Monday, September 07, 2020



I woke up this morning with thoughts, things I could publish, patterns, and ideas for kits... working on some of them, sketched a whole lot of them down.  It was nice to be inspired - if I could make something of it, it will be nicer.  I started to make one bag step by step so I could take pictures of it.  Then we went and got some groceries.  Mark is going to make some dinner, and I have post office tomorrow.

 It's funny, but I can SEE where the pain is in the picture.  The hand is at rest as it gets (although holding the camera in the other hand was no fun).  The long red line down the almost center is where it hurts, right where the vein crosses over it in an arrowhead type shape.  Probably a bit of it is from this crocheting, but most of it is just driving and living and having hands built like this... hEDS is fun.

 Onward.  Yea, that.

Friday, September 04, 2020

keeping the brain on a leash

 It's been one of those mornings, I've already poured about a quarter cup of olive oil on bread and chicken, with maple syrup.  That is a sign that the anxious 'I'd like to think something but it will take SO much effort to STOP when I get started...' feelings are based more in just finances and weather.

I thought for a while that my stories for 'The House of Sunlight' had been lost, and was feeling this empty void that I could not write them again, but needed to 'feel' them again, at the same time.  But, Mark found them in a directory I would not have looked in.  'The One Hundred' is a philosophical statement that I needed to hear again, a journey of despair that turns into one of recognition of the journey - and knowledge that we need to look outside the current situation that looms upon us to realize something 'higher' - wherein possibilities begin.

Much better than picking up Moon Palace again, and throwing it against the wall (Paul Auster does that to me), or trying to read 'In the Night Country' for the fourth attempt and shutting it down after a chapter again...

And it brings me back, through a few jumping ideas, to the white room hypothesis.  All this clutter around me, but I can't clean it up, because then I lose it.  Try to organize, but then feel it is futile, because nothing really works.. and I lose things, and then woe about having too many things, things wouldn't get lost if there were just fewer things, but that doesn't work in 'real life', not like the Pinterest images of minimalism or the blogs etc.  

I'm at one of those 'walking the ridge' places - I know so far, at least, I've got my eye on the path and we're getting there... but at the same time I feel like we could fall at any minute.  I know there is so MUCH I can do but there is so much I DO and yet sometimes it seems like it will amount to not enough, if not for the moment at hand, for the future because I didn't do the things, because I KEPT myself from doing the things.. or just didn't have enough energy at the end of the day.  

Yesterday I walked up and down two long driveways to get responses for questions at my job - and this morning, walking up the stairs, I feel like Quasimodo, at least in the legs.  Stepping over the old hound laying across the stairs feels like jumping a hurdle.  The other day I went around taking pictures in the fog, and I felt like the Hunchback the entire time... dragging myself along, the dog staring at me asking 'Mom, why are you walking like that'  Eventually, it kicks back over a gear and things straighten up.. but just sleeping extra long on one side sometimes my shoulder or knee gets out of joint, and then it takes some convincing to make it work properly, or just use it as it is... often use it as it is until some miracle moment it decides to pop back.. then enjoy the juxtaposition of the earlier discomfort against the now...

A little of this is the Ehlers Danlos syndrome.  The drinking olive oil at 7 am is definitely the EDS.. although I can remember back to many specific moments when I felt terrible that about the only thing that sounded like it tasted good was olive oil and maple syrup.  If the rain stops monsooning soon, and the sun shines, that will help some.

If the Universe gets back in order with this coronavirus and economy and everything being upside-down topsy-turvy, that will help a lot.  Since I don't see the latter happening... I guess I dirnk the olive oil, then the coffee.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

pneumonia in Fargo

 I was reading some guy's description of having COVID-19, and he was talking about how his doctor told him there was nothing he could do for him, and he would have to just head to the ER if it got bad.  The guy described lying awake in a pool of his own sweat, high fever, hallucinating and wondering when it would be time to go if he would have enough strength.  He didn't want to expose his family or friends - and he didn't want to have to got to the hospital until he had to.

I've been there, but it was with a different pneumonia back in 2003, while I lived in Fargo, North Dakota.  I am prone to bacterial pneumonia, especially, because my sinus is malformed.  It collects 'junk' at one specific crazy spot and then in some conditions, it drops bacteria into my throat and lungs and I begin to get a yellowish-green snot and sputum that collects like 'threads' in my chest.  I can feel them when I exhale, and I cough them up like crazy.  The bad thing is when you stop coughing them up, and things dry out.. and you're not better - it turns into a dry heave and you feel like you'll break your ribs or break a blood vessel and cough up blood.  Been there, too... and within the past five years.

But what burned me the most about this poor man's letter was that his doctor told him he couldn't do anything for him.  And the doctor did not offer this man the many things he could do for HIMSELF to try to at least keep some agency and feel better from specific symptoms.  At least, the man doesn't tell us he did any of these - only that he laid there afraid and pouring sweat and waited for it to go away.

 That is the worst thing you can do.  Your state of mind affects your health as much as the illness.  If you lay there and wait for the 'boogie man' to finally go away, you have reduced your body's chance of fighting it.  Unless you are utterly too exhausted to get up and go to the kitchen or run a bath (and not because you haven't slept three or four hours), you should be doing one of these things or have done them within the past few hours to feel better.  If you don't have the energy for at least one of these things, or fear you will fall asleep and have already been asleep for most of the day - then yes, it IS time to go to the ER, to get another person etc- that is the danger zone with pneumonia.  That is where it turns from 'walking pneumonia' to bedridden.  And in 2003 we didn't have 'oximeters' in every home to check your O2 level.. but being too tired to get up and run a bath or make tea was a good sign.

I remember this specific pneumonia as the worst ever because at one point lying in my hallway having just slept most of the day, and my fever was probably quite high, and I was thinking really really hard about how to get to the bathtub.  The bathroom was right across the hall from my bedroom, but I got stuck there sitting in the hallway between the two confused and exhausted.  My brain was all fog, and it was like a million lights were on and making noise at me.  My first husband (now ex) worked overnights at a hotel at the time, and even when he was home he didn't really know what to 'do' with me being this sick.  I had to do it for myself.  Thank goodness we didn't have 'covid' going around at the time because that would have added his paranoid fear to my sickness and who knows what he would have done during that time.  I drug myself into the bath and cooled down, then I was a bit better to put the kettle on in the kitchen and sit there staring at it.  Hot green tea and honey and pouring sweat and then coughing fit after coughing fit, and finally back to the hallway, decide bed or bath etc.  And so on over and over in a cycle.  And I am 'immune' to opiate medications.  They had tried to give me a prescription cough medicine because I had cracked a rib coughing... but it did nothing for the pain and probably helped with the 'lights are making noise' issue, so I would not take anymore of it.  But through the overspiced soup / honey tea / sweat / bath / sleep / alarm / overspiced soup (repeat) routine I emerged out of the other side weak and pale, but better.

 You can :


If you have a whole-body fever that is 2 to 3.5 degrees higher than your 'normal' body temperature - you should be trying to reduce it with an ice pack to your forehead or towels or cloths dipped in cool water placed on your neck and arms.  Don't shock yourself, but try to bring it down gradually.  If your fever is concentrated in your sinuses, place the cool cloth there and dip back in cool water every few minutes.  

If you have a headache, you can place an ice pack on the forehead or back of the neck, and put your hands and feet into warm (not hot) water.  This will draw the blood flow down into your hands and feet and away from the part of your head that hurts.  This may help with throbbing.



If your sinuses are stuffed and nothing has helped, run hot water in a steam bath with some peppermint and/or eucalyptus oil (Dr. Bronner's soap works, too, as it has the oil in it).  Sometimes I don't even get in the bathtub at all - just sit in the room with the shower running water down into a small pan of water containing the soap - and the bathtub plugged to catch the overflow.  The steam rises in the room and I start to feel better


Drink tea with honey.  Honey is a natural antimicrobial that will help with what is infecting your sinus.  The warm to hot tea will help draw it there when you swallow it.  Boil the water, brew the tea, then stir the honey in just before you are ready to drink.  This keeps the good properties of the honey (that can be destroyed by heat) at their best right up until the moment you drink. Green tea is really good for this, but rosehip, hibiscus, orange, peppermint or lemon tea will also mix well with the honey.

Licorice tea (which you must be careful with, for too much too often can cause problems for some people with certain heart problems) with honey is the best for clearing mucus from the lungs.  Peppermint is next - you will often find Peppermint and Licorice in the same tea for this reason. 


If the weather is decent, get some sunshine, which helps provide Vitamin D (also in fish and eggs) and get a decent amount of fresh air.  Don't go out in a pouring down rain, or a 100 degree day (be sensible), but get natural ventilation when you can.  


 If you know you have a fever because of a bacterial infection you might want to sweat it out a little, to help it clear up.  The heat your body is trying to produce is because the bacteria can't stand being too hot - and might just 'die or get out' etc.. drink a good amount of liquids, including tea with honey and a source of vitamin C like orange juice, pineapple or tomato - and then wrap up in blankets and use your fever.  Sleep, but set an alarm so you are woken up in two to three hours to check your temperature.  Have a big glass of water or tea by your bed and drink as much of it as you can when you wake up to put liquid back into the mucus and hopefully cough it up.  If you ever get more than 3.5 degrees above your normal body temperature and 'just can't cool down', it's time for a cool bath or cloths - or the ER.

If your chest feels heavy or tight, but you are not extremely fatigued - you can place a hot (but not too hot) towel directly on the part of your chest that feels tight or 'caught up'... drink tea with honey or tea or coffee with a small amount of a strong br-andy or wh-iskey, about two tablespoons worth, and lemon juice, and within one or two refreshes of the hot towel you should begin to feel some relief.


Hot liquids help keep our sinuses moving along.  Chicken soup is a famous one, although I usually remove all the noodles and then spice the broth heavily with cayenne, onion, garlic, black pepper and turmeric curry powder, bringing it all to heat so that it combines.

Onion soup contains a natural expectorant property.  Make a strong onion broth or chicken broth with onion powder added to it and let to 'soak' for a minute or so.  The property in the onion is not immediately accessible but is released with heat and binding to a fat.  A bowl of hot onion soup or broth can get you beginning to clear mucus from your throat and lungs within the next half hour.  Too strong of onion you might get digestive issues - but it's a trade-off.  

Garlic, same as the onion but it also contains antibacterial properties that will help kill what bacteria might be growing in the sinus.  You can use garlic powder (not salt) raw (as in not cooked in, just sprinkled over top) over many foods to help, or eat actual raw garlic cloves.  Garlic is also great for abcesses if you can stand to hold the chewed raw clove up against the painful place for long enough for it to do some good.

 Cayenne, black pepper and jalapeno pepper can help as well because they make our noses and eyes water.  Cutting raw onions can help, because it makes your noses and eyes water and flushes things out.  Now, if you're around someone who is coughing and sneezing on you and you are rubbing your eyes afterwards that is a different story - but having a 'regular flush' of everything that collects can really help most of the time.  Black pepper also has a chemical called 'piperine' in it which is an anti-inflammatory, and it is helped to be accessed by the body by adding turmeric and a fat source (see below).

 All of these, cayenne, onion, garlic - can be carried best with a little bit of fat and also help access fat-soluable vitamins in the onions and peas and so forth - use full fat butter or chicken broth with the fat in it.  

Pea soup (with onions) made from split peas.  This will add iron, and zinc, and help bring the expectorant quality of the onion to you as well.  The zinc is a known help against some qualities of virus reproduction, and the soup will help coat your throat with it.  It really can't hurt you much at the very least, and it also contains vitamin D to help with your immune system.  It is a known fact that pea soup can bring back someone's sense of smell when it has been temporarily lost.  How odd that is one of the covid symptoms?  It is actually considered to be a feature of the amount of magnesium that pea soup contains, and lack of smell is a sign of magnesium deficiency.

To avoid : Lots of high sugar foods (you are feeding the bacteria in your sinus with sugar) and milk products (for most sinus stuff, it's also 'food' for the bacteria).  The very very worst thing I've ever done for sinuses is known I was about to get an infection and had a bowl of ice cream.  Bad idea!  

To avoid : Mixing lots of OTC medications.  Don't!  Always follow the instructions of the medication or your doctor.  It can be hard when you're tired and sick and the last thing didn't help etc.. but hopefully one of these other things helped some, too.


Other helpful things I knew - from having pneumonia - long before I read all of this covid stuff?  Lay on your stomach 'proning' was not new to me.  Also, laying on your stomach in a shallow bath with peppermint or eucalyptus oil helps you breathe in the steam and also helps with coughing out any mucus that is loosened.  

 Sleeping on your stomach or 'mostly' on your stomach on your side will help the mucus not collect down in your lungs while you sleep as much.  It also frees up the space in the back of your ribcage for the lungs to expand more.  This is NOT new info, but people had to hear about it like it was to start doing it.  If you wake up and your nose is clogged on one side, switch sides.  Raise / elevate your head with pillows to help snot go down the correct pathway in your esophagus and not to your lungs.  If you wake up coughing and it feels like it just will not come out - your whole chest is on fire - hang your head down off the side of the bed for a moment to see if that convinces it.  That brings blood to your head and neck and assists gravity.

Coughing out mucus is easiest from the 'on all fours' position because it puts the lungs in the best possible position for the cough to be effective.  I learned that more than thirty years ago when I had my first case of pneumonia in Minnesota.  It was common knowledge back then - we've just forgotten so many of these things!

 And the biggest thing of all was to keep a positive attitude but be wary enough to know when you need some help.  The moment you are 'giving up' is the moment the sickness is going to kick your butt.  Don't give up, but don't lie down and not get back up either.  Lying in bed, even waited-on-hand-and-foot while you have walking pneumonia is a surefire way to make it worse, not better, as the mucus will settle in your lungs.  Get sleep, but set your alarm so you can check your own condition at least every four hours (closer together if you are checking fever and it is high.. further apart if your fever has started to break and you have begun being able to clear your lungs well) - then do the most natural next part of the cycle, and work around to sleeping some more.

Sunday, July 26, 2020


garden bits coming in, I need to pick peppers today and probably pick over the cinnamon basil again.

A postcard from Nakisha!  She is my favorite artist.  A dear friend of mine bought me her book, and for Mother's Day I asked for a print that is now on our art wall.  It says 'I hope you get to curl up with a good book'.  She had a promotion on her Facebook and I knew I'd love to have a postcard to hang up - and show others her wonderful work.

The other postcards are from The Kirk Estate, which I got with the seeds I bought this year.  I caught up with her blog - a bit bittersweet, she writes from her soul and it is a soulful time in the world right now.


toys copyright

My friend Christine on my mom's group has been crocheting toys out of a book she got.  They are very inspiring, and a good use for little bits of yarn that would otherwise not make much.   But I hate to follow patterns.  And I knit better in the round than I crochet.  So, I decided to just draw some pictures and go at it.  I'm writing up a 'pseudocode' pattern for it (the only way I can follow knit instructions) for posterity, and will post it sometime soon as well as some step-by-step, and print out a booklet for my Etsy shop about it.

toys copyright

I repurposed a carrall from the top of a little toolbox to carry my tools and tiny balls of yarn in.  It is working pretty good.  Catching up on season 10 of NCIS, and slowly getting through the Seaquest I ordered for my birthday.

Charlotte is very happy.  The other dogs have mostly accepted her.  She gets to go on walks with Sweetie and Nova, who were never interested in walks before - but now they jump up and 'press me' to be the one to go on this walk or the other - I make them take turns.  Charlotte is so much I could never walk three on leash at the same time.. Daphne comes along without her leash  which is why I still call it a 'three dog walk'... but neither Sweetie nor Nova could be trusted to return with me from the walk like Daph does.

Esme is going back to school, so far, on the 4th of August.  That is coming up so soon.  She wants to go.  We're mostly ready.  I think I need to buy her another mask or two since she has to wear one everyday (highly encouraged), and she only has the one.  I've asked her to wear it to get used to it - but she said that was 'too much'... and she 'thinks she can handle it when the time comes'.  Well, I tried.  She's going to be thirteen before we know it.  She has joined a group online with a team studio and is doing some very interesting work, .. roleplay Minecraft storymode type stuff on a Youtube channel (of the myriad ones there are), but other than that it is 'secret' and copyrighted by the studio owner.  She's learning great art and sound skills - which she hopes to put to use in the future with her own channel.

Sunday, July 19, 2020


I am growing and drying four different kinds of basil in the garden this year.  There is sweet Genovese basil, shown above on the left, and the perennial lemon 'mint' basil, and at the bottom of the page cinnamon basil.  I also have a purple basil mixed in with regular sweet basil out there, but it hasn't yet grown large enough to pick or take photos.

my real take on masks

The mask order is to go into effect at most businesses on Monday, and there are two big problems with this:

1.) Masks don't really block the virus, but the 'mask order' is going to make people feel so safe they will now be going about 'business as usual' everywhere.

2.( I have seen people wearing masks believe they do not need to social distance because they are wearing a mask.  I've seen high risk elderly people congregating in a group of five just inches away from each other talking in Walmart aisles - all masked.. but feeling safe because of it.

Combine that with #1 and we end up basically back in the soup.

I know that the sickness is real.  I truly think that is what smacked Mark and Esme down so hard in the middle of February.  It fits all the symptoms they had and the doctors did tests and said that Esme had 'just a virus' and to take an antibiotic to control the sinus infection that came with it, so that it wouldn't dump snot into her lungs and make the effects of the virus worse.  I think I might have had a mild reaction somewhere around the first of March when my throat was so cold and achey for several days.

So I don't think the whole thing is a hoax.  But, I don't think the masks work the way people are believing with their heart and soul they are going to, either.  We should continue to distance, wash our hands and go out for essential things and work.

I naturally distance myself from ANYONE wearing a mask - but that is not what I see from others.  It is also honestly one reason why this bugs me... my 'alert' sensors are going to be going off for everyone - and I won't be able to communicate with half of them if I need to because I can't see their lips move behind a mask.  I already just nod and smile at cashiers and 'do the routine' because I can't understand if they are asking me 'donate to children's hospital' (guessed) or 'dome rate a child's horse petal'   If I know what I'm 'supposed' to hear it gets better, but sometimes it is just entirely unintelligible.

And yet, when the # of cases go up two weeks after this, it won't be blamed on the mask order.  It will be 'it would have been so much worse without the mask order!'

And school?  Well, Esme wants to go back.  They just haven't said much at the district beyond the start date and the supply list - they are still arguing over the policies I guess.  I do have a mask for her if she has to wear one.  I'm not sure what her feelings are on it - she just wants to be back with her grade.  She worries about what 'all' her friends got involved in over the summer, new skills, new friends, new goals.  She wants to talk to them and do new things instead of what she has done the past four months.  She has made a lot of new friends as well, through her Minecraft, voice acting online and animation... and she has 'come into her own' a little with this, having new goals and ambitions.

But, she is ready for a little more 'normal'.. and I know everyone is.  I don't like 'the new normal' everyone is talking about.  It frankly scares me a little to look at life being like that for the next twenty years or so... and not just for me, but for Esme growing up in that kind of world.

Leaving this here for posterity...