14 September 2015

get up and go

One thing I have learned during unemployment is to get up and go take a walk, first thing. For a while, I tried to keep the walk as a reward at the end of the day, but that does not work. 

First of all, if I don't get done what I intend to get done, I never get outside during daylight. Not okay.

Second, it's hard to get started on real work. If I've gone for a walk, I feel like something has already been accomplished, and it's just about continuing to get things done.

Third - and this is true throughout the western part of State of Happiness - the clouds often roll in by afternoon. If I want to enjoy the sun, I have to get out in the morning. This place teaches procrastination. It teaches you to seize the moment. 

10 September 2015


After completing a job application today, I rewarded myself with a trip out to the garden to pick the ripe sungold cherry tomatoes. Then I roasted them and ate all of them, one at a time, as they arrived at the point of being roasted to perfection. It was pure summer in a pan.

Now I have roasted garlic cloves left over. They are going in my usual lentils and rice mixture tomorrow.

It isn't so much that I forget how satisfying it is to cook. It's just that life hasn't left much time for it these last two years, ever since I left Universe City. 

Do you know what I bring to potlucks now? 

A bag of Chicago-style cheddar and caramel popcorn. 

That, my friends, is a true indicator of my stress level. I used to make elaborate dishes. On the other hand, it's easy and people seem to love it, and many people do not seem to appreciate the amount of effort that goes into actually cooking or baking things.

09 September 2015


So here is a weird thing. 

My shoulder has been hurting - first a little and then quite badly - for about two months. For the first couple of weeks I ignored it (it got worse), and then for over a month I took ibuprofen for it just about every day (it got worse). The most painful things were reaching back to grab something (e.g. purse in the back seat of the car) and lifting my arm straight up to the side.

Ice helped, briefly, but the effects didn't last.

Finally, a week or so ago, I decided no more with the ibuprofen. It's a white substance, and white powders and crystals will kill you (see also: sugar, flour, cocaine, heroine, meth, salt). And it wasn't helping anyway.

Plus I started reading about ibuprofen and what it does to your stomach. Not cool.

So I stopped taking ibuprofen. I was in pain, though.

In order to feel like I was doing something - anything - to help with the pain and swelling, I started taking turmeric. Specifically, I started mixing a teaspoon of turmeric and a bit more than a teaspoon of honey into a paste, and then adding some boiling water. I drink it like a tea, even though some of the powder stays in precipitate and is chalky in my mouth. It tastes, well, not great. I think it would be better if I added ginger or something. But it's tolerable.

My doctor friend S. who used to live in Universe City was in town this weekend and told me that turmeric is one of the only herbal remedies that has actually been proven to do what it supposedly does, namely reduce inflammation. (It also has anti carcinogenic properties.)

I haven't been icing my shoulder at all, due to having a houseguest and some camping. Also  due to frustration that it wasn't helping.

Yesterday, I noticed a strange lack of pain in my arm, despite having worn a backpack the day before, which usually makes it flair up. I didn't want to jinx it, so I didn't move my arm much, but last night I tried, just once, to lift my arm up to the side past shoulder level. It worked. Not only did it work, but there was only a moment of stiffness and pain at shoulder level, instead of it getting caught there.

I tried again, again gently, this morning. Even less pain.

I don't want to make any assumptions too early, but this is sort of freaking me out. Modern medicine totally failed me in this instance. But turmeric might work? As a skeptic who tries to keep an open mind (or maybe more of an open mind that tries to be a skeptic) and who generally thinks the scientific method works quite well, I am surprised. In a good way, but surprised nonetheless.

04 September 2015


The other day I was stopped at a stoplight. I was the second car back, behind a red Prius. This was the sort of light where there is a lane to turn right and a lane to go straight - no lane to turn left, because the cross street is one way. The red Prius and I were stopped in the lane to go straight.

The light was green.

Notice that I said that we were stopped, even though the light was green.

The red Prius was waiting for all the oncoming cars to turn left in front of her.

Now, I believe that it is an established principle of driving that if both directions have a green light, the driving-straight cars have the right of way. That was day one of driver's training.

The light turned red before all of the oncoming left-turn cars had turned, so we sat through a red light.

When the light turned green again, the red Prius lady continued to allow all the left-turn people to proceed in front of her, as if they had the right of way.

I finally honked.

She looked back at me in her mirror, then back at the oncoming left-turn cars, and continued to let the left-turn drivers go in front of her.

I honked again.


She did not proceed through the light until all the left turn drivers had gone, and then only about three or four cars from our direction made it through. 

I really don't understand. It's like the rules of the universe were suddenly reversed. It's like backwards day. It makes no sense.

I'm still confused.