Monday, November 30, 2009

SUPER NEWS! And visiting a craft faire.

SUPER NEWS! Ready for it? Okay, the exciting news is that, with Cheryl and Linda’s help, we BROKE the record for postcards with 94 postcards in pretty much one sitting (yeah, the ebay stuff happened too but postcards important!). Zowie. Yeah, lots of hurting shoulders here. Got some good stamps, good postcards, every postcard was both stamped, stickered and individually written on. And personally selected for just that person. Which brings us to 3,400. Pow! Okay, not even WANTING to be trying to beat that record soon (It was an accident, I said it looked like 30, Cheryl said 60 I think, Linda said 69).

But that means that there should be postcards all out over the world before the Xmas slowdown occurs too badly.

The previous day we went to the BIG craft faire, no wait that was earlier on Saturday (same day as started postcards). But before I wrote the blog. On the postcards, we worked until 7:00 am I think or later a little, then got up Sunday and pushed to finish by 3:30 pm when Cheryl’s boat leaves. Cheryl and Linda really, really deserve a lot of credit for this.

Linda got mad, said that she couldn’t stand to see me in the pain I was working in (I have my ribs strapped now), she wished I gave the kind of commitment and love to myself that I give to the people I do postcards for. I told her I don’t have the time, I am running out of time. She knew that, which is why she was mad. She came back, she was sad, she was coping, a sad/mad thing. I am running out of time.

I don't want each person to think I didn't care, or think of them. I want them to know they make a difference, and this is the only way I know how to show it. And yes, I sacrifice what I have: my body. Linda says, it means less time, that makes her mad, and that I am in pain, and that makes her mad. She is right and yet, how can I walk away from any individual? Who goes? Who has a crappy week/month/year without relief? I want to do more, not less. But she is right, and I have less time, so my body tells me.

At the craft faire there were many booths, but we only had over an hour which wasn’t enough time to hear all the stories of people. And I can’t show the pictures where I get surprise gifts which might for example be in the post now or soon. But I did find Whimsical Preserves, who makes the Strawberry Mango – only 2 left, or 1 now as I got one (Linda bought the peach as it is her favorite flavour – she has it on her toast). There was also a lot of nice blackberry ones, like blackberry plum. I asked if she had brandied cherries and she said she might have some and bring them to the faire next week in James Bay for me (see her there! But the Cherries are for me! Yum, in Trifle, on deserts, in flambe!). At this point I told Linda:

Elizabeth: “Ug, I don’t like this picture, I look REALLY sick in it” (and my braid is completely hidden in the hoodie)

Linda: “You look sick because you ARE sick.”

Beth: Grumble grumble

Linda: “Considering you were fading in and out of consciousness the whole drive up there, you are looking pretty good.”

Beth: “Oh, I do? Okay, I guess.”

Linda: “You want other fact, I had to give you mouth to mouth again, in the van.”

Beth: “When?”

Linda: “Uh, um, was it when we got back? Hmm….”

Beth: “See, I can understand not remembering, but YOU should be able to remember” (is this so common?), “I bet you can remember when you get some more sleep.”

Linda: “Okay, see you later.”

Um, back to the craft faire, I met her partner and he and her children LOVE Ghibli films, and particularly Totoro (the children can SAY Totoro and like it, they also like Whisper of the Heart – which is one of Linda and my favorite films along with Only Yesterday – the UK subtitles are the best, just a note). However I was hurried along to many other stalls.

I talked to the man who shapes copper and wow, does he do an amazing job. If I had a window which could see outside, I would definitely get one. This smaller one I guess a foot and a half or more tall is $45 (20 pounds), and look at ALL the colours he has created just by stretching and manipulating the copper, none of it is painted on. Also, he was one of the few people who a) understood what it meant to have autonomic failure and b) had an appropriate reaction. He also understood what happens to me when planes take off, good in science and human biology. I wish I had talked longer.

When even the people who deal with people with disabilities or doctors play this game where they have no treatment, they have no plan, they have had no treatment for years. Right now I amsustained by artificial breathing, an prosthetic brain device, wheelchair, inability to feel to the point that today I had blood coming out of my mouth again due to a chip or something I must have rammed in my gums and not felt (I don’t feel below my sternum at all) prostetic upper and lower intestines, and drugs for helping the heart. So it gets tiring hearing how I shouldn’t leave my hospital bed but that I am going to out live them, or ‘Any of us could go at any time.’ – well yes, but unless I get a sniper rifle and voice activation box to aim it, I am the higher candidate for dying than them by FAR.

Sorry distracted. I like this picture a lot, I don’t know why. Maybe because I could do this, simply because I can’t taste stuff. Maybe because I want a kitty. Or to be a kitty. Kitty’s get to say no all the time, and if you upset them, they vomit in your shoes – that seems like a reasonable plan. And sleeping a lot is NORMAL for them plus they don’t care if it is business hours or not, and returning phone calls. And when they want attention they ‘decide’ to sleep on your computer keyboard. Yes, being a cat is okay (until the vet and they bring out the needle the size of YOU!).

We did 94 postcards. Thank you for each person who wrote me, those letters and postcards mean a lot. It matters, writing me, emailing me. It matters.

I hope the 94 postcards will matter, arriving early enough to avoid the ‘More Xmas post, just toss it on the pile.’ Someone asked me what I did. I said I guess I do postcards. When they found out the number I had sent they said, ‘you mean like e-mail postcards’. No, I meant like, find the right postcard for the right person, buy postcards individually, find stickers and send them out. ‘ one does REAL mail any more.’ Well, I do. We do, Cheryl, Linda and I.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

How ebay goes, and how Linda goes, fevers and stuck in bed.

Well, fever again, and again, and turns out black Friday is not the best time to do an ebay sale (So far, have been paid $3.99 from the 20 items of yesterday – of which only half sold – ouch!). I still have yaoi and most of my manga sets of romance, adventure, action and comedy to go (everything from teen, older teen like Tsubasa, from author of fruit baskets, 400+ pages and complete in 3 volumes to full adult romance like the way urban cities separate us in The Grey Forest), starting tonight and then going throughout the entire day tomorrow. If you want to see the manga on sale it is HERE (click on ‘here’).

Right now it just feels like one of those days that won’t end. I was out getting secret presents today, but having problems breathing the last few days. Staying conscious is a vital role is shopping. Linda has added a cordless phone to the WISH LIST because ours died and in the last two week, I have not been physically able to get out of bed (due to inability to move, transfer, etc) to let in the workers 6 our of 8 times and it is stirring up trouble. Ironically, one thing the workers are tasked to DO is help me from my bed to the computer. But since the management won’t do a lock box for workers, I have to buzz them in and right now we don’t have a phone that can reach. As for manga, I find I read less because I don't breath. Passing out has really helped my budget.

I went to craft faire, going to one next week to get brandied cherries. Must get brandied cherries. I did some of the postcard matching last night. The rest after my nap. Onward, onward, onward (Oh God, I AM fatigued).

Friday, November 27, 2009

fight to be equal, try your limits, find your grin.

I had a new night worker this week who told Linda in the morn, “She’s amazing, but she pushes herself TOO hard.”

I push myself too hard. I have never asked anyone to push themselves as I do, only that they try their own limits.

This week I went up and did three games of badminton, not two. One was very intense, I served an 8 point come-back on game point only to miss the final shot. I was high on endorphins, I was talking to people, they knew my name, they joked with me. I was part of society, if only for 60 minutes. Then I came home. That extra game and the fatigue from the medical tests have had me in a fever off and on ever since. Before that the power was shut off for a day and I had to be moved because there wasn’t enough oxygen battery power. The fever spiked and then broke this evening at midnight.

I act, not like an able bodied person, but like a stable wheelchair user for an hour and I pay for days, and I expect I will pay more. I am on oxygen, I am pain most of the time, I try to use it to keep my mind sharp, since I can’t seem to have adequate pain control. Maybe during the US thanksgiving, was the thankfulness for health, if said specifically, for not being like me? Except I am thankful for my health.

Do I wish I had better health? That I did not cost Linda in both financial costs and in care giving costs? Yes. I am now in a state where I need close to constant care. Yet I still have that hour a week. And the stubble of new hair on my head has been felt. When a person has little, then the little things matter.

The neuropathy has affected my entire body and is now destroying all nerves (there are many kind of nerves from big ones to small ones). A partial para and I were comparing notes and we could both sometimes feel something big, like a toe breaking or something being crushed, just for a second, a scream of pain static making its way through, and then nothing. This week I got a locked cramp in my calf, waking me with the thoughts “AHHH!” followed by, “Great, I am alone, how am I going to get to that part of my body?” By the time I worked my way down my leg was at an angle due to the cramp which I couldn’t feel at all. I tried massaging my calf with hands, which couldn’t feel the amount of pressure I was using, or the muscles themselves. Then realized how ludicrous that was, took a muscle relaxant and lay back, leaving the leg still bent, and hoped for the best. That isn’t the absence of life, that IS life.

I am in the closet sexually. I don’t know how it happened, but it did. Maybe too many little comments from night and other workers, or the realization that if this person felt uncomfortable around me, I wouldn’t eat, or pee in a bathroom. A worker recently found out, I told her we were together “Sixteen years, and about five or six legal.”

The worker went on and on, “Wow, it has been legal for that long? I didn’t realize so much time had passed.” No lady, having a partner and being sexually active with her has been legal for a LOT longer, it is just five or six years since this province made it legal to have the same marriage benefits. Except we don’t.

The health care system is full of people who are within 10 years of retirement, and for whom it will never, in the treatment they give, be legal, and so after many tries they ask, “Where is ‘your friend’?” not, “partner, wife, spouse.” Linda jokes that one day SHE instead of everyone else will be able to ride in the Ambulance with me. Last one was empty except for a woman filling in paperwork, and yet Linda had been told they were ‘too full’ One day she will be able to be with me in the ER without sneaking in the back, or the ambulance entrance. One day the care agency will tell workers who ask not to come back due to our orientation that it is too bad they don’t want a job at that care agency and to clean out their locker. Because what they said breaks the provincial and Federal law, but no one enforces it. As do the doctors who talk to us, or me, or just her, they are all employees of the government.

One day after I sat there while Linda and a care manager talked and I said what my concerns were and Linda overrode me, and she and the care manager talked as if I wasn’t there. I sat and when the manager was gone I talked to Linda. I said, “My ability to control when or how I breath, or my heart beats may go away, my ability to eat, or excrete may no longer be my choice, my movements, my memories degenerate, my mind may degenerate but….BUT,” I was crying in anger, frustration and most of all pain of emotion hurt, “I will LIVE and die as an EQUAL human being.” She had treated me like an object, a pet to be negotiated about. She doesn’t anymore.

I am an equal human to each and every person reading this and you are an equal to me.

We may have different abilities, we may have difference circumstances but we are equal.

At badminton the player who doesn’t want to play with women and particularly not me, who cheats and tries to taunt and makes anti-disability comment, made comments about the badminton DIRECTOR and his badminton partner, “Well, you know, maybe he is one of THOSE KIND of people.” Yeah, gay, I got it. But he followed up, “Cause, you know it is legal and all.” Wink, wink. Why is it the people who use ‘legal’ as an insult don’t realize what rolls of their tongue is illegal. And illegal because they are NOT treating people as EQUAL human beings. I looked to Linda to see if she could hear this, and said that no, I think the two of them paired up because they had good game rhythm. “Yes, well you know I hear THOSE KIND of people naturally have good rhythm.” He said with a snigger before wandering off. I was speechless because though Linda and I come together, he obviously has no clue that we are married. I thought of wheeling to the center of the floor and making out with her right there.

In the end, I say nothing that night. But I am introducing Linda to him next week. If that is okay with Linda. Because she is out at work, and I am closeted at home.

I am getting a full DNA and Chromosomal work-up. I am sure they will find Chromosome 5 anomalies. But as for diseases, the only disease on offer is a degenerative disease often confused with late stage ALS, but it takes longer to die. There is no treatment. It is a bad match. The disease I match has a treatment and I will be working and working to get it. Because I want more than my hour a week exercising hard. And I want more than a few hours here and there of blogging, or when putting things on ebay it wipes me out for a week.

I have gone to medical meetings totally silent, I have gone to meetings with folders of medical journals, I have talked less, I have been mild. But I don’t lie. When a doctor, a manager, a director, a deputy minister of government tells me that no, we can’t be equals, I know that I should not be a voice alone. That the voices of every group who was declassified as non-equal, all of us ‘sub-humans’ should rise. But these are the fights we fight alone.

The truth, for a doctor is that, they are correct in a way, we are equal in status, since as paid public servants their job is to help assist ME, because the money has been paid, not for their benefit, but for mine (I am their employer). But when seeking specialist opinion on medicine, it is good to focus on that.

Besides, I am not just a doctor’s but most people’s greatest nightmare. The things which happen to me, and to my body are VIOLENT. They are ruinous, they destroy and the people who spent 10 years or more just to start helping can do NOTHING. Dr. G., the best, was honest, “We can help your symptoms, but you are going to be the best expert on your disease.”

I am not my disease, but when one is falling through the sky with a couple anvils tied to your ankles and one where your parachute should be, it is REALLY hard to know the difference. Except for that hour. And the pain and decisions it takes to get to that hour. Or these hours, in the middle of night, and early morn, that I write instead of sleep. I fear the sleep. I am always sleeping, always nauseous, in shock and skaking, in more different types of pain and fatigue I didn’t know it was possible to lose count.

“And rushing to oblivion
He broke into that knowing grin”

Those lines make me wonder if they know what it is like to live at the edge, the story of a pilot, his parachute not opening. I know what that feeling is like; knowing this ride is the edge, for as long as it will last. And so I grin, not because it doesn’t hurt, but because it does. I told my parents, “You know, for the amount of time I spent in studying, I have had a child, grow into an adult.” A pause, “I guess I chose wrong.”

And then, instead of sob, a grin.

I push myself hard because this is what it is, and while I want it to last for a long, long time, if Linda hadn’t climbed on me for CPR, that would have been it. But it wasn’t. So I grin, and push some more.
Maybe you could sit and listen to your life go by, to the lives of others you care about go by timed in puffs of oxygen, and temp, oxygen and liquid checks. I can’t. I don’t.

Things I am thankful for:

1. That I learned before it was too late that we ARE truly equal regardless of race, of creed, of religion, of orientation, of gender, of disability – that we are all human, and thus individuals holders of the greatest of all gifts: potential.
2. That one day there won’t be a need for me anymore. That people will look around them and care about people they know nothing about...yet.

3. That Linda and I have grown as individual and as a couple, and that Cheryl and many, many others have grown as my friends.

4. That I can still grin.

5. That love is a choice and an action: and I still choose and act. That those around me, and those who I have never seen choose and act as well.
6. That as long as I live, I learn, and that there will always be new people to meet, new limits to try, new things to learn.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Where I have been, a bed on fire, and late remembrance

I am still alive…I can tell because parts of me hurt. I finished, just 3 minutes ago, a 4 day marathon of listing items for ebay (92 manga lots!) in hopes for getting some funds to save and enough to pay ebay sellers and get gifts. Sorry I have been not communicating, as it has been: get up, work, take pain pills, sleep, repeat. Over and over I worked until fingers, wrists, arms, forearms, shoulders, back, pelvic bones stopped working, just ached. Until I was not all here. I don’t know a time where I haven’t known only working and pain...literally, I can remember vague things in the past, but my recorded short term memory can’t believe it is over! Now this is what I WISH Linda and I had been doing. I mean, someone, well two someone’s has to do it, why not let it be us! Oh wait, I have the lacy thong, woot! I get to be on top! Sorry, fantasy distraction, late night thing.

The items and lots for sale on ebay (was over 90) include Yaoi (which are boy/boy love manga books come'on they are CUTE, and there is a KITTY! Most of Yaoi are buy it now or choose to bid and hope you get it – postage is included) and Shojo manga lots (Female romance, falling in love stories, couples stories) and Action manga lots like Vampire D’s oversized 200+ page mangas. I tried to list only complete sets as I know the frustration of buying half of a set and not knowing the rest of the story. Some of these I bought before I got sick, I think, or started. The ebay listings are HERE if anyone is interested. There is quite a lot that younger teens would like, high school romance, even 9th grade romance, plus books for singles in the big city, college romances – Venus in love is that one, where a girl is going after a guy in college, only to have the guy in the dorm next to her, her friend, in love with him too! Lots of Ghost story style ones (3 stories solves a volume or one a volume), and some cult ones like Lunar Legend, or Eureka Seven (famous anime) or The Girl who Ran through time (an alternate story on the famous Anime Movie: Girl who Leapt through time).

Sorry, it is all I have been staring at for um, days? Weeks? When did I start taking photos? Wow, I have a LOT of Yaoi. But you know most of the Deux Yaoi (and others) are more like fun boy love light romances, (isn't the build up and the moment of first kiss the tingly 'aww' moment particularly when the uke/femme is trying to be all butch! A "I don't know what you are talking about" - response: KISSED!) often the best yaoi is with no heavy adult scenes (or few), I recommend Manzai Comics, Idol Pleasures and Part Time Pets!
I am off to bed at 4:00 am, and tomorrow to the doctor, and then two more appointments later this week – no sign of any treatment in sight yet. But I keep working at it. The night worker who came on Wednesday and said she would come back told the schedulers she would, and then would not, so we will see tomorrow if it is just a timing conflict and get that changed.

I have been going through a long dark patch. Sort of self harm fantasy, compartmentalized, then lying in bed or when I was alone or with people every night, every afternoon, I thought about setting myself on fire. I believed it was the only way to help Linda and myself and get out of the loop I was in (I didn’t say I was very sane at this point!). I held the bottle of spirits I was going to pour over me, and then over my sheets in the bed before I lay in it and lit it. Now I look back and think that might not have been a very um, (I can’t think of a word that isn’t a horrid pun: ‘bright idea’, ‘illuminated thought’, ‘flash of brilliance’) good. Sorry, thinking about setting yourself on fire for dozens of hours is NOT GOOD, but it is sort of very ME, which makes me glad I didn’t do it. Got to stop listening to the voices, whether they be inside (like the ‘Bad Beth’ and Guilt Inc. voices) or outside (like the questions, insinuations, harassment, and basically abusive relationship doctors can hold over us: and health officials).

I hope you had a better weekend and I really hope all this work brings me the financial security I am hoping for. Now I really am low on manga! Seriously. I also hope all these doctors appointments bring SOME sort of treatment. Linda got a link to treatment for MS people to give remissions (not a treatment that would be approved here however) – still advances continue, treatments will come but until then, I have to live, to find balance – and to pray that the insanity of Black Friday (Thanksgiving is this Thursday, the day after that, Friday, is the most busy shopping day of the year) crazy spending in the USA spreads to ebay!

I sort of missed Remembrance Day. I wanted to remember on Nov 11th and did and do now, all those who worked as nurses in the field and in the stations all the way back to the home country on both sides of WWI and WWII. These women, who had PTSD and ‘shell shock’ went unrecognized and unappreciated. Florence Nightengale’s experiences in Crimea left her in bed – Shell Shock, M.E./CFS? I also want to remember all those families and spouses, communities who assisted in the caregiving of those who returned from war with impairments from psychological to the physical: the lungs, the limbs. There are millions to remember those who fought, let me and those who chose to remember those who tended men ripped apart by shrapnel, or who died holding their hands, and they went back to their cot, cried, then got up and went back to work.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hit by Normal, the medicos begin worming in

Trick Question: What is a downward Spiral?

Trick Answer: that new FLAX seed drink at Starbuck – wow, talk about a system flush! Seriously…..beware!

The other answer: Me and my health, so says the Linda

Linda says that in my need for extra sleep, 5 hour naps, in slowed speech, in slowed thinking, that I’m going down.

Except…except, we haven’t had time for all the ‘together’ stuff much less the talks about dying, and about us. Or we have and I don’t remember. Ignorance isn’t bliss, I can assure you, knowing that it takes patience and people reminding themselves about you almost all the time they are around you.

We need to have those talks, those times together.
Except the medicos have us again: I was exhausted from the doctors office visit yesterday so I slept five hours and when I woke up, I had three more doctor’s visits, and now four. I have to spent tomorrow putting as many manga on ebay and art books on Livejournal as I have the endurance to do. I haven’t even started a single template. Or resized a picture. But I need to have a nest egg, I want to pay off everyone I owe, I want to build up savings again and people don’t buy off ebay after Xmas.

Except I spent three hours talking to a doctor who wants a family history, who is having my mother in and I think it is more about having me in a chapter in a book than finding a diagnosis. He talked down to me; the type who has to be the biggest brain in the room. I thought he was a blessing until, I countered him, too far down the genetics path of perfect and imperfect and he asserted that he was NORMAL, an XY 46 perfect chromosome heterosexual male. Is that normal now? Then he said that I was brain damaged. No, not now, but because I had the genetic disposition for Bipolar Disorder, or because I had Dyslexia, or because I was an SMA carrier, or a Chromosome 5 abnormality. I would NOT have 46 perfect chromosomes. And now, with the field of genetic medicine, that matters.

Was I hurt? From a man who may have served on panels in BC to determine those ‘brain damaged’ in 1976 to be sterilize against their will? Yes. I didn’t need him to list the barriers of what everything from who entertainment is aimed towards to corporate structure to be reminded of everything that locks me out. I AM different. But am I ‘brain damaged’ because I take a pill supplement?

What does it matter right, because he wants to see me, on Monday, after we talked for three hours on the phone. But is he here to help? Every Neurologist he lists, he works with is an expert in dispensing “Conversion Disorder” (Neuropych major or minor) – known as, you not only get to be sick, but it is your fault too! Have MS? But that’s too severe for REAL MS, you must have “Conversion Disorder!” You don’t want to live a normal life, you want medical attention. Oops, that’s MS type 4. Okay but THIS MS person has Conversion Disorder, and so does that Epileptic, in fact so do ALL Epileptics (this is the literature not me), because any seizure that doesn’t show up on an EEG is a Pseudo-Seizure – all the Seizure with and extra side of distain and no help (except some therapy). It is the ultimate cure, from MS, Lupus, CP, all can be 'helped' by doctors, by BLAMING you...for your own good. My, how big your teeth are doctor. Of course the number of seizure disorders has increased from 4 to 1,500 within Canada and I haven’t found anyone, Doctor or otherwise who could name over seven but boy can any doctor call a ‘pseudo-seizure’.

I told the genetic neurologist over the phone that I fainted in my teen years, “Oh yes, Teenage hysterical” he stated as the case. I tried to explain that no actually, there were many factors but no one could, “Right, Hysterical teenager!” Does he know I was an anorexic? Or that I had Vagovascular syncope during those years? No. He had a word, “Fainting” and an immediate response, “Hysterical” – because I have a damaged brain so everything must circle that drain right?

He tells me my records are sealed, then in discussion I find out what he tested my father for. Find out he offered my father medication. I call my father. “Do you know the genetic test results?” my father wants to know; he hasn’t gotten a copy of the results yet.

Patient doctor confidentiality until he needs to prove he is the smartest in the room.

Who gets my story when he is pissed off or proud of himself, or just something to tell at conferences? “I wish you had been here two years ago.” I said, “I don’t understand why no one doesn’t write a book about my family.”

“About that..” he says, “We’ll talk on Monday.” I find out my mother is booked to talk to him too.

I have to work, to list, to work, to list, then to have three doctors appointments next week so far. I went to badminton tonight, without a nap because I talked too long. I had seizures later. I lost another two hours. But I went to badminton and I sweated. I literally, every time I sat down to pee, had blood pour out of me for six days, and the “GP” didn’t want to hear about it – she deals with the big picture, the referrals, or not (As not one completed yet). The geneticist tells me he only finds a diagnosis in 30% of patients – and those are mostly ‘learn to live with it’

The thing about being ill and getting sicker is that the more you don’t make time for it, the more it doesn’t give a damn about your plans. All those appointments, they all want me to be something but I don’t know if I can, not today, not tomorrow. Are any interest in the me?

He was a doctor 11 years when doctors in Canada were saying homosexuals were incurable sexual predators, and the police were locking them up.

He’s ‘Normal’.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lynne's Soap Wonderland, Bunnies and Postcards

Now that I have had sufficient Virgin Smoothies (add a bit of rum and you have a Virgin Daiquiri!) my blood level allow me to be awake and aware again. Cheryl is off again on a Government mission (I can’t say except she is taking her blowdarts and jungle cameo) so will not be over next weekend. I had been working on a plan called, “Don’t let anyone down” which has been created by Guilt Inc. Seriously, I wanted to get a lot of nice postcards done because I kept passing out last week and got very few done (hence I am BAD, if I am unconscious and do not keep to my own inner voice quota, I am 'bad Beth!'). Also, I prepared to send the rest of the ‘Winter Gifts’ which I guess those who keep Xmas call ‘Xmas Gifts.’

Some things I do need to wait on arriving but I sent out about 23+ packages this week and a bunch last week. In two weeks, the lines to the post office and the slow down of service means everything is difficult. And I have enough self esteem issues that I believe if I send things to arrive Dec 20th-24th I will be lost amoungst family and friends and just be, “Shall we open this envelope from that crazy internet chick?”

Now while I can’t get the big presents, I do try to find something both unique and that will make people happy or improve their life. So I want my gift to have space to breath, so I send it early. Of course that Aunt who gets you Thomas the Train Ear Muffs even though you are 35 ALSO thinks she is getting just the right gift for you. See how insecurity and Guilt Inc. are having fun with me!

Thanks to Linda, we were able to go see Lynne who is a locally renown carver and soap maker. She spends way too many hours a day carving and in the summer I showed you her stall at the local market. Well, for two days she has a ‘special’ event where she sells what she has been carving over the time since the summer market. She told us to come early in order to have full accessibility as she gets crowded.

First we weave through a tended garden with lovely flowers, a pathway and painted out- buildings before arriving at the kind of door which appears in Fairy Tales, and it opens to a sort of winter celebration land, smelling divine from all the hand made, organic and good for your skin soap (sadly she doesn’t sell online).
I wanted to get there early so I could see all the new things she had carved. There were additional clams and shells but also full cooking onions as well as this garlic. As I was loading the picture, one worker said, “Oh, I love that purple garlic, it is so delicious, where did you get it?” This is why when I send the soap out I have to put a note saying: “This is soap, do NOT eat” as even I forget. The baskets to shop with were Walton’s General Store style depression fruit baskets/boxes and here you can see the fruit she normally has (plus pears). Even I go, “Well, once it is pitted, that peach will be good to use.” Before I remember that the pit IS carved and it is all still soap.

Another new item were these Amaryllis bulbs which is traditional to grow for some people’s Xmas. Since I am new to all this 'tradition' and more of a ‘lets have a party to celebrate not being dead in winter’, I tend to drift from Wicca to Christian and toward anyone else who will give me cake. I have to admit the Christian Xmas is wee like being on acid when there is the ‘conception day’ celebrated three weeks before the ‘birthday’ and while I am thinking ‘So Jesus was…an insect to be hatched so quick?” Then I remember the great American Xmas Tradition: Killing People on Xmas Eve after dinner and drink! (I am SO locking my doors)

Yeah, remember Washington crossing the River standing in his boat at the dead of night on the way to glorious victory? Well he was going over to the Prussians/Hanoverians who owed the British from the help in that seven years war I talked about last week. George Washington, a British Officer during that war KNEW that the most holy day of the year (and the one they get most drunk on) for the Prussians was Xmas (Indeed, the tree, the punch, the whole traditions we have arrived with Queen Victoria when the Hanovarian arm filled in the British Royal line, spreading Xmas to the British Empire and then now, to the world). So Washington snuck over to where, on the holiest day of the year, where the troops celebrated and were too drunk/asleep to resist, he slaughtered them, thus creating the first colonial victory! Oddly, most classes and pictures focus on Washington leading the troops across the icy river (because it was December) and so far, have found no pictures of troops bayoneted or throats slit while holding a bit of fruitcake mumbling, “It looks like normal food…but you can never finish it…so thick and heavy!”

Um, aside over, back to gift buying, here is a table of all the bars of cocoa butter based soaps from Blackberry to other lush scents. So smooth. What made me go, “I wanna, I wanna!!!” was the finding of these carved vellum covered, gold leaf books. Amazing no? She said that years ago, with better eyesight she had put titles on and everything. I wanted to hand one to her and give the Bambi eyes and go, “Put Titles on?” But she was already giving me special treatment. Here I am looking youthful and happy. “That’s because I’m not just a spokesperson for this soap but I use it regularly!”

She also had made gingerbread men, which looked so edible, and smelled of ginger. I didn’t get one as I thought the gingerbread man had endured enough than to be cleaning Area 51 and the other delicates.

After the soap we headed up to the university with our bag of a bit of left over lettuce to find the ‘wabbits, I mean rabbits. Over a decade ago, a few pet rabbits ran away, across the road and the rest is history. Now people come and dump rabbits here as they think with so many, they won’t be noticed. Much like the squirrels, once they heard the bag, the rabbits found US.
And now, for my NEXT act, I will attempt to feed TWO rabbits from the hand at once! Ta-da! Not as impressive as tigers, right? Oh well. Even Linda was getting heavy attention as the holder of the bag from rabbits and fed them.
I noticed that the rabbits or at least this one must be a Literature Major as he had the whole Oliver Twist, “Mum, may I please have a bit more gruel’ look down pretty perfectly.
This next picture of me feeding the rabbits is a bit of a test. Okay, done!

If it took you up to three seconds to notice there was a BUNNY in the picture, then you are male/lesbian/bisexual/interested in my breasts.

If it took you more than FIVE seconds to notice then you are sexually frustrated and WAY too interested in my breasts.

If you never noticed a Bunny in the picture, then you are the male who they make those reports about, the ones which they say that 16-21 year old males think of sex every six seconds (How are they able to complete sentences? And why are they allowed to operate motor vehicles?).

It was cold, I had frostbite and we were out of lettuce. We headed home. Over the next 36 hours I had a FEW incidents which required extra sleep or suddenly being in bed on the concentrator mask for oxygen as my weaker state meant that my heart or lungs were not working properly or as happened one time, my blood pressure went from 120/70 to 178/164 in a few minutes. Also I had a lot of fevers. BUT (lets ignore the spiral of downward health and focus on what is IMPORTANT, so says Guilt Inc.) I got some postcard done, about 59 in all, which brings me over 100 so far this month and over 3,100 in total. I really like the stamp of the girl reading. I also, of all the postcards we brought back from Hawaii have a couple favourites: one is the set of the ones of Turtles which are sold out in Hawaii and online so this is the only pack (if you have a love for endangered turtles please let me know!).

The second is this picture of the spinner dolphins in Hawaii doing a group dive. It is so beautiful. The old picture of the moon taken through an early telescope is pretty cool too. We stickered, we matched, stamped and I wrote and wrote and wrote and I really hope you can understand my handwriting. Here are some of the postcards which we sent out, from Magic Eye to Polar Bears, there are gifts of postcards from the postcard project here from at least six different people plus postcards I bought from Hawaii, Japan and online from three places. But for the quality postcards you send me as a gift, I honestly do send them out again just as fast as I can around the world. This posting went to four continents and one subcontinent (or two - how many subcontinents are there?)

Next time we are doing a ‘kids posting’ (shh don’t tell them) which is where we send a postcard to every teen or child on our list. So if you have a child or teen or 2 or 3 year old who likes animals that I don’t have on the list, or have forgotten please let me know. Last time it was Polar Bears, and this time there is another cute primary animal which I managed to get the postcard book of, which is good considering it goes for between $20 and $60 (I got in on the swing and paid a rational price). So I am looking forward to that, it is always fun in terms of stamping and of stickering. We know there isn't going to be post back but we also remember how good it was to get post/mail when a kid.

I hope you had a good weekend, those were my small pleasures. Please comment on any soap that delighted you, or children who need postcards or anything that comes to mind, except for very long and detailed comments of my breast, even (especially) if they start with ‘Like the beautiful smooth, cool and white round alabaster breasts one sees on a statue or a corpse, your breast was the fullness of beauty. It made me long to work in a mortuary near you so that one day I might fondle them at my leisure!”