Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Vicodin Experience

Yesterday I had oral surgery, nothing major just some abscessed teeth pulled. Of course I was making a mountain out of a mole tooth and expected it to be hellish, but they were straight pulls. As with my previous experience with these awesome oral surgeons they gave me a prescription for Vicodin for pain...to take as needed.

It isn't that I have no pain tolerance, in fact I think with my health problems I actually have a pretty high pain threshold, but there are certain kinds of pain that 'do me in' severe jaw and head pain is one of them. Sadly even the most simple dental procedure leaves my jaw aching for days and anything major causes it to swell up and lock down. Blame it on a combination of a very small mouth and TMJ disorder (yay joint and connective tissue!) So I take the Vicodin...as recommended at first, but then I switch things up a bit because I have to. Instead of the every 4 hours I went to every 6 because the side effects are not fun and I am tiny.

This blog is about my Vicodin experience, not as an opiate popping drug trip but a study of the strange and very predicable cycle my body goes through when I am on the medication. I am writing this for three reasons, 1. Documentation! 2. I become amazingly articulate and creative when I take it. 3. I don't remember the effect it has on me later. In all seriousness in a week you could ask me for a detailed response on what Vicodin does to me and I would say 'I don't remember except the pain stopped' and I want to be able to go back and read this if I take the pills again.

The Vicodin cycle as I call it has several phases, starting about 10-15 minutes after I take it (sometimes longer if I have a huge meal on my stomach) the first phase, I shall name it Trial by Fire starts with an almost immediate decrease in pain, not just the pain in my mouth but all the pain...even pain that I didn't really cared or realized I had (why does my back suddenly feel so good?) which will stay with me up until the end. Next is a warm sensation that starts in my abdomen and flows out through my limbs, similar to the sensation you get after taking a shot Brandy on a fairly empty stomach. After that is the sensation of stretching, and this one will be hard to describe...have you ever walked in your sleep but been aware enough to remember the situation when you wake up like a dream but you do not feel your normal height, instead you feel significantly taller like your body has been stretched. It does not (thankfully) cause vertigo but it is disorienting, especially when my legs do not seem to work right and I list right or left (like I know some maneuvers) Around this same time my face and head starts to burn, like I am wearing a ring of fire around my head and I get some pretty nasty hot flashes. I have a tendency to not move much during the Trial of Fire, which luckily only lasts about 45 minutes to an hour.

The next phase is called the Muse. After the burning ring is extinguished and the feeling of being too tall vanishes my brain seems to explode in a burst of wonder. Colors seem brighter, sensations more intense, instead of my nervous and usually flustered speech (except when talking with my mother or Ben) is fluid and self assured, I feel inspired to create or debate on end about some intense philosophical subject that I would usually be too timid to debate. I have what seems like boundless energy but not the nervous fidgeting I would get from downing a soda or all the other unpleasantness I feel from caffeine. I can honestly say I feel wonderful, the way I imagine I would always be if I didn't have Lupus or social anxiety/agoraphobia. This lasts about two hours.

The next phase is very adequately called the Slumping. It is what I do, my thought process slows down, everything gets dull, my speech slurs a bit, and I have a tendency to doze a bit. As to be expected since this is the end of the Vicodin's life span I start to feel pain again. I am not really sure if everything is slowing down or it seems so blah because the bliss I felt earlier has left. I also have a sensation of floating if I am left alone and do not doze...meaning if no one is talking to me or I am not moving I feel like I could just drift off into the sky. It is an odd but not entirely unpleasant sensation. This stage lasts about an hour.

The next and final phase is called Hell, because I really do not know what else to call it. Maybe the Choice? It is at this point when I need choose whether or not I need another dose of pain killers or if the pain is mild enough to avoid medicating. If I need to take more then this part more or less gets skipped, if they are not necessary then the next few hours make my previous few hours almost not worth it. It starts off with nausea and hot and cold flashes, my heart rate speeds up and then the muscle spasms. They start as just little spasms here and there in my legs and then turn into uncontrollable full body convulsions. Imagine being really cold and shivering uncontrollably mixed with the heart pounding nausea of being terrified and that is what I feel when the Vicodin is wearing off. If I am particularly unlucky I have those sensations mixed with unbelievable chest and stomach pain or end up vomiting. The vomiting has only happened once and the chest/stomach pain also only happened once. The pain was so severe that if I could have cried out or moved off the bathroom floor where I was laying I would have gotten Ben to take me to the hospital because I honestly thought I was having a heart attack. I do not know why my body reacts so violently to the Vicodin wearing off, it is a mystery to me.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Coming of Age Ceremony, or Amanda Waxes Her Legs

I am one of those silly people that has spent too much time studying History and Anthropology and therefore is sad that we, unlike so many other cultures throughout the world and time, do not have an official Coming of Age Ceremony.

Sure there is the turning of 21 where everything is legal, but what fun is that? Most ceremonies involve pain, a party, or learning something...or in the case of a Bar Mitzvah it might be all three (why do so many people whine about having to learn to read the Torah, I think that would be awesome...shame I am not Jewish) So of course I randomly (by randomly I think twice) think of Coming of Age ceremonies to put myself through to see if I become more wise and mature...my previous attempt, climbing a cliff face, did give me a glimmer of wisdom and that was never keep your camera in a pocket that is not deep enough

So what did I come up with this time...something painful and unpleasant, something that requires me to grow a pair, something that focuses on making me more attractive to the opposite sex...you know, typical stuff. I decided to wax my legs.

It did not go exactly how I expected it to...I let my leg hair get long and manly so I could get a good grip on the things and rip them off. Followed the directions and all but it was more of a disaster than a ceremonious event.

By disaster I mean that my pores started bleeding, turned really red and inflamed...and HURT. Not just the pulling the hair out hurt but this terrible tingly burning that no matter how much ice I use it won't stop :( apparently this is 'normal' for people who have really sensitive skin. Which of course I do...one of the reasons I hate shaving so much!! Now my legs are red, scabby, and have splotchy hair where I just gave up...because I guess I am not ready to be a woman

On another note, here is Espeon in a shirt


Friday, November 23, 2012

Tea Time

As most people are aware, yesterday was Thanksgiving...my first Thanksgiving away from home and with my other family...

yes, I said family because I have officially been included in Ben's family, his mother said so!

Anyway, I was in charge of making tea because as everyone I am sure is aware, I have a lot of tea. I could list all the teas I currently have but I do have other things I want to do today! I mean I got almost 30 new types of tea for my birthday alone!!

I was to make enough tea for 18 people...ok, that is somewhat easy...choose the teas that I have the most of. We were having Beef Bourguignon so I need a tea that accents that...wait, what the hell is Beef Bourguignon (which, for the record I still have a hard time pronouncing...I suck at French) what goes good with it?!? I decided on my Chen qi san shi nian Pu Erh (that means it is aged 30 years) because after asking the cook I found out that it is cooked in brandy (or in this case wine) so an aged tea with aged wine...I AM A GENIUS!!!

I was getting my teapot ready when Ben, ever being the diplomat and you know, living with his family his whole life...was kind enough to remind me that Pu Erh is not a tea to be taken lightly and is a very distinct tea...maybe I should make a second pot of something if I have enough..just to be safe. So I decided on my Mountain Cloud and Mist Green tea...it is pretty mild for people who do not like tea.

But Ben does not like most greens and I want to make sure he gets something...
And I will want some Oolong after I have my Pu-Erh...and I want to show off my Yixing Teapot...
...and so on until I ended up with a pile of teapots and tea to be brewed

I eventually decided on Gen Mai Cha, Pu Erh, Lychee Black, Mountain Cloud and Mist Green, and Shui Hsien Oolong tea. I got to give a little speech about each one which of course amused everyone (though not as much as my Fremen Style...Hey Sexy Sandworm joke)

And guess which tea was the most popular....the Pu Erh of course!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Birthday Origami Giveaway!!

I am sitting here getting ready to walk 3 miles with the Alliance for Lupus Research...and dreading every minute because I feel like blech...and decided, you know I should have a contest to celebrate my birthday coming up!

Nothing is quite as fun as giving things away on your birthday!! This contest will be for two things:
This Blooming Kusudama

And this jar of shiny stars in my favorite color!
The contest begins now (woohoo!) and will run a little past my birthday since I might be busy and then too full of cake to take these to the post :P so it will end on November 23rd. To enter just use the fancy Rafflecopter form below! This contest is open to everyone, not just US residents!

Good Luck Everyone!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 2, 2012

OC: Lien Shu Dashing

Since I am a gaming type nerd I figured, why not make a blog about my favorite OC from the crazy Feng Shui meets Mortal Kombat game that Ben and I play?


Ah, Subeta...what would
I do without you avatars?


Personal Questions

1. What is your real, birth name? What name do you use? Lady Lien Shu Dashing
2. Do you have a nickname? What is it, and where did you get it? I used to be known as Toxic Fox the Assassin, but that name died when I faked my death. I gave myself that name when I committed my first assassination at age 12 (and yes the criminal underworld giggles at it occasionally) It represents Fox Style Martial Arts my father taught me and the expert knowledge of poisons my grandmother taught me
3. What do you look like? (Include height, weight, hair, eyes, skin, apparent age, and distinguishing features) Green eyes (yes this is a reference to Big Trouble in little China) Black hair that is turning more and more blue with my use of Cryomancy, slender and short
4. How do you dress most of the time? I prefer to wear a Qipao, green or blue...lately I find I like that color more and more. Sadly I have started wearing pants and a Mandarin or Qipao style shirt lately, pants are more practical but I just do not like them
5. How do you "dress up?" Fancy high quality silk Qipao or maybe a Hanfu 
6. How do you "dress down?" comfy cotton Tai Chi uniform
7. What do you wear when you go to sleep? the same Tai Chi uniform
8. Do you wear any jewelry? a jade bracelet that belonged to my mother
9. In your opinion, what is your best feature? The eyes, they are very striking
10. What's your real birth date? May 9th, 1977 at 10:48am
11. Where do you live? Describe it: Is it messy, neat, avant-garde, sparse, etc.? Currently I am living on the road out of a tent. Before then I lived in a huge bookstore with Anjali, but the Lodge made me abandon Hong Kong. Before that I lived in a cramped (from too many cats) but neat apartment above my family's herb shop...that is until it was destroyed by assassins...again
12. Do you own a car? Describe it. I do not drive...the one time I tried worked out ok for me, but I was bleeding profusely so it was a bit of a blur
13. What is your most prized mundane possession? Why do you value it so much? Probably my cat Monster...most my mundane possessions were destroyed when the Lin Kuei trashed my apartment...but Monster was the last thing my father gave her before he was killed. I suspects there is more to this cat than meets the eye, but that has not been proven yet
14. What one word best describes you? Adventurous 

Familial Questions

1. What was your family like? Crazy, murderous, and full of too many secrets that keep almost getting me killed!
2. Who was your father, and what was he like? Sir Robert Dashing was a spy and very English (I think James Bond was inspired by him) I did not get to see him too often but when he visited he made sure to train me in his style of fighting...and usually bring me a gift!
3. Who was your mother, and what was she like? My mother died shortly after giving birth to me and my grandparents refuse to talk about it...all I know is she was a spectacular Assassin
4. What was your parents marriage like? Were they married? Did they remain married? They never married, he was sent by the lodge to kill her, she seduced him and well...crazy spy/assassin romances, what more can I say? 
5. What were your siblings names? What were they like? I have a half-brother, Arthur (his mother is a bitch...I can see why my father left her) who is...a spy...by spy I mean working for the Lodge and he always found a way to come to the rescue, but I no longer trust him
6. What's the worst thing one of your siblings ever did to you? What's the worst thing you've done to one of your siblings? I have done nothing nasty to my brother (except possibly exist) but he betrayed me and Special Investigations...and all of Earthrealm!!! I don't care if he thinks what he is doing will save the world, he is still an ass in my book.
7. When's the last time you saw any member of your family? Where are they now? I was bidding my brother farewell and telling him that, no despite how angry I am, I will not try to kill him...no idea where he is now, probably Hong Kong.
8. Did you ever meet any other family members? Who were they? What did you think of them? Well there are my grandparents that raised me, I respect them as you should but I am honestly glad to be away from them. My cousin Charlie Jack was amazing until Quan Chi tore his heart out...My long distant relatives Bi Han and Kuai Liang (Sub Zero and Tundra respectively) are assassins and Cryomancers who very much want to either kill me or make me a member of the Lin Kuei

Childhood Questions

1. What is your first memory? Being trained by my grandfather in the Snake Style of fighting
2. What was your favorite toy? Probably my sword, Yu Yunqi, it has been in the family for generations 
3. What was your favorite game? I always enjoyed learning Geomancy, that was kind of a game
4. Any non-family member adults stick out in your mind? Who were they, and how did you know them? Why do they stick out? I only interacted with my grandparents and occasionally my father. I met my brother when I was 12 (and he was 17)
5. Who was your best friend when you were growing up? I didn't have any friends, I was being trained to kill after all 
6. What is your fondest, childhood memory? Visits from my father!
7. What is your worst childhood memory? Constantly being poisoned by my grandmother so I would build a resistance to it. It was awful 

Adolescent Questions

1. How old were you when you went on your first date?  20, it was a few weeks ago
2. It is common for one's view of authority to develop in their adolescent years. What is your view of authority, and what event most affected it? respect authority, always
3. What were you like in high school? What "clique" did you best fit in with? I wonder how similar the criminal underworld is to high school
4. What were your high school goals? Not to die I suppose
5. Who was your idol when you were growing up? Who did you first fantasize about in your life? I didn't have one, I fantasized about not being an assassin and fighting demons of course
6. What is your favorite memory from adolescence? I do not really have one
7. What is your worst memory from adolescence? my first assassination...and everyone after that

Occupational Questions

1. Do you have a job? What is it? Do you like it? If no job, where does your money come from? I am no longer employed (since technically I am dead...legally speaking) all my money comes form the amount I saved over my assassin years. 
2. What is your boss or employer like? (Or publisher, or agent, or whatever.) My last boss, Fast Eddie Lo tried to have me killed because his higher-ups were in Shang Tsung's pocket
3. What are your co-workers like? Do you get along with them? Any in particular? Which ones don't you get along with? When I became an unofficial member of Special Investigations I had friends for the first time in my life! They were great.
4. What is something you had to learn that you hated? How to kill people 
5. Do you tend to save or spend your money? Why? Mostly save it because before I met the people from Special Investigations I did not have a life 

Likes & Dislikes Questions

1. What hobbies do you have? I love reading and have recently taken up Ice Sculpting
2. Who is your closest mundane friend? Describe them and how you relate to them. I am not sure if I can still count Anjali since the got trapped in the Netherrealm...I cannot really count Li Han since he is...well, special. And Wong Hei Fong turned into Lord Raiden, so I am not sure I can count a God as a friend 
3. Who is your worst mundane enemy? Describe them and why you don't get along. The list goes ever on and on, but as for mundane...probably Michelle when she is not chanelling the evil angry ghost Scorpion (ninjas!)
4. What bands do you like? Do you even pay attention? I admit, I never paid much attention to music. I am a real fan of traditional music and Opera...especially after hearing Li Han sing at the opera, who knew he was such a good singer!
5. What tape or CD hasn't left your player since your purchased it? Why? I do not even own one!
6. What song is "your song?" Why? Don't really have one, like I said I am not a big music person
7. What's been your favorite movie of all time? Of all time? I have to pick one action movie that is my favorite? I guess Dragon Fist
8. Read any good books? What were they? I lived in a book store and before that spent all my free time reading...so yes I have read many good books
9. What do you watch on the Television?  Cheesy action movies 
10. When it comes to mundane politics, do you care? If so, which way do you tend to vote? If not, why don't you care? No, I don't care...too busy saving the world!
11. What type of places do you hang out in with your mundane friends? My friends are not mundane!
12. What type of places do you hang out in with your normal friends? At the Eating Counter or my bookstore for movie night, those were good times
13. What annoys you more than anything else? Ninjas trashing my shop...that still just pisses me off
14. What would be the perfect gift for you? books or something along those lines...have I ever gotten a gift? 
15. What's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen? The first sunrise after I 'died' and was no longer an assassin
16. What time of day is your favorite? Evening
17. What kind of weather is your favorite? I think I like snow...I have not ever seen it but I imagine it would be my favorite 
18. What is your favorite food? What is your least favorite food? I love making and eating ice cream but I do not enjoy herbal teas...so nasty
19. What is your favorite drink? (Coffee, Coke, Juice, Beer, Wine, etc.) Oolong Tea
20. What's your favorite animal? Why? Cats, they have always been special to me and my grandparents allowed me to have one since they would keep mice out of the herb shop
21. Do you have any pets? Do you want any pets? What kind?  I had 12 cats but left all but Monster at the monastery. I also had a horse for a few days but that did not end well
22. What do you find most relaxing? (Not as in stress relief, but as something that actually calms you down.) Reading or taking a hot shower (though hot showers became less relaxing after Anjali moved in with me...she always tried to sneak in!) 
23. What habit that others have annoys you most? Dishonesty and keeping secrets. I mean everyone has a right to their secrets but to keep ones that almost get me killed multiple times...not cool
24. What kind of things embarrass you? Why? When I am in a fight and my clothes get all ripped up in revealing ways...how does that always happen?
25. What don't you like about yourself? I do not like what familial honor led me to do most of my life
26. How would you like to look? I am actually very content with my looks

Sex & Intimacy Questions

1. Would you consider yourself straight, gay, bi, or something else? Why? Straight, though I have been known to get very flustered when Anjali would jump in the shower with me >.<
2. Who was the first person you had sex with? When did it happen? What was it like? How well did it go? I am still a virgin! 
3. Have you ever had a same-sex experience? Who with, what was it like, and how did it go? Does Anjali stealing my shower time count? We were both naked after all...and usually I would run out of the bathroom and just let her have the hot water
4. What is your deepest, most well-hidden sexual fantasy? Would you ever try it? *blushing wildly* I do not really have any 
5. What was the wildest thing you've ever done, sexually? Who was it with and when did it happen? Kissing, does being kissed by Li Han count?
6. Is there any sexual activity that you enjoy and/or practice regularly that can be considered non-standard? (Bondage, Fantasy Play, etc.) Why do you like it? no...
7. Is there any sexual activity that you will not, under any circumstances, do? *is still blushing* I don't know!!!!
8. Do you currently have a lover? What is their name, and what is your relationship like? What are they like? Why are you attracted to them? I do not have a lover...still a virgin after all!
9. What is the perfect romantic date? The only date I have been on...I would like something like that again but with less ninjas 
10. Describe the perfect romantic partner for you. *glances at Li Han, blushes furiously...manages to not answer this question*
11. Do you ever want to get married and have children? When do you see this happening? My grandmother has been pestering my my whole life to hurry up and get married and have children so I can carry on the family line...constantly altering the Feng Shui of my shop to attract a romantic partner...and yes, one day I want to get married, not so sure about kids...but I think I will have to wait until after I survive the Mortal Kombat tournament to know for sure. It would just be sad to get married and then get killed dramatically
12. What is more important - sex or intimacy? Why? Is there a difference? I honestly do not know if there is a difference...is intimacy cuddling because if so I certainly enjoy it!
13. What was your most recent relationship like? Who was it with? (Does not need to be sexual, merely romantic.) *nervous giggle* it has been adventurous...though I am still mad at him for the whole Lin Kuei temple fiasco, even if it was incredibly sweet...he could have died!!
14. What's the worst thing you've done to someone you loved? I am just beginning to get any idea of what love is...so nothing yet 

Morality Questions

1. What one act in your past are you most ashamed of? What one act in your past are you most proud of? I think everyone knows how I feel about being an assassin...That time we all saved Hong Kong, that was pretty awesome
2. Have you ever been in an argument before? Over what, with who, and who won? I am a bickering sort of person, the most recent argument was with the Grand Master of the Lin Kuei...he won that one but I got the last...ummm laugh I guess
3. Have you ever been in a physical fight before? Over what, with who, and who won? HAHAHAHA so far I have won most of them...I would be dead if not
4. What do you feel most strongly about? Saving the world from Outworld!
5. What do you pretend to feel strongly about, just to impress people? I never felt the need to do that
6. What trait do you find most admirable, and how often do you find it? The desire to do the right thing even if it means you will most likely die in a horrible manner...all of Special Investigations had it, it was inspiring 
7. Is there anything you think should not be incorporated into the media or art (sex, violence, greed, etc.,)? If so, what and why, and if not, why not? That is what makes the cheesy action movies so good!!!
8. Do you have any feelings in general that you are disturbed by? What are they? Why do they disturb you? I get disturbed by the murderous rage I go into if someone is threatening someone I care about...especially Li Han. I just cannot seem to help myself
9. What is your religious view of things? What religion, if any, do you call your own? I am a Taoist, a very traditional one at that
10. Do you think the future is hopeful? Why? I am cautiously optimistic  
11. Is an ounce of prevention really worth a pound of cure? Which is more valuable? Why do you feel this way? Having tasted a pound of some cures...yeah, prevention is better
12. What's the worst thing that can be done to another person? Why? either betrayal or murder...both have a real finality to them 
13. What's the worst thing you could actually do to someone you hated? Give them to Quan Chi....but if it is Quan Chi, I don't even know!!
14. Are you a better leader or follower? Why do you think that? If you think the whole leader-follower archetype is a crock of shit, say so, and explain why? I lead when needed and follow when needed...it is all about situation 
15. What is your responsibility to the world, if any? Why do you think that? I am one of Earthrealm's Champions! Or I will be when I get to the tournament and keep Earthrealm from being swallowed up by Outworld...I hope
16. Do you think redemption is possible? If so, can anyone be redeemed, or are there only certain circumstances that can be? If not, why do you think nothing can redeem itself? I am living proof that one can redeem oneself...if it truly what they want 
17. Is it okay for you to cry? When was the last time you cried? I do not cry very often because, well I just never have. The last time I cried was when my brother betrayed me and I thought I would lose everything
18. What do you think is wrong with MOST people, overall? Ignorance, but in the end I think it might be for the best

Post-Supernatural Awareness Questions

1. When did you go through whatever made you supernatural? What was it like (in your opinion)? Well it happened when I put on the divine ring and jumped off a cliff thinking it would make me fly...it didn't, instead I got Cryomancy. Apparently it just brought out my latent talent (thanks for hiding that little secret, Grandfather!) it was pretty awesome, I love having it and apparently it makes me smell minty
2. What do you think now of being supernatural? Is it cool, or have you been screwed? I enjoy it  and it certainly gives me an edge up in fighting
3. Do you have a mentor? Who are they? How did you become their student? the only other people that have the same power as me kinda want me dead or to become an assassin again...so no, not really
4. Do you have any magical items? Where did you get them? Do my Drahmin hands count? I mean I did rip them off a demon

Miscellaneous Questions


1. What is the thing that has frightened you most? Do you think there is anything out there that's scarier than that? What do you think that would be? The world ending...I honestly cannot think of anything scarier than that
2. Has anyone or anything you've ever cared about died? How did you feel about it? What happened? Charlie, my dad, maybe Anjali...I feel rather depressed about it but I do not have time to think about it, not now
3. What was the worst injury you've ever received? How did it happen? I think either the bandit knifing me in the throat or that time my Chi got all out of whack and I froze solid any time I stopped concentrating on it
4. How ticklish are you? Where are you ticklish? I don't know, I have never been tickled!
5. What is your current long term goal? Save the world
6. What is your current short term goal? Find the Shaolin Temple
7. Do you have any bad habits? If so, what are they, and do you plan to get rid of them? Does throwing snowballs at people count as a bad habit, because I really do not want to stop
8. If you were a mundane person, what would you do with your life? What occupation would you want, and how would you spend all your time? I really enjoyed owning a book store...I think that or living out in the country with lots of animals around
9. What time period do you wish you had lived in? Why? (Looking at this as an attempt to change history doesn't count.) What appeals to you about this era? I like now! No more bound feet and lots of action movies
10. How private of a person are you? Why? For the most part very private...because I had no one to talk to most my life, it is just what is natural
11. If you were to gain an obscenely large sum of money (via an inhertiance, a lawsuit, a lottery, or anything else) what would you do with it? Same thing I am already doing with all my money, use it when needed and hoard the rest 
12. What would you wish for if you found a genie? I wouldn't I would put it back, anyone who reads stories knows that is a disaster waiting to happen
13. What do you do when you are bored? I read or make ice sculptures...or lately I can talk to Li Han whenever I am bored which is delightful
14. What is the most frightening potential handicap or disfigurement you can conceive of? What makes it so frightening? Not being able to fight, I recently had an idea of what it was like with my ice problem, it makes doing what I have to do impossible

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sleeping Frustration

October was an odd month for me, kind of an Autumn colored blur! I did lots of awesome things like get another stuffed Octopus, a trumpet, discover good things about my health, and see a real Pumpkin Moonshine

This is cheating since this was July's Full Moon :P


But I have not had a chance to really enjoy October and my new trumpet...because my sleep has been ANNOYING!!!! 

No matter what I do or try, my body refuses to let me be awake during the day unless I punish it (by, you know...staying up 24+ hours) take today for example: I went to bed last night at 10pm with the assistance of Benadryl (my head has been killing me) and woke up at 4pm...really...I did not need to sleep that long!!

This has been happening all month and I just want to be Diurnal! 

I have a feeling I know the culprit (other than my usual tendency to be nocturnal) and it is my chronic headaches. After a recent visit to the eye doctors to find out that yes I need glasses (they should be arriving any day now...exciting!!) and yes the constant eye strain is the cause of my near constant and getting progressively worse headaches. And since I cannot take anything other than benadryl for headaches I tend to end up sleeping a lot.

Speaking of sleeping, I have photographic evidence that Ben is stealing my plushies...
THIEF!!! 
There he is passed out after working a long shift..snuggling my Pirate octopus!! 

So here is to hoping that tomorrow the Optometrist calls and tells me to come get my glasses...then I can read without headaches and spend more time doing things! One of which is reviewing more paper...any requests?



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Curing Lupus, Step One, Part Two

I did a bad thing, but learned a really important couple of lessons from it. I had been very careful with my diet since my last blog entry on this subject...like asininely careful...like not eating anything at dinner because all the foods were yang-tastic careful. That plus daily meditation, Qigong, internal alchemy and just general getting a better read on how my body works really seemed to be making better. I was feeling great (other than that blasted lingering cold sniffles/cough)

Until this weekend

It was a big family gathering celebrating all the Autumn birthdays in the family...including mine...so I thought it was ok to eat whatever the hell I wanted. Several cups of caffeinated tea, chocolate, and meaty goodness later I felt like death. It was a really odd sensation, not only was there pain, feeling like I was boiling up inside, horrible mood swings and anxiety...I felt like a stranger in my own body. I could not feel my Chi flow to see what my body needed. It was awful!!!! Ben (who either is a natural healer or is just really good at fixing my problems) helped some but he described it as everything was burning up like I had balanced my chi flow some and was getting better, there were no "wildfires" but then I had to go and throw a match into a pile of leaves when there is still a drought and it is very windy. Oops

So what I have learned is that when you have become very aware to the way your body reacts to things you notice the problem much sooner and more acutely than before...and that no matter how good it looks DON'T EAT IT IF ITS BAD FOR YOU.

But on to good news and less of me being a dolt! Some of the good things I noticed before I botched was I no longer have cravings for...well anything...no salt, no meat, no sweets, no nothing. I eat when I am hungry and no longer have this I WILL KILL FOR A STEAK (or whatever) problem that I have always had. I was sleeping better and not as long, my focus and inspiration was intense, no more stomach problems, no fevers, my skin was clearing up (yay, no more butterfly) my constant dry everything was not a problem, and most my joints felt great. It was like I wasn't being plagued by Lupus. I felt more like a person and less like a walking illness. The only thing that was not getting better is the arthritis and swelling in my fingers, which I find troublesome (mainly because it interferes with my folding)

Other good news is I got me some fancy new meds! A bunch of Traditional Chinese Herbal teas at a wonderfully auspiciously named 888 International store. I tried one, the Nian Si Wei Herbal tea (or 24 flavors)
Buy here http://www.asiansupermarket365.com/24-flavors-Nian-Si-Wei-Herbal-Tea-p/hgxw24yaj.htm
and WOW it was awesome. Typical of TCM teas it tasted like a mixture of bitter, astringent, and bad (with copious sugar to make it more palatable...they added it, not me...honey would have been sooo much tastier) but I honestly noticed a difference. I feel relaxed but focused, energized without bouncing off the walls, my burning skin, joints, and fever all vanished...and the best thing of all is my finger joints shrank...there is no swelling at all on my hands and they feel as smooth as they did when I was a kid. This stuff is awesome! 

A cooling tea made to remove excessive Heat and Yang and have a cooling effect, it is made from Honeysuckle, Chrysanthemum, Flos Sophorae (huai hua), Rhizoma Polygonati officinalis (Yu Zhu), semen sterculiae scaphigerae (Pang Da Hai), Rhizoma phragmitis (Lu Gen), Haw (Saan Zaa Beng) and Tuckahoe (Fu Ling).

Totally worth the horrid taste 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Westcott Vs Fiskar, Paper Trimmer Wars

As you all know I have a beloved paper cutter, a Westcott Titanium Blade Trimmer that I got for my birthday last year (which is good since I still have blister scars on my hands for the thousands of star strips I cut before I got my trimmer) Sadly last month my cutter died, it just won't work no matter what I do or how many blades I replace *mournful tear* it served me well and cut more paper than most I am sure.
It was well loved! I bought a new one off ebay, still from Westcott but this time a KleenEarth type. Well it never arrived :( so I bought one from Michael's using a nice fancy coupon. A Fiskar brand Trimmer.
Having used both now I will pick my favorite and list the pros and cons of each!

Westcott: Pros
  • Cheaper
  • Blade cartridge slide flips to the left making it easier to slide paper strips (stars mainly) out after it has been cut
  • ruler has CM and IN
Westcott: Cons
  • a real pain to replace blades, have cut myself a few times on it
  • The blade groove is really small and gets paper dust stuck in it, after constantly cleaning it out I think I ruined it since the blade does not move right anymore :(
  • Cannot buy replacement blades anywhere but online, which is a pain when waiting for them to arrive 
  • if you are not careful how hard you push the blade you will shred the paper rather than cut it. 
  • Blades are decent, like sharpened metal rather than a blade. Will not cut some paper (like old book pages or really thin paper, it just shreds it)

Fiskar: Pros
  • replacement blades cheaper and can be bought at craft stores
  • Titanium blades sharpened on both sides instead of being just a sharp piece of metal
  • Guide wire makes it easier to keep paper straight
  • easier to replace blade (has a slot to pop it out rather than having to wrestle the blade of the slide)
  • prettier (what, I like aesthetics) 
  • No paper dust being caught in a tiny groove
  • Cuts everything realllllllly smoothly
Fiskar: Cons 
  • initial cost of cutter a few dollars more than Westcott
  • Slide flips right making it a little slower when moving paper (I think this might be because I am used to another direction and will get better with practice)

So I think it is safe to say that Fiskar is my favorite! If my KleenEarth Fiskar ever arrives I will probably keep it as a spare, but Fiskar is my new brand!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Curing Lupus, Step One

Anyone who follows me on Facebook probably saw my post about trying to fix my Lupusy self (it is a title, deal with it) using Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qigong, Chi and Element management, and correct diet. I am doing this for a few reasons
-I am bloody terrified of doctors, its a silly fear but I have had a lifetime of almost comically bad medical events in my life to earn said fear
-normal conventional medical techniques seem to not work on me...I build up immunities to medication really fast, I get just about every side effect there is (not just minor ones, I had seizures from Zoloft) and end up worse off then when I am not taking any meds at all.
-I prefer the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach to looking at the body and treating illnesses, I remember reading about it as a kid and thinking 'you know, that just seems more right to me' and never changed my mind.

The first step is finding out how TCM looks at Lupus. First off apparently Lupus affects primarily people who are Metal or Water types, well...as to be expected I am a nice mix of both, very heavy on the Water and Metal (and I like it that way) with like no Earth to speak of at all (that I should probably balance out)

Lupus is caused by deficient Lung Metal Chi and deficient Kidney Water Yin causing small brushfires around the body. It is not a true 'Fire' since the body lacks sufficient Chi to fuel them and is caused by deficient Yin rather than a true excess of Yang. I like to think of it as being a drought in my body and the Yang starts small fires because the Yin just did not show up to the party! These 'fires' show as inflamed joints, mouth ulcers, Malar rash and other things in that nature.

There are a few well documented herbal remedies and acupuncture techniques to help the yin deficiency, but the first (and possibly easiest) thing to try and implement is a diet change (groan...I really hate diet changes after my bought with Celiac misdiagnosis and then the Ulcer problem)  but luckily this one is not horrible (yay!)

Foods that increase Yin
Grains
Barley, millet, oatmeal
Vegetables
Alfalfa sprout, artichoke, asparagus, kelp, mung bean sprout, okra; pea, potato, seaweed, string bean, sweet potato, tomato (especially tomato paste), water chestnut, yam, zucchini
Fruit
Apple, bilberry; blueberry; blackberry; apricot, avocado, banana, goji berries, lemon, lime, mango, mulberry, pear, persimmon, pineapple, pomegranate, watermelon
Bean
Adzuki, black beans, black soya, kidney, lima, mung
Bean Products
Tofu (not too much for potential thyroid or osteoporosis issues)
Nuts and seeds
Coconut milk, sesame seed, black sesame seed, walnut
Fish
Fish in general but especially clam, fresh water clam, crab, cuttlefish, oyster, octopus, sardine
Meat
Beef, duck, goose, pork, pork kidney, rabbit
Dairy
Cheese, chicken egg, cows milk (especially raw and grass fed), duck egg
Herbs and spices
Marjoram, nettle slippery elm, marshmallow, holy basil
Oils and Condiments
Honey, malt, coconut oil, ghee, red palm oil for cooking, extra virgin olive oil as condiment. Carlson’s lemon flavored fish oil as condiment.
Supplements
American ginseng, royal jelly, blueberry solid extract, tomato solid extract, cod liver or fish oils, Vitamin D


Foods especially useful to tonify Kidney Yin Deficiency.

Vegetables
Potato, squash, sweet potato, yamAlfalfa sprouts, asparagus, kelp, potato, seaweed, string bean, sweet potato, yam
Fruit
Lemon, lime, mulberry
Bean
Aduki, black bean, black soya bean, kidney bean
Nuts and Seeds
Black sesame seed
Fish
Fresh water clam, oyster
Meats
Duck, pork kidney
Dairy
Chicken egg

Examples of every day western foods that can be used to build yin

• Fruit smoothies with honey and banana
• Oatmeal with slippery elm powder and goji berries
• Fruit salad made with the fruits listed above
• Fish dishes with coconut milk and stir fried okra
• Omelettes with cheese and vegetables
• Japanese seaweed salad
• Asparagus and egg salads with sesame seeds
• Tacos made with Kidney beans and topped with a small amount of cheese
• Baked Potato stuffed with tofu with soya sauce and sesame seeds.
• Pork and apple dishes
•Liver, especially pork liver stir fried with sesame oil and mushrooms
• Miso soup with tofu and seaweed

Foods to avoid

It is important to ensure that stimulating foods are not being consumed, as these will only further depleate yin. Caffeine, alcohol, sugar and strong heating/ pungent spices all belong in this category. Note. Yin building foods like yin tonifing herbs have a tendency to be congest the spleen and promote stagnation if large amounts are consumed.
It is therefore important to consume small quantities frequently rather than large helpings irregularly.
(copied from This site there are lots of others that say the same thing more or less but this one had the best layout)
One thing this list forgot to mention was Green Tea and Chamomile tea...easy enough for me! I will be adding in other things like Qigong and Chi balancing along with the food...wouldn't it be great if all I needed was a new diet!


*note, I am not giving medical advice or proposing one style of treatment over the other, this is just recording what I am doing so that the people who care about me and live far away can keep up and so I can keep a personal record. *