take on Burning Man.  

The last one is of me giving a talk.