helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
After approximately 8 years of blocking sites like Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter but allowing Livejournal, work has arbitrarily chosen to reverse this and allow Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter but block LJ. That's why this spot has been relatively silent during the day (not that I posted that much before).

Not H1N1

Sep. 28th, 2009 01:57 pm
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
I just got back from the doctor. He said I had accute viral gastroenteritis (caused by a family of viruses that include norovirus). He said it was most probably not H1N1, because H1N1 usually manifests with sore throat and upper respiratory congestion and cold-like symptoms, not digestive symptoms. Edit: CDC FAQ says both can occur but respiratory is more likely. Anyway, I asked for the test. The results from that will be back in a few days (or longer - it had to be sent out to a lab). Hopefully going to the clinic won't have exposed me to it. :p

I probably caught this from some bad food. I'll probably have to chuck all meat and sauces now.

That said, this is quite contagious, and not fun.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
So I've caught the flu. Anyone who was around me for the past week or so might want to take immune boosters, get plenty of rest, and avoid extreme temperature changes.

Symptoms included fever (102, now down to 99), Edit: back up to 103.1, then down to 101, then broke the following morning. flu tingles all over, extreme temperature sensitivity (easily chilled), aches all over, and digestive upset. Respiratory not affected so far.

Of all the things I've taken for it (Nyquil at night and aspirin with caffeine in the daytime, cat's claw and white willow bark tea, water, and Pedialyte) the Pedialyte is what worked the best.

Lucky save

Sep. 24th, 2009 09:57 am
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Yesterday afternoon after work, there was a napkin under the windshield wiper of my car. It read, "Your right rear tire is going flat!" It was low, but not too low to drive on it (yet), so I added air and drove it home. This morning I took the car to the corner station to get the tire checked. After about 20 minutes, the mechanic emerged with a nail in his hand. Other than a small puncture (now repaired), the tire was fine... because someone noticed it and took the trouble to leave me a note.


Sep. 23rd, 2009 01:52 pm
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
40 acres and a Fool (mp3 available at the top of page).

I hope people living near us in WV don't think this of us. They probably do. It'll be kind of a learning curve for a couple of years.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
I've never been much of a Hare Krishna fan, but this was an absolutely beautiful melding of cultures, with stunning artwork and elevating music.

Mountain Hare Krishna by Krishna Das and Sting

Just Dazzling...
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
My orthopedic surgeon who put my wrist back together. Fresh out of school, all kinds of new ideas. Eh well, maybe it's for the best - my physical therapist said that people would kill to get the range of motion back that I now have.

Range of motion - about 10 degrees short of full range forward bend, full range everywhere else. I gained 15 degrees in the forward bend in the past two weeks, so that should be corrected shortly.

Grip strength - needs work. My right hand grip reads 60 on the gauge and my left hand reads 40. The left is normally about 5-10% weaker than the right, but this is more like 30% weaker. I have a couple of exercises to do with silly putty and elastic bands... Hopefully two weeks from now when we measure again, it will have improved.

Lifting strength - even at 5 and 5 for both hands. The right can actually lift a lot more, but waiting for lefty to catch up before increasing. The left arm still looks like spaghetti (less so than before but still) and has difficulty lifting five in certain directions. For example if I do lateral raises, after two sets of ten reps each, the left arm (not hand, oddly enough) starts to lag. But it can do it (it's not like I'm giving it a whole lot of choice)...

Started taking advantage of gym at work for treadmill, stairmaster, machines, and free weights.

Edit: So I was just at the gym. Both arms can now lift 8. The right arm has no problem with 8, the left is "training to failure" as they say in the parlance. By contrast, the lower body. A few weeks ago I started with maybe 65 pounds - not much at all (the leg press is what they start you on to make you think you're lifting a lot of weight). The interesting part is the increase in just two weeks. Today the usual 120 was starting to feel a bit light. I increased it up to 160 thinking maybe it would get heavier. It didn't. Then I increased it over 200, upward to 260 by increments. Still light. Then I increased it to 300. Starting to offer some resistance. I just leg pressed 300 pounds. Probably not very impressive, but I'm beginning to think this stuff really works.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Happy 9/9/09.

(Pointed out to me by [livejournal.com profile] invaderxan)
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
tryambakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhiṃ puṣṭi-vardhanam
urvārukam iva bandhanān mṛtyor mukṣīya māmṛtāt

In the translation of Arthur Berriedale Keith, 1914):

"OM. We worship and adore you, O three-eyed one, O Shiva. You are sweet gladness, the fragrance of life, who nourishes us, restores our health, and causes us to thrive. As, in due time, the stem of the cucumber weakens, and the gourd is freed from the vine, so free us from attachment and death, and do not withhold immortality."

Literal rendering:

"three-eyed one / we praise / the fragrant / the beneficent
from attachment / even as the gourd from its stem / from death / liberate / not from immortality"

Edit: I find it interesting that the literal translation says nothing about worship, adoration, gladness, or cucumbers. It's short, sweet, and to the point...
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
"Giant rat found in lost volcano" (BBC)

The one in this video was as big as a cat and showed no fear of strangers.


Sep. 6th, 2009 05:04 pm
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
For about a year we've been going out occasionally for lunch on weekends at a place called the Fairfax Coffeehouse and Eatery. As it happens, this is much more than a coffeehouse and eatery. They have live music on Saturdays... Yesterday's band was a combination Celtic and Bluegrass band. Since we like both genres, we decided to give it a try. It was well worth it. They put on an excellent show. They performed three sets and an encore of music that threatened to make people get up and dance in the foot-wide path between tables. While we were listening, I grabbed a pad of paper and began to write random thoughts, which I knew I'd forget after a couple of minutes if I didn't write them down. Here they are...

* "god" is just something people made up to make themselves look pious to one another. I wonder why primates want to look pious. It seems a contradiction in terms. "god" is in quotes here, because it's referring to the mental construct.

* Do cats have a god? Why yes, yes they do. The Great Goddess Ossana, of course. Who else?? Spooky worships not this god. Ha! She is the One True Spooky!

* I'm so confused about dates (as in when the holidays are, when daylight savings time ends, etc). Every year things seem to shift just a little bit. Almost not noticeable. I wonder if that's a trend that could be sinister.

* Home. Want to protect cut area. Hope, pray. To whom? There may be The Sacred in All Things. "Knock Knock Knockin on Heaven's Door" (performed few minutes before)

* Ooo. Violin is Preetyy!! Wish I could play it. I should take out my Hammered Dulcimer and play it!! Wow, Kick fiddles!! ee!!

* Me: We should come to the Fairfax Coffeehouse more often. We should get involved in the artists community here. I could be resonant with them.
Rialian: I should get involved in theater again! It's been years!
Me: You could play in the little Shop of Horrors! You could be the guy who gets eaten!! Better yet, you could be the Plant!!
Rialian: I ... see. I love you.

* Jigs strike me as ultimately human. Something that draws people into a sense of complacency until the real fae comes out in the Scottish ballads.

* Bluegrass rocks!!

* Some songs are designed to show technical prowess.

* They played old songs that tugged at me: John Denver's Take me Home, Bob Dylan's Knockin on Heaven's Door. I miss me.

* Another jig. Leading us out of faerie this time.

* One of the band members is from Ireland. It's interesting how the Irish seem to be crazy about Bluegrass music. There's magic there. After all, WV is where Rivendell and Mithlond are. An Irish man (the band member) was given a chance to sing whatever he wanted, and he sang a bluegrass number.

* There's a section of Ireland that is kind of disowned by the Irish, just like the Panhandle is disowned by West Virginia (for the most part).
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
This music mightily tugged on my heartstrings...

helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
I was just looking at this version of the Ballad of Tam Lin, and I read the ending more carefully than I usually do...

I've been reading these things from the POV of the fae rather than a from a christian one, so I can't see what happened in the ballad as necessarily good. According to ballad and story, some who are taken by faerie stay forever. So why not Tam Lin. Seems like he had developed a taste for mortal women (I'd expect this to continue after he was "rescued").

Anyway, here's the ending of the above-mentioned version. After reading this, I think the queen loved him. I think the whole "Tithe to Hell" thing was a test. His fear got the better of him -- Hell is a mortal construct. If he valued staying with her in faerie more than he valued his own life, he could have stayed. But he didn't. Too bad for him.

"# Up then spoke the Faery Queen,
Out of a bush of broom--
She that has borrowed young Tam-Lin,
has got a stately groom.
Up then spoke the Faery Queen
Out of a bush of rye--
She has ta'en away the bonniest knight
In all my company.

# But had I known Tam-Lin, she says
What now this night I see,
I would have taken thy two grey eyes,
And turned thee to a tree.

# Oh had I known, Tam-Lin, she says
Before ye came from home,
I would ta'en your heart o' flesh,
Put in a heart o' stone.

# Had I but the wit yestereen
That I have bought today--
I'd pay my tiend seven times to hell
Ere you'd been won away,
My love,
Ere you'd been won away!"

helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
A new album by [livejournal.com profile] s00j is available here. Interesting mix of humor, faerie, and paganism. I particularly liked The Mushroom Song. Creature of the Wood, The Dryad's Promise, and Tam Lin were other favorites.

They changed the Tam Lin poem just a tad to make a song of it (or maybe it's a different version - there are many versions of that poem). In this version, Janet doesn't try to take the scathing herb. Instead, she goes to the forest to find Tam Lin, and when he's not there she falls in despair. Tam Lin appears just in time to catch her. Also, Tam Lin skips the molten iron phase of his comeback, and becomes a naked knight right after changing into a raging beast. Other than that, it's the Tam Lin I'm familiar with.

[livejournal.com profile] rialian liked those too, but he especially liked all the schmaltzy fae humor music, especially Alligator in the House and Ballad of the Boy Cat.


Aug. 30th, 2009 11:30 pm
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Saturday harvest (half went to Stove Top and Wife, half to us):

Corn - We ate a lot of it last night and blanched/froze the rest, stored in freezer bags. The husks will be used as mulch and compost. Four trays of corn silk are drying for tea. We grew Kenyan corn (white), plus red, blue, and yellow. The yellow corn had the worst insect and bird damage - the white and red fared better. Very few of the blue ones came up, but they did interbreed with the white and produced a striking blue and white variety. All interbred with the Kenyan corn. The results was denser and starchier than store-bought, but tasted very good.

Tomatoes - lots of teardrop, red, and gold cherry tomatoes, and large red tomatoes. Most had bites from insects, but we were able to clean them up and make a tasty sauce out of some of them and salad out of others. We still have a bag full in the refrigerator.

Tomatillos - these were made into sauce (they're not very good raw) which will be frozen and used as sandwich spread, dip, and pasta sauce during the week. We planted one bush of these, and two more came up of a different variety. The original one didn't produce much, but the volunteers produced about a bushel so far. Apparently they're a weed plant around the area.

Purple beans - The beans are being fermented using a process that we're hoping gets rid of the allergens in them so Rialian can actually eat them. He may test with a very tiny amount once they're done.

Buckwheat - these are brown seeds in little hulls, resembling tiny brazil nuts. Each seed has to be separated from the flowers. When the flowers are dry, they're brown like the seeds, so they're hard to see. We're trying to think of a good, low-tech way to separate the seeds from the flowers that doesn't involve manually picking the seeds. Meanwhile I've separated out about half a cup so far. There's a big patch full of it coming up...

Chard - blanched and put into a freezer bag and put into the freezer.

Basil - Small amount harvested, chopped up and stored in a freezer bag in the freezer.

Okra - harvested too late, so it was mostly inedible lignin. Composted.

This is the first time we've actually gotten into preserving food from the garden.


We went to the garden early and did a lot of weeding of the beds and paths, as well as hoeing of the non-planted area so we can plant winter plants there. We are considering how to make cold frames to protect the winter plants during freezes. We're thinking discarded glass doors and straw bales would make good cold frames that won't blow away or collapse under snow. I'm balking at the idea of having ugly discarded doors in the garden that I have to store somewhere during the summer, but I'm considering the possibility.

After gardening, we went to the farmer's market. I picked up some parsley and chives which I planted in the herb garden by the kitchen, and Rialian got some spearmint. We stopped at the antique shop and bought some bell jars so we can store assorted harvests.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Holding steady at 3-4 pounds with the left and 5-6 with the right for now. For the first time, I could snap the fingers of my left hand in time to music today. Also, I pulled a ticket from the parking lot entrance with thumb and forefinger without a problem with my left hand.

The wrist can bend backward all the way and forward most of the way. Today the therapist applied weight to the back of my hand, bending it forward as much as it would go without damaging pain, and then had me push back. It felt like I was pushing really hard, but she commented on how weak it was. That's exactly the exercise I'll need to take it the rest of the way. I see her once more in two weeks and that's it. Most of the progress has been made when she challenges it. I think have enough techniques to work on it so I can take it the rest of the way myself, though. At least that's what she seems to think, and I tend to agree.


Aug. 25th, 2009 09:20 am
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
I miss my mice... )

And on a slightly different subject

jumping spider courtship with sound effects )

(easily amused)

April 2010



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