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Hey and welcome to all the new people who have found my journal by accident or on purpose!

A few things I want to let all of you know:


Seven Tips for Highly Successful Readers...Collapse )

Fun Thoughts for a Mother's Day weekend

Did you know that before it became Mother's DayTM*, Mothering Sunday was once the day that domestic servants had free to travel home and see their own mothers/ go to their "home" church? At one point, we were told (in our church-sponsored London primary school), it was the day where the rest of the family took over Mom's chores for the day, so she could go to church. No, I have no idea where they got that idea from. It sounds terribly 1950's-ish, with Dad and children making a hideous mess of the house, because household chores were widely considered harder than building rockets and flying to the moon, therefore no-one but Mom could do them right.
My life choices do not invalidate yours.Collapse )

The Fat Truth

I'm obsessed with the show "Living: 600lbs" on TLC*, and not in a good way.  I wind myself up with outrage at the lies, the attitude, the shaming that the entire country seems to want to get in on at these poor people.  And I want them to succeed at weight loss, I really do.  As a former fat person (5'3", tipping the scales at around 200lbs at my fattest, 124 at my thinnest**, and at my most comfortable somewhere between 135-140lbs), I really understand the shaming that goes along with any perceived "overweight."*** The show does no better for the extremely heavy people it follows, providing them with a doctor who refuses to look at weight loss as anything but a "choice".

Me, rambling about weight! Yay!Collapse )


This is who I am.  It is why I can seem very upbeat, chatty, and happy, and then seem tired, unwilling, or unable to participate in the things around me.  Add my invisible disabilities, and who I am makes more sense.  For instance, yesterday I went to Atlantian Coronation, which was great.  I sold my jewelry, and that was nice.  I talked to lots of people I like very much, and really cool stuff happened, and that was super.  But by the end of the day, I was so tired, and so painful, that I was reduced to sitting on the floor as I tried to put my clothes away.  The ride home was rough, but made better by Bob, and singing, both of which energize me and make me feel better (Bob first, then singing).

I'm actually really happy to engage with people when I'm feeling good.  I love to talk - people who know me say I never shut up! - and I love to teach.  It's a central value and priority of my SCA experience; "have knowledge?  Pass it on!".

But when I'm feeling bad, I can't focus.  I become afraid of walking in crowded spaces, because someone might bump my arms.  I can't hug properly.  One of the most common "I totally get what you're saying!" gestures is to grab or pat the other person's upper arm - an act that can cause me great pain (for reference, no-one hurt me yesterday, so if you're reading this and worried, you're okay).  When I'm also having issues with the up-and-down nature of my hypothyroiditis, fatigue can become overwhelming.  I also just found out I have a calcified eardrum in my right ear, so know I know why I often don't hear people say "hi" in a crowded, noisy space.

All of these things, plus being a natural introvert, plus trust issues I have based on life experiences, make me reserved, especially when I'm meeting new people.  I make a great effort in the SCA to be as friendly and as un-scary as possible, but I can't change my fundamental neurological nature.

As for the list:

#1.  I am privileged to have a permanent safe space, where all company is welcomed and expected.  Since company normally happens on the weekend, I have an entire week to recover.  I love having friends over.  I also love a week spent on projects, with Bob for company.

#2.  I will walk around in circles for hours rather than ask.  Bob has helped with this, but the anxiety I get is close to phobia level.  Still, it's not thunderstorms or spiders, so I try to cope.  I've performed for years, yet I still get stage fright.  The phrase that has helped me most (from Bob, natch) is:  "They cannot take away your birthday.  What's the worst that will happen?  They will say no?".  This brings the fear down, but does not make it go away.

#3.  This is exacerbated by the fear of bumping into someone, so I don't take blind corners fast.  But I walk at speed, especially in crowded spaces.  Pennsic and cities, Pennsic and cities.  I can levitate, I walk so fast through busy spaces.  In London, everyone walks fast, so I don't stand out as much.  :)

#4.  I would emphasize the neccessity of getting a college degree that specializes in technical skills, but I never finished my fine arts degree, and I'm bordering on dyscaculia when it comes to math.  The best (non self-employed/freelance) job I ever had happened because a really awesome friend hooked me up as a data-entry temp.  I'm really good at writing, so I ended up creating a special niche for myself at a great place.  When the office moved, though, and I got stuck in a cube farm, it was awful (noise, not being able to shut my office door because I no longer had an office, that sort of thing.  I actually cried. At the office).  Thankfully, Bob retired within four months of the office move, so I didn't have to stay there.  However, I worked there for ten years, and went to only one office party in all that time.  I was a great worker, but I didn't know the names of most of the people in the same office.  Adding to my issues is a really close-to-phobia response at making or receiving phone calls.  I have a very hard time calling job places and setting up interviews.  Hell, I get slightly phobic about e-mail (this is why I'm such a bad correspondent).

#5.  I have a reputation among people who don't know me as being a hateful bitch who can never be pleased, and thinks everyone is beneath her.  I know this, because I have had people come up to me and say "YOU'RE the person they were talking about?!".  I make a special effort to be friendly to strangers, because, see above.  However, I am always going to be cautious.  Once upon a time I was anxious to be liked by everyone*, and I got let down very badly a number of times.  This doesn't make meeting new people any easier, believe me.  On the other hand, I can tell an introvert when I meet them, and if I am interested in being friends, I won't be put off by a cool repsonse.  Some really good friends of mine were slow to thaw, but then so am I.  I've learned not to see reserve as rejection.

#6.  I am so tired today, I will sit on the couch and read.  I need to plant some stuff, but that may have to wait.  Going to an event is much harder than it used to be.

On the other hand, the SCA has a much larger collection of introverts than, say, your office.  We also have a default response of being easy-going with people's idiosyncrasies.  After all, people who dress up in weird clothing on the weekend are somewhat rare, and we'd feel silly getting dressed up in a costume and running through the woods on our own.**

I think I scare people because I am talented, and successful, but also an introvert.  But, like most introverts, I'm very nice when you get to know me.

*Who doesn't?
**I lied.  I would so do that.

Sexy as Cholera

I have an over-excitable immune system (you all know this).  Even though it's currently doing most of its work on my thyroid, I get some side action on my skin, most usually things like flaky scalp and skin around my nose and eyebrows (most teenagers get acne; I got a circle of skin and sebum around my "t-zone" - the bit around your nose and eyebrows - that flaked like a deep sunburn, and if scratched off, would bleed.  We all have our woes).  Currently, the mucous membrane in my mouth has made a grab for some extra real estate in the corners of my mouth, so I have red cracked skin there.  Delightful (hence the title of today's post).

Honestly, the stuff we obsess over on our faces and bodies doesn't register to most people; I know this because I don't see it in my friends or even strangers.  All I see is the good stuff, like beautiful eyes, or a lovely smile.  And I know I don't look like a giant hot mess to most people (I keep my hot mess hidden in a box in the garage).  But times like this, when I get to experience the discomfort and ugliness of my skin going wrong, I need reassurance from Bob.  And I get it; he's really awesome that way.

On the other hand, it's nice - in an odd sort of way - to know what's wrong with me.  I have auto-immune issues.  I like to know what's sort of going on, so I read up a lot on the whole immune system deal, like this great post from Mark Crislip at SBM.  So, when I read ads or see ads on TV claiming to "boost" my immune system, I know they're stupid and wrong (I hate Airborne with the fiery hate of a thousand hate suns).  There are a whole lot of illnesses where you really don't want any extra help with your immune system - as the article points out, the 1918 Spansh Flu epidemic killed so many people because it prompted a massive overreaction from the immune system, causing people to die from their own bodies' immune response, not the flu virus.  And vaccinating against the flu really does actually help.  Not perfectly, but it helps.

The people who claim vaccines are the worst thing evar are the same people that just can't get enough of that immune-boosting stuff, claiming that "superfoods" like kale, spinach, melon, et al. are going to turn your body into some kind of super-immune hyper-healthy thing that diseases will just bounce off.  Aside from the fact that you can't boost your immune system when it's running properly, hyper-efficient immune responses kill.  Vaccines, on the other hand, assist the immune system, by making it produce antibodies to various viruses, so that if the body comes into contact with said virus, the immune system already knows what to do.  Vaccines make your body smarter.  All the kale in the world won't stop you from getting polio.  And I'd like to see someone who claims that germ theory is wrong, and it's just our immune systems aren't being fed a perfect diet, go to battle against yersinia pestis.

A little irony is good for the blood.  Magical thinking is not.

Mentally Ill =/= criminal behaviour

The issue that is bothering me the most over the whole Belle Gibson Story as it unfolds is the number of commenters and bloggers putting forward the idea that Gibson is "mentally ill".

And I'm all "what is this, I can't even".

Mental illness is a subject that is extremely badly understood in social media.  Gibson is not mentally ill, as in "she is not responsible for her actions", she's a criminal and a fraud and Miss Liar McPantsonfire.  Lying for profit, gain, or attention is not the same as having a mental illness.  Some people are attempting to call it Munchausen's Syndrome, but I don't agree.*  Gibson, from her public rant calling people bullies, to deleting any and all Instagram and FB posts that might make her look bad, and her deletion (up to a day or so ago) of any comments from her FB account that were critical or demanded proof of her illness, is someone who told a lie, then another, then a bunch more, probably for the attention.**

cut it out!Collapse )
Recently a young woman in Australia who called herself the "Wellness Warrior" has died.  I find her death sad, but I find myself much more enraged, because she pushed a number of "cancer-curing" things that have nothing to do with curing cancer, such as coffee enemas, an expensive organic juiced vegetables diet, positive imaging, and meditation.  She claimed that these things had healed/cured her, though by the end of her life she was not only obviously concealing her cancer, but she was claiming she never said the word "cured", as documented by  A View From the Hills. (h/t to wosny.)  Another woman, Belle Gibson, is being exposed as making a claim that she had an incurable brain tumor, and cured it herself, through diet.  She parlayed this story and her app "The Whole Pantry", into a jet-setting lifestyle of $2000 handbags and charity fund-raising fraud.  (Also h/t to wosny. You're on fire!)

A Tale of Two Aussies...Collapse )

A Brave Stand to Take (on Naturopathy)

I was very interested in an article at Respectful Insolence (see sidebar) about a woman who was a certified naturopath (ND) who has now started telling people about how the treatments she was taught to give are based on ideologies and thinking that have no real basis in science.  It's a brave move on her part, considering how widely naturopathy is believed in the US and elsewhere.  In several states, lobbying has prompted laws allowing naturopaths to prescribe medications, essentially putting them on an equal footing with doctors, even though the education of naturopaths includes highly suspect modalities, and most NDs advocate against "pill-pushing", as they call it.

My thoughts: Read themCollapse )
I finally, after months of apathy and feeling sick, get down to looking at how LJ people are doing.

And I read that jenthompson's husband died.  I'm so, so sorry.  I can't even express my sympathy and sadness.


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