Sunday, May 31, 2020


Thirty days have September, April May and November, all the rest have thirty-one, except February, which has 28 and sometimes 29.

That is the way I learned it.  That is the way I wrote it on Esme's wall when we did homeschool.

But apparently it's June.  June has 30 days.  May has 31.
In this slipped timeline.. it seems. When did I dimension shift?
If you had asked me this morning I would have said June had 31 days and May 30.  Really.  And it is written there on the wall.  I'm a little flabbergasted.  How could that have been there for five years and none of us have caught it?  Or did May really have 30 days until just very recently?  //weird//


Anyway, besides that craziness.
We went to the Homestead and bought some plants, and a pretty needle-felted wool bird Esme liked.  I bought a sedum plant for outdoors and Mark bought a begonia to keep our other one company in the bathroom.  But it is so hard to dig a hole in the floor - it's concrete (and that, badabum was a joke, the other part was not.. I really did think May had 30 days)... that we have decided to put it in a hanger like the other one.

I had a nice video chat with the British (founder is based in UK, but lots of members aren't) mom's group I joined back when Esme was a baby.  My microphone did not work, but Mark might be able to help me out with that this week.

I made chicken rice and chicken egg rolls for Esme for lunch, and then went out in the garden and planted morning glory, moonflower, hopi string bean and nasturtiums.  I weeded a lot.

Then I went up to take the mail to the mailbox and a short walk with Daphne dog.  Then, I saw the wild roses on the side of the road.  Maybe another evidence of the 'dimension shift' (ha) I've been down that road many times in the past fifteen years and today I happen to see wild pink roses blooming on the side of the road.  Esme and I went back up and 'caught a shrubbery' as Mark said - a little bit of the patch to take home and see if it will take root.  They are very fragrant, slightly pink and odd that they don't show their centers - fold in a little on themselves but are single-petal.  And the entire mass of bush up there was about four inches high and spreading by runners.

Good day, ruin mail tomorrow.  I'd better get to bed.  It's June first tomorrow.  And I've heard that June 21st is on a Sunday this year, so maybe I'll get to see the sunrise that morning like I usually do.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

a bit

 Lilies in the pole garden.  I need to plant the morning glories and see if they will grow, and the nasturtiums, as well.

I ordered Cook's Illustrated magazine on a discount site a few months ago, to begin in June.  The first issue arrived and it is wonderful!  I never really knew what was in vindaloo, and now I am quite interested.  It also had some great articles about steam frying and making yeast doughnuts.

Watching Babylon 5 and Seaquest DSV.
I have one week left on the daily mail route, getting a break starting on the 8th. 

I have tomorrow off to work in the garden a little, get some sun, and rest up for that last running week.  I had also taken some photographs of the area in Trezevant I want to try painting again, pictures of the golden wheat fields that were not in the Google Maps pictures.

Ordered a shampoo bar that was highly recommended online, too - jojoba and coconut oil. 

Mark made eggs and sausage tonight and I added tobasco sauce and green olives.  Minerva had stars in her eyes as she begged me for some - and she ate everything, olives and all.  Sweetie spit the olives out and stared at them on the floor like 'what was that?'  Then Minerva ate Sweetie's olives, too.

Monday, May 25, 2020

 a toad at my front door

 The 'Five Glyphs' from the poem The Turning of the June posted on this site yesterday.  I went back and got a photo.  The hawk was still there, but she would not let me photograph her - flew off screeching into the deep woods (below), and did not come back.

 The sunlight was illuminating the backsides of the trees - I cannot capture with the camera what it feels like to be shone through thousands of shadows of leaves the particles of light shimmering in the moving air... all with the dew of morning.  I see light and air currents differently than many - I have deduced over the course of my lifetime. It is like prismatic, but green.

The lespedeza and the feathery seeds of the grasses

Walking in the beauty with Daphne, as the sun rises

Even the red grasses are singing with the light, in their different way.  I love the interplay of the red and the soft mossy sage green, each reflecting differently and shining with the water differently, as well.

 The golden caught so beautifully here

and the very soft feather edges of this grass made me bend down and take a look.  It is wispy and thread-like

hEDS knee

I was thinking this is a very typical story of why hEDS is so annoying, and so inexplicable at times.  I have been running six days straight on the postal route for weeks, and at the beginning of the route several of my muscles were on FIRE from overactive use (compared to usual).  Epsom salt baths and hot compresses were good enough for that - although my steering muscles in my chest were the worst of all because they made me feel like I was having breathing issues at first.  I got through all that - the inexplicable one happened last week.

I had come home from an entire day out on the route, getting in and out of the car, walking up to houses etc.  My knee had been mostly in one awkward position in my right hand drive truck, but it didn't complain much.  After I got home I relaxed a little on the couch, and then I went outside on the porch to make a phone call.  I was walking in circles a bit, as one does, while waiting on hold for the store associate to answer.  And after I talked to her, and got my answer, I hung up the phone and made the step towards the door to come back inside.

And it struck.
My knee was twisted and giving me the worst pain I've had in it for a long time.  I could barely put any weight on it.  I had to catch the doorframe.  It was all of a sudden and with no explanation.  I looked down at it and it didn't look any different from the other knee, to my eyes.  They were the same size, *appeared* to be the same shape and such forth...

But one of them hurt a LOT.
I made it inside and sat down in a chair and took the knee in my hands and tried to massage it.  It didn't hurt any to the touch, and it seemed like maybe it was a momentary strain?  I got back up and took a few steps and BAM, no - it still hurt.

I thought maybe I'd sit down on the bed for a while and watch some TV, see if it got better.  But my better instincts started chiming in my head 'it needs heat - bath will help'.  But the bath is all the way downstairs.....

I made it there, holding onto the wall, and ran myself a hot epsom salt bath.  Again, no pain until the moment I put weight on it, and then it felt like someone was taking the long muscle on the inside of my knee and twanging it the wrong direction with every step, the pain ran up and down that muscle with each oscillation.

Just as the water began to cool in the bathtub I started to get up and I heard an AUDIBLE click from my knee, and then immediately afterward, one from my ankle as well.  Both the clicks were on the outside of my knee, and I could FEEL something sliding 'to the inward track' on both of them.  My knee and ankle had been just ever so slightly out of place.  When I got up the searing ricocheting pain was gone, left by a 'damn you pulled that muscle' feeling on the inside tendon.

The next day I had a round quarter-sized bruise on the outside of my kneecap, very dark, like I had hit it with a hammer.  No explanations.  My body was riding for that short time from the porch to the bathtub in an inexplicable 'second position' for that knee and ankle, that was just barely wrong but not able to be seen or felt.  And that short time wrecked havoc on my inner tendon so much that it was hurting all that night and all the next day - but not in the 'I cannot walk' way, just in the 'man what did you do, don't do that again' way.  That was probably how that thing started last year when my other knee swelled to twice its size and I could barely walk without a brace for months.  Inflammation is the problem there, once it sets in the swelling makes things NOT get back in their positions and grind and stretch and more inflammation.. a cycle of bad reactions.

And the thing about hEDS is that all of my joints have these second, and sometimes even third positions that they can ride in if they get 'just' the right position twisted or turned, and if I am relaxed enough for it to happen.  And because I am used to things being 'not right' in a small way, I just put up with that discomfort - it takes a LOT for it to be 'real' discomfort.  My pain tolerance has been noted as being high, and it is not that I am insensitive - I can be VERY sensitive as it builds up together - but it takes a high threshold of different pains together or one very sharp one to get me into action to do anything about it.  Because, it is 'always something'... if you fall apart over the tiny things you will never get anything done at all.

Getting the joints and connecting tendons back in place sometimes is as easy as just moving the arm or shoulder or leg the usual way, or in a wide circle stretch.  My joints pop and click all the time in just regular life for me.  I will wake up in the middle of  the night and start to turn over and it is a symphony of crackles and pops, almost all of them feeling really good as things go back where they should after a night relaxing in gravity positions.  When you sleep your body has produced the most relaxin hormones and it is the easiest and most vulnerable time for joints to move as you are not consciously holding them in the proper positions as you might have subconsciously learned to do during the daytime with hEDS.  I have a habit of building up my pillows and blankets around me to create support structures to lean on so that I can't get my arms or shoulders or knees so badly out of place.  I didn't know until I read more about hEDS that this is a very common tactic and they even MAKE pillows and things for this as preventative medicine.  It is a habit to wake up and turn over three or four times a night to get things back in place.  It is also a very good 'survival' instinct, probably.. and without it I might wake up with something severely out of place and need to do much more to get it back.

But the knee thing shows that sometimes it can take a while and the right stimuli to get them back where they belong - and it can cause damage the longer it is in the wrong place.  And that will only get worse as I get older.  It took until I was nearly forty for the normal cracks and pops (which have been around since I was like eleven years old, and I was told it was all growing pains and being gangly) to cause me much pain or problems at all. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

a bit of painting

I joined a Zoom art group today for a 'craft together' session... I had already painted the 'first try' at one of the landscapes I like on my postal route (from memory, then with help from Google maps for details), and then during the session I made this little fantastical nature painting // the landscape is 8x10 and the other is 11x14

Esme and I went to the 'duck park' - mulberry park, and we only saw three ducks, and they were occupied with another family the entire time.  But, we did get to see turtles, lots of them (maybe a dozen) swimming lazily around the dock and very interested in us.  There were tiny ones and medium sized ones and a very large one.  We wondered if some of them were hatchlings - if this was a family.. or ?  We saw lots of fish, as well.  Esme can see through the water better than I can.  I can see the air currents much better, which I think is why seeing through the water takes so much concentration for me.  She said she can see the air currents too, as I described them, but it makes her eyes hurt compared to looking through the water.  I know what she means - it is like a 'different channel' of seeing, the air as soup, in 3D instead of 2D... and it can be very distracting to see it all of the time.. so I turn it off a lot, too -- trying to see it for a bit is fun, for longer than that, it feels like your eyeballs are going to twitch and come out of your head *ha*

I had a terrible migraine building even before we went to town - but it has been so long since we spent much time.  We walked around the lake, got some fast food, and got a grocery item Daddy wanted.

The migraine continued to build here at home, and I drank more coffee, took a bath... a sinus pill (with no painkillers in it, just decongestant), and an ice pack to the back of my neck.  It started to calm down some, and the last bit of sun was fading outside - so I went outside for a walk.

Went up the road and came back with a bit of this humming through my brain

Take in the June
red tailed hawk...

I have come again to take in the June
the green spires rising and
the early flowers fading while
the summer ones are just starting
to nod their heads in time.

The Spring has been so late
and the Summer that should be is starting
warm and cold and wet and humid
it is a mixed up bag of weather
but perhaps now, as June perches at the

end of the week, the Summer will come.

With it’s heat I dread, and yet I walk here
in the cool of the evening,
the storm having passed by us for the moment,
and the frogs and the creatures of the air
are singing in the distance,
calling to me, and yet
telling me to stay away,
the hunting is good
do not disturb

The scream of the hawk
reeling again and again 
from the tree on the horizon  
the glorious gleam beginning to seep in at the bottom edges  
like an eye about to open a glimmer of light 
to a blaze  
instead of to close 
the curtain of night

Wings against the blank white canvas of cloud
a profile, a wide circle and display  

I am no mockingbird  
I am no sparrow  
I am the powerful predator of the sky  
‘This place is mine’

He returns to his perch and calls again
proclaiming ownership over 
all that he surveys  
or perhaps it is a she  
and she has a nest there - it is too far to tell
against that pattern of branches
each tree like a runic glyph bending this way and that
in a sentence that says Earth and Growth and Time   

A sentence punctuated by Feather and Wing and Claw  
air and forest, wind and green growing things in profusion 
all around me the love of Nature, Water and the Earth  
the smell of it coming from the forest  
the deep dark holes in between the ivies  
the grapevines, wildflowers and weeds,
 the Oak so massive it could be an Evergreen reaching to the sky, 
its glossy green leaves telling its secrets
and the tiny trees, maples and mimosas, fighting at the edge to
earn their own rights to become giants

The scene calls to the mathematical in me
to measure it’s angles and partitions
to record these shapes as a word for all to see

on paper and pigments
the trees in the line 

five artfully rendered characters  
each its own world of meaning  
strokes bold against the sky

But no one would read this sentence as I do
the red and golden grass in the sunset
the trails of white cloud lit underneath  
the rustle of the wind circling and cycloning  
in the spaces in between the tall trunks
with so many staunch branches  
and delicate twigs and myriad leaves  
and the ripping force of claws  
clinging somewhere there  
ready to pounce on small tails and eyes,  
waiting for the oncoming Night

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Honey, herbs and spices

I use a lot of herbs and spices every day, sometimes just because I crave the taste of that one today, other times because I want a benefit that herb or spice is purported to have.

This is a bit of a ramble, and not to be taken as medical advice - but as a springboard for studying these things on your own.  I am not a doctor, but I do 'doctor' myself, because with hEDS a lot of medications do not work in my body, or work 'oddly'...incompletely or for reduced time periods.   I've kind of just learned to listen to what my body is saying 'to me' and follow some certain rules.  I got deep into old apothecary books and Foxfire type things to find the things that worked for me.

It is important to eat a balanced natural food diet when you can - and to try to keep your blood pressure and blood sugars balanced naturally and without medications.  There are many vitamins and nutrients that are not present in processed foods or are reduced in their quality by processing.  Many people do not know about the benefits of pairing certain classic foods to improve their effectiveness and usefulness in our body - there are reasons tomatoes and beef and olive oil were used together for sauces in classic Italian recipes  There are reasons for lemon and fish and greens, and for peas and onions and carrots etc etc...

Honey is also a natural substance that has lots of great benefits.  The problem with honey is that a lot of what is sold in stores is processed, mixed with sugar and corn syrup water and nowhere near the actual original substance.  It can be very hard to tell the difference - and price is a good indicator, but not the only one.  You will want to look for a dark golden brown, fluid substance that moves in the bottle in a 'certain way'... and a small jar will probably cost upwards of ten dollars.  The more local you can get - the better.  If you know someone who actually pulls honey from their own hives in your area, get in and get their number - and you will have the very best source that you know is real.

Honey is a natural antibacterial, and contains lots of vitamins as well.  It is a 'drying' agent, so mixing it with teas and broths will help to dry up congestion and mucus that has developed in the body.  It can be applied to wounds or abscesses with a q-tip to draw out infection, but must be washed off the tooth and out of the mouth immediately after the treatment.

Mint is also good for opening up airways, and for settling stomachs.  Ginger is good for inflammation and for settling stomachs.  Turmeric is a bit of an antiviral and good for inflammation, you will find it as the yellow color in curry powder.  Garlic is a great antibacterial, can be applied raw to an infected tooth (but I warn you, it hurts, but it helps as well) and will give many benefits in broths and soups against sinus infections.

A bath with eucalyptus or peppermint oil will also help relax the muscles and open the lungs with the scented steam.  Lavender oil is good for relaxing the muscles and releasing tension.  Almond oil is great for soothing irritated or intermittently dry skin.  Shea butter is a great thing to rub on dry, wrinkled or stretched skin (like a pregnant belly) to help against skin problems.  It is also a great addition in soaps or bath oils.  Oatmeal helps against itch and oatmeal water in the bath can help soften the skin.  A paste of (cooled!) oatmeal can be applied to poison ivy or other skin issues and let to dry to suck out the irritants.  If you have a bee sting though, use baking soda and vinegar paste to do the same thing.

Sinus infections need to be attacked from several directions at once.  Pea soup and lentils offer zinc to help break up the initial cold virus or otherwise that has caused the infection.  Garlic and/or onions help to ease the lungs, expectorate the mucus and reduce inflammation.  Licorice tea can be harmful in large amounts to people with heart conditions - but a bit of it mixed with mint or ginger tea can help expectorate mucus, as well.  Especially when a large tablespoon of honey is stirred into the hot tea, then cooled to taste, and drank down all at once while warm.  You will want to take the honey two to three times a day with this mixture to help fight the bacteria that is causing the sinus infection.  Curry powder with turmeric, garlic and cayenne pepper all help ease inflammation and infection - and can be mixed with chicken broth to make it tasty and easy to drink.  This is best drank warm as a beverage just before a period of rest.

Cinnamon helps with inflammation and also is being studied as helping to break down fats in the body.  Pepper has piperine in it, and it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and helps with pain from chronic conditions when combined with the proper 'helper' spices, like turmeric and garlic (which, coincidentally, are the key components of curry spice).  There are reasons ancient people went 'ga-ga' over spices and took long ocean voyages to get their hands on them.  

The above type regiment should be mixed with consumption of oranges, strawberries, blueberries, fresh tomatoes or other natural Vitamin C.  You will have to make sure that the Vitamin C is not 'cooked' out of being effective, heat can destroy its properties.  Most vitamin C supplement pills are not as easily absorbed as the foods we eat.  Think about the recipes that include 'the juice of one lemon, squeezed on just before serving', or a diced garnish of fresh tomatoes and onions.

Combine the vitamin C with a dose of iron from peas, beans, beets or meat.  Vitamin C helps the body use iron, zinc and other vitamins to fight inflammation and rebuild tissues if they are available at the same time in your system.

Also some vitamins require a fat source eaten with them in order to be absorbed - fat soluble vitamins, and you will find them in classic pairings like I mentioned above.   Vitamin A should be consumed with a good dose of butter or olive oil or fat like a fish or vitamin E containing things (eggs, nuts) to do its best work in your body. 

Vitamin A is rich in some vegetables like pumpkin and carrot, as well as in egg yolks and sweet potatoes.  Vitamin D can be gotten from eggs, fortified milk, fresh dark green vegetables and fish.   Vitamin B-12 is important for brain and anxiety health - it can be found in breads and meats, liver and some fish, eggs, milk, yogurt and cheese.  B12 is not easily absorbed from supplements.

Vitamin K helps with blood problems, and is from fresh dark green vegetables.  Vitamin E helps with collagen, skin and muscle issues and is present in sunflower seeds, almonds, fresh spinach and some fish and olives, and good olive oil, if you have it.

Fish is also a great source of omega threes, which are important for brain function.  As an American society, we have shunned fish and beans in our diets when they are actually great sources of important nutrients.  The same goes for garlic and onions.  We are losing those benefits by determining that food is 'smelly' to eat or has bad aftereffects with gas - and our bodies are hurting for it.  Beans help regulate blood sugar, provide iron and vitamin A, fiber and folates, which are important for rebuilding tissues.  Their protein is processed slower over the course of the day and keep you from snacking on sugary things and having blood sugar spikes.

When America decided that beans were not an 'elite' food somewhere in the fifties we lost a great dietary resource.  Same with the mercury scare on Fish - it became less a part of our diets because of worry, reduced to recommendations of 'once a week at most' by the FDA, and we have lost the important brain and fat regulation qualities that eating fish in your diet can provide.  The vitamins and nutrients in fish is very easily broken down and used by our nervous and tissue rebuilding systems, much easier than many other sources of meat.  It can also help improve mood in the winter with high amounts of Vitamin D, which counteract the lack of sun.

The big scare about fats and sugars was also not a 'complete story'.  We were given only what the big companies wanted us to hear - eat margarine, drink diet soda, avoid fat but sugar is A-OK.  No.  Fat is important to the brain and muscles and helping to create at a cellular level everything in your body.  There are societies that learned to subsist on mostly fat - and their bodies made  evolutionary changes based on this, and worked in healthful ways for millennia, until they met with new societies and began to consume large amounts of sugar again, and then began to have health problems (Arctic peoples like the Inuit, there have been many studies).

There has not been a single society that evolved to only eat mostly sugars - because our bodies cannot work that way.  Our brains are made of FAT.  We were made to eat fat, and to seek sugar where we can find it - because it is supposed to be rare and special, like in the fruit off a tree or berries in the meadow.  If you actively reduce your consumption of sugar for a few weeks, you will begin to taste again the sugar in sweet potatoes, cooked kidney beans, a good ripe tomato.  It will taste just as sweet as the most syrupy drink.  Our taste buds get 'mellowed' though, by constant consumption of high doses of sugar.

It is consuming the healthy fats with large doses of sugar that makes our bodies put on weight.  I've read this again and again recently in new books - and I really think they have something there.   Our bodies see this as a 'once in a lifetime chance' to store this bounty we have found.  But then it happens tomorrow, and the day after that -and the switch in our bodies doesn't just turn off.  Most people's metabolisms do not kick up in this situation, and help them burn more fat.  Even if they increase their exercise they will simply consume more to keep up with the exertion and their bodies will try to hold on to the storage for as long as possible - making them hungrier and hungrier, encouraging them to seek out more food for more stability.

So I am not anti-sugar, but it should be eaten in smaller quantities, and replaced with long-process foods such as beans and vegetables.  The sugary things, including bread and potatoes, should be kept to a minimum beside the meal.  No meal needs pasta, bread, potatoes and rice...(no matter what those combo meals tell you)  those are all high carbohydrate 'easy sugar' things - and should be limited to a few per meal (unlike the food pyramid suggests).. and sugary deserts added on top of that is just compounding the problem.

I'm not talking about fruit, it contains lots of fiber and a natural sugar, but fruit juices are mostly just the sugar and not the fiber, so count them as a treat.   And treats should be just that, once in a while, limited to a few times a day if that.  There was a reason it was 'dessert'... served at the end, and usually a very complicated recipe for a very small item.  Think about that - when we as a culture moved from the small slice of cake or a few tablespoons of fruit cobbler and ice cream as a 'big dessert' to eating half a plate of cake or a huge sundae every day for dessert?  It was an image thing, in magazines.. of opulence and wealth.. but it said nothing about health (or maybe it did.. the kid always had fat cheeks!)

Also, eating smaller amounts through the day and eating what you have cravings for if available will help you deliver what your body needs when it needs it.  I'm not talking about a craving for a candy bar, or a cheeseburger (mostly, although a cheeseburger is fat and iron!)... If you retune your taste buds you will begin 'tasting' cravings for  vitamins and nutrients that your body needs, like suddenly wanting a grapefruit, or spinach, to have fish tonight, or a dessert with berries or a handful of nuts.   And you will begin to eat less in sheer quantity when the quality and 'correctness' of what your body needs is in balance.  Cravings for eating large quantities of food are also a body signal - vacuum in as much as possible hoping that we can get the right amount of the nutrient we need.  When we hit that spot with a concentrated punch of the nutrient, the cravings for more and more food cease.

I am pro-butter, and olive oil, and fish, and eggs (not fed antibiotics).  These are healthful oils and fats and eaten with the rights fruits and vegetables will help rebuild your body every time it needs it.  And if you eat all of the above in variety and moderation AND reduce the sugar it should be actually processed by your body instead of stored in your arteries and excess weight.