'Tis the season of Mysterious Hives. They've occurred before, they'll (:::knock wood:::) go away eventually, and they'll likely occur again.
Why Hives? That's the big unknown. Could there be an environmental factor, now that this corner of the desert is beginning to awaken from the winter? Possibly.
Could it be "stress"? Many doctors are prone to dismiss the physical complaints of a middle-aged woman as "stress" (as we recall the doctor who questioned whether my problem was related to "stress," until my gallbladder was revealed as being Very Ugly Indeed). I'm certainly very, very busy these days, with periodic annoyance and fatigue and occasional Moments of being overwhelmed, but I also do have a support system to provide reassuring words when I'm struggling. Is that stress? Seems like regular Life to me. Does it cause Hives? Who knows?
There do appear to be some food-related ties to Hives. Artificial coloring will always invite the Hives to make an appearance; tomatoes may also be problematic; perhaps potatoes? Peppers? Several things in processed foods? Hard to tell. There are foods that lead to headache, but not necessarily Hives: artificial sweeteners, chocolate, buttermilk, citrus, nitrites. There are foods that should be avoided in order to minimize chances that another kidney stone will appear: soy, nuts, spinach, tea. As an added bonus, there is distinct overlap among the categories.
I am very frustrated with what I know I can *safely* eat. One would think that with such limitations, I would be thinner -- but sometimes, I throw in the towel, and just take ibuprofen or an antihistamine (or both) with a meal. I suppose that perhaps the Hives are just an indication that I'm now paying the piper. Assuming that there is, in fact, a food component to the hives and that it's not just an unfortunate Thing.
At any rate, I'm once more on the merry-go-round that is overlapping antihistamines of different types, in an attempt to keep me from scratching myself raw. I'm avoiding any clothes that may put any pressure at all on my skin, since that definitively makes new welts appear. (No belts. Loose shoes. And, when things are terrible, no brassiere -- which, although indecent, is helpful. Though cannot leave the house in that state.) And I'm really, really hoping it stops soon.
It is Awful. I would rather have a migraine. Or possibly even a kidney stone, since I would know that a stone would eventually pass. Right now, there's no end in sight for the Hives. Alas.
Take your crying face to your room. Come out when you've composed yourself.
Sometimes, when Young Me cried, those words -- or other similar words -- were spoken by a family member who had a low tolerance for tears. "You're overreacting." I was a tender child, prone to tears, and the words sometimes stung more than the hurt that caused the crying in the first place. I still remember the tone of voice, if not the exact sentences, all these many years later.
What is it about seeing someone else upset, that is so intolerable for some people? Weeping children are sent to their rooms; adults are "given space" or deliberately left, alone, so that they can "collect themselves". It is true that sometimes, individuals may in fact need a moment to gather their thoughts and emotions. Other times, though, what they really need is a person who will stand with them when they are momentarily lost.
I will be that person, for I know what it is to be sent to my room.
The sheltering tree The quiet in the discord The rock in the wild --
Draw me into you, Keep me safe, and I will then Fly, once more, with joy
While perusing the interwebs the other day, I found and re-read a bit of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I first read it years and years ago, in high school, and in the original French. It was difficult reading, for French was always challenging. I think that perhaps I missed out on the beauty of the book in having to read it for scholarly analysis instead of purely for enjoyment.
I might have to get a copy of the English translation. Or perhaps there is a copy of the book with both the French and the English? That would be excellent, because I could read in the original language and still have a bit of translation when necessary.
I'll have to look for such a book. (In my free time.) It is indeed a lovely story.
I had to have a formal picture taken today for something related to Work.
Who is that middle-aged, chubby, vaguely rodent-like woman in the photographs? Surely that's not me. Is it? Why, yes. Yes, it is. Why am I always somehow surprised that I look the way I do? It's as though I keep forgetting that I'm thoroughly unprepossessing, and each picture reminds me anew.
Perhaps it's for the best, though. Realizing that I'm no beauty keeps me from being vain or from obsessing about my appearance. I do the best I can with what I have, and then go about my business.
Every now and then, I do wish I were pretty. I suppose, though, that then I wouldn't be Me.
It wasn't the lengthy discussion of the flaws in various aspects of the American political system, interspersed with commentary on problems in the price of education and accessibility and affordability of health care, that caused it; nor was it the contemplation of abuses of the various support systems intended to help (food stamps, social security disability, and such); nor was it even concerns about the scope of union activity or the ever-aggressive lobbyists for particular foodstuffs that contribute to market imbalances and health issues, that caused it. It was the one small statement, after the conclusion that all of the problems were interrelated and that the solutions are as-yet unidentifiable, that did it.
"We just need to go for a hike somewhere."
I don't think I've been as close to crying as I was at that moment.
I did not expect to react that way.
Today on the way to pick up antibiotics for Offspring the Third (who, after running a fever around 103 degrees -- that was only marginally diminished by alternating ibuprofen and acetaminophen -- into a fourth day. was determined by the doctor to have an ugly throat infection), a song by Ricky Martin cycled through on the iPod: She Bangs.
(Yes, I know - I might have questionable music tastes according to some people. Still, the song is catchy.)
At one point, the lyrics are: She reminds me that a woman only got one thing on her mind.
And I couldn't help but wonder: what could that one thing possibly be? Only ONE thing? ONLY one thing? What kind of woman is this? Women have 8 bazillion things on their minds, all the time. I think. At least, I know I do.
Herself has been So. Very. Busy. Hardly a moment to herself. She is looking forward to the summertime, when the pace of things will slow somewhat. And then, she will try her hand at making pickles. Because -- pickles!
I put the iPod on "random shuffle all" today, and this one came up: K T Tunstall, Black Horse and the Cherry Tree. It's a fine song -- yet I cannot listen to it any more.
It used to be, that when we heard the song in years past, in the verse that went:
No, no No, no no no No, no You're not the one for me
We would instead sing as if we were ottoman-shaped dog:
Yes, yes Yes, yes yes yes Yes, yes I'd like the extra cheese
Ah, ottoman-shaped dog. You were a Very Good Dog, Indeed. Even -- and perhaps especially -- when you would abandon all sense of dignity and sleep, belly up, on the bed.
This is a bit of an oddly-arranged house: there is a large water heater downstairs that serves most of the house (including the master bedroom, kitchen, and laundry), and a small water heater upstairs that serves the Offsprings' rooms. Same for the furnaces/heaters. I can't quite figure out why it was set up that way; nevertheless, there it is.
Last week, the large water heater began leaking. Oh, dear. That was quite a puddle. We had the defunct water heater removed and replaced with a shiny new one pronto.
During the repairs, it was apparently necessary to shut of the natural gas line to the house temporarily. Not a problem, I thought; I wasn't doing any cooking anyway.
What we didn't realize is that this would, in fact, put out the pilot light on the small water heater upstairs.
While Offspring the Third used a different shower this morning, I contemplated the pilot light on the small water heater. I read the instructions. I followed them carefully. and LO AND BEHOLD, I managed to re-light the pilot light.
This was excellent, indeed.
To say that I am "uncomfortable" with appliances -- particularly ones that have "IT'LL BLOW UP" or "IT'LL ELECTROCUTE YOU" warnings upon them -- is an understatement. THE HORROR. Yet, I managed.
I might be the tiniest bit proud of myself.
This lovely pilot light was found here: http://home.howstuffworks.com/pilot-light.htm
On this Valentine's Day, a few lovely words from Rumi: A moment of happiness, you and I sitting on the verandah, apparently two, but one in soul, you and I. We feel the flowing water of life here, you and I, with the garden's beauty and the birds singing. The stars will be watching us, and we will show them what it is to be a thin crescent moon. You and I unselfed, will be together, indifferent to idle speculation, you and I. The parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar as we laugh together, you and I. In one form upon this earth, and in another form in a timeless sweet land.
Let us read A Blessing for One Who Is Exhausted, From To Bless the Space Between Us by John O'Donohue. And then rest.
When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic, Time takes on the strain until it breaks; Then all the unattended stress falls in On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,
The light in the mind becomes dim. Things you could take in your stride before Now become laborsome events of will.
Weariness invades your spirit. Gravity begins falling inside you, Dragging down every bone.
The tide you never valued has gone out. And you are marooned on unsure ground. Something within you has closed down; And you cannot push yourself back to life.
You have been forced to enter empty time. The desire that drove you has relinquished. There is nothing else to do now but rest And patiently learn to receive the self You have forsaken for the race of days.
At first your thinking will darken And sadness take over like listless weather. The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have traveled too fast over false ground; Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight, Taking time to open the well of color That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone Until its calmness can claim you. Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Stay clear of those vexed in spirit. Learn to linger around someone of ease Who feels they have all the time in the world.
Gradually, you will return to yourself, Having learned a new respect for your heart And the joy that dwells far within slow time.
Today while using the elliptical machine, I watched episode five of season four of The X Files: "The Field Where I Died." Without too many spoilers, I'll summarize thusly: the episode relates to two people who have known one another in past lives. There is a particularly touching portion where there is recognition between the two:
Your eyes may have changed shade, but it cannot color the soul behind them. We have come together in this life, this time. Only to meet in passing.
It is so heartbreaking to wait.
I miss you.
It was well done, joyous and sad simultaneously. I was reminded of Paulo Coelho's book, Brida, a lovely and poignant read, which also speaks of reincarnation and of souls coming together:
‘And when people think of reincarnation, they always come up against a very difficult question: if, in the beginning, there were so few people on the face of earth, and now there are so may, where did all those new souls come from?’....
‘The answer is simple.... In certain incarnations, we divide into two. Our souls divide as do crystals and stars, cells and plants... [A]s well as dividing into two, we also find ourselves. And that process of finding ourselves is called Love.
‘In each life, we feel a mysterious obligation to find at least one of those Soulmates. The Greater Love that separated them feels pleased with the Love that brings them together again. You could tell your Soulmate by the light in their eyes, and since time began, that has been how people have recognised their true love....
'Above all though, we are responsible for reencountering, at least once in every incarnation, the Soulmate who is sure to cross our path. Even if it is only for a matter of moments, because those moments bring with them a love so intense that it justifies the rest of our days.’
There is so much more - this is just a few pieces.
It's lovely and heartbreaking, all in one, to contemplate such a brief conjoining of parts of a single soul; to have that single moment of recognition, that one flash of love -- and to have it color all of the days.
Offspring the Second's musical tastes are very different from mine. He prefers metal (which sub-genre, I'm not certain - I have only a tenuous grasp on the different types), and I'm much more of a pop-country-classic rock listener. When I saw this video posted on a Facebook friend's page, though, I thought I'd listen, since I recognized Disturbed as one of the groups in the iTunes library on the computer due to Offspring the Second.
The campaigning and debating for the next presidential election are in full swing.
I'm currently thoroughly dismayed by the vast majority of the candidates. I'm especially irked by Donald Trump, for so many reasons that I can't even begin to enunciate them. At the moment, though, I'm even more disturbed by some of the commentary from some individuals whose opinions are expected to be noteworthy.
In particular: I'm not sure which I find more appalling: Gloria Steinam saying that young women support Bernie Sanders to meet boys, or Madeleine Albright saying there is a "special place in hell for women who don't help each other" (i.e., vote for Hillary Clinton).
Another post relating to Venus and Mars. Herself speaks, on behalf of women ("we") and to men ("you"). Once more, generalizations abound.
One of my FaceBook lady friends posted an article the other day, titled: "She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes By The Sink." Clearly the title is a bit of 'clickbait'. Nevertheless, it worked. I clicked. And found, a bit to my surprise, a very thoughtfully written article about relationships between men and women. I recommend that everyone read it, young or old, male or female, gay, straight, or other.
It explained why, for women, a man's attitude of "If you just tell me what you want me to do, I'll gladly do it" isn't always enough. We don't always want to tell you what to do. She wanted me to figure out all of the things that need done, and devise my own method of task management.
Yes. That. Sometimes, we're tired of being in charge. We're in charge of children, of pets, of work, of bills, of so many things. If you can determine what needs to be done and just DO it, without our having to request, it is practically magical for us.
There is more in the article that gets to the heart of what I see as causing the most conflict between men and women:
What we are not good at is... accurately predicting how our wives might feel about any given thing because male and female emotional responses tend to differ pretty dramatically. I tend to dismiss statements about "women as so complicated" with an eyeroll. We're not complicated! It's obvious to us! Why can't you see? Truth be told, you cannot see, because your emotional response to things is so very different from ours.That's hard for both sides to understand. (And I will freely admit that in the end, I have no idea what Man Feelings are all about. They are an incomprehensible language to me -- I only speak woman. Alas.)
The crux of the mater is, though: understanding is not necessarily necessary. I don't have to understand WHY she cares so much about that stupid [whatever it is]. I just have to understand and respect that she DOES.
That is it in a nutshell: we do not need to know WHY something is so important to someone else. We just have to know that it IS important, and that should be enough.
Imagine how it would be if we all -- men and women alike -- stopped trying to convince the opposite gender that our personal point of view is the right one, or that theirs is the wrong one, and instead focused on what is important to one another.
A post relating to Venus and Mars. Herself speaks. Generalizations abound. Just saying.
Let's talk a little bit about the bathroom.
It's a common trope -- in television shows, advertisements, movies, the internet, everywhere, really -- the Man Who Spends A Very Long Time On The Toilet. I don't need to provide examples. You've seen them in one form or another.
What is this all about?
Why do men spend what seems to be, from a woman's point of view, an extraordinarily long amount of time to poop?
All I can think is: women literally do NOT have time for that sh*t.
We're busy. There are children hanging outside the bathroom door, trying to have conversations through it; there pets who, although not seeking conversation, are nevertheless also outside the bathroom door awaiting one's reemergence; there are household chores to be done, places to go, stuff that needs attention, work, a billion things. Spending an hour on the toilet is not possible when there is so much else. It seems almost like a luxury, to devote so much time to one's bodily functions and hygienic routine.
Wait a minute.
Perhaps women are just a wee bit envious that men do take that time, that we do not take.
Time to take a stand (or a sit) - ladies, let us stake a chronos claim in the bathroom.
Made muffins for the first time in a long time today - and even used the "muffin top" pans, which make a flat, crunchy muffin, almost (but not quite) like a big tasty cookie.
Offspring the Third ate five muffins. Plus two slices of pizza. While waiting for dinner -- his favorite chicken recipe -- to finish cooking. Ah, to be young and growing, with a cast-iron stomach. Good for him.
Yesterday, Herself was speaking with a man who (she thoroughly suspects) has very firm beliefs about the proper division of labor in households -- especially division by traditional gender roles. She mentioned to him, as an explanation as to why she had been unable to speak with him earlier, that she has the new Project, which, though enjoyable, is quite time-consuming, and that between the Project and her regular employment, she's extremely busy. And she joked: "I need a wife."
He uncomfortably laughed and said that he was just going to remain silent. And then he did. So, Herself politely changed the subject.
Every time Herself jokes about needing a wife, the reaction is divided precisely across gender lines. Women nod knowingly, "Me too!" Men look uncomfortable, change the subject, or fidget awkwardly, not knowing what to say.
Why is this, I wonder?
Women and men, men and women. Two very different ways of seeing the world.
Perhaps we'll investigate a few thoughts about contrasting gender viewpoints over the next few days. It could be quite interesting.
The orchid has sent forth a new leaf and a slender stalk. I foresee a blossom in the future.
It warms my heart to see the orchid grow. Even though I know that attachment to living things only leads to eventual heartache, I nevertheless have sentimental feelings towards this plant, since it was a parting gift at my unmooring. Grow well, wee green shoot. You brighten the day when old sorrows creep in the shadows.
NinjaHead resides with a muffin-baking woman known herein as Herself. Herself has a Beloved Husband, with whom she shares three nearly-grown Offspring. When she is not writing Things, Herself nurtures a visceral fondness for small furry creatures. The household menagerie, which has varied in size and composition over the years, presently contains a minuscule middle aged chihuahua, a most mild-mannered senior chihuahua, and a very small hamster who, due to the prominence of his gonads, seems to need trousers for decency.