Ok, so what menu did I choose for my friends with food needs, as listed in the previous post.
First course: Sweet Pea soup. The color is vivid and almost lurid. My guests look worried until they taste it. It tastes like spring! Butter, onions, broth and frozen sweet peas, just cooked. My guests go from worried to asking for seconds.
Lentils baked with sausages. This is also not a gloriously pretty dish. Again, my guests love the taste. Lentils, a little red wine, butter, onions, bay leaf, sausages, thyme and baked. Yum.
As well as:
Roasted Ronde de Nice Squash with California rice and Early Girl tomatoes. Except I did not make the rice, I couldn’t get farmer cheese and the tomatoes were varied and from the store. And a different kind of squash! This is from a cookbook new to me: Community Table, Recipes for an Ecological Future. The sweet pea soup is from a cookbook that I’ve had for forty years and the lentils are from memory, a recipe a friend taught me in the 1980s.
Dessert is fruit salad and chocolate. With tea.
No liver, gluten, shellfish, giant rubbery cooked mushrooms, anchovies, dried fishies or grubs.
I am having a few friends over and am checking to see if there are any food needs. Since my March 2021 pneumonia, I can’t eat gluten. Weird, huh? But antibodies tend to rise as we get older, darn them. And there can be a rising baseline. Double darn.
Anyhow, I have some funny friends. My query “Is there anything you don’t eat?” got these responses:
“I don’t eat anchovies or dried fishies or grubs.”
“We eat everything in moderation.”
“shellfish, giant rubbery cooked mushrooms….”
They crack me up! I think I invited the right people.
Now, let’s see, what is my menu, with no liver, gluten, shellfish, giant rubbery cooked mushrooms, anchovies, dried fishies or grubs? Tough, huh? Pretty narrow range left.
I took the photograph at the Great Port Townsend Bay Kinetic Sculpture Race in September 2022. Pretty earnest discussion going on among an interesting group.
I was looking for a song with imprecation. I did not find one, but there is an infernal Texas horde (aka a band) named Imprecation. The band’s new album, Damnatio Ad Bestias will be the first since 2013’s Satanae Tenebris. Here:
I was pricing health insurance in case I get well enough to work more. I can get an $800 a month with a $8000 deductible or a $1435 a month with a $2000 deductible. I would very much like to work part time treating Long Covid. But, ironically enough, looks like I can’t afford health insurance. It costs more than the malpractice would. Ironic, huh? It’s not like we need doctors. (I do not have a medical release yet anyhow, but time to do research. It’s making me gloomy.)
You know, if we do get Artificial Intelligence, it will take one look at the United States Medical non-system, decide we are insane, and wipe us out.
And honestly, when I was working for the hospital clinics, I thought the most brilliant person in our office was the woman who could extract a prior authorization from so many insurance companies. I would send the referral to print and half the time she would have it authorized by the time the patient got to the front desk. And why do we waste all that brilliance on giving health insurance companies a profit of 20 cents out of every dollar? That is $20,000,000 out of $100,000,000. Looks worse with bigger numbers, doesn’t it?
Over 20 years ago, when I first start practicing in Washington State, I get a letter from the state. It frightens me. It says that there is a complaint to the state from a patient and that I am being investigated. I think, “What did I do?” The letter says that they will notify me when they are done investigating. I am not allowed to inquire about it until they are done.
I worry, then shrug and go on working.
Eventually I get a letter from the state saying that the investigation is complete and has been dismissed. Now I can request information. I do.
The complaint is that on a yearly exam, I had asked if a patient had guns in the house. Since too many US citizens die by gun suicide and children can find guns and accidentally kill themselves or others, I was taught to counsel regarding guns. If a person has guns in the house I am to counsel them to keep the gun locked up with the ammunition locked up separately.
I was charged in the complaint with trying to find out how many guns this person has and “reporting it to the government”. I thought, that is ridiculous, but it did change my practice. Since there are paranoid timorous gun owners, I no longer asked if they had guns. Instead I said, “If you have guns in the house, as a safety measure, keep them locked up with the ammunition locked up separately.” We are supposed to counsel people to keep addictive drugs that can overdose and kill people locked up too.
I get three replies to the gun counseling. 1. “No guns!” 2. “I am a policeman (or hunter or retired veteran or gun collector) and all guns are secured at all times.” 3. Silence. The silent ones clearly have guns and do not lock them up. Truly I have had people tell me that they sleep with a loaded gun under the pillow. Really? That is our fear based timorous violent culture. We are terrified of….. someone. People on drugs, criminals, immigrants, people of another ethnicity, invaders, alien lizards in human disguise. Whatever.
I don’t have guns. I do have a fairly high level Tai Kwan Do belt, but my main home defense is that I am a packrat. Anyone trying to sneak into my house at night would trip over a cat or cat toy or the cardboard boxes in the kitchen that Elwha loves to sleep in. My house is seriously dangerous. I need to removed the stuff on the stairs by the time I turn 65 so that when they counsel me about fall risks at my medicare wellness visit, I can say that my stairs are clear.
Well, I do have a pop gun, loaded with a cork on a string. Also an Archie McPhee potato gun. Don’t shoot it in the house because those little bits of potato are hard to find. We have a 2 inch plastic ray gun that makes great sound effects and oddly has worked for years. I have a wooden katana and various instruments of garden destruction which could be deadly. I also have a lot of beach rocks and fossils, also fairly deadly, and other things. I’d rather not use any of these ever. Ok, I chased the 4 point buck out of the front yard with the baseball bat twice because he’d jumped the back fence and was eating my roses, but he’s allowed the run of the back yard. I was really mad at him.
We have to get past the fear based timorous culture, because it is making people crazy. Who are you most afraid of? In high school my daughter states, “Well, young white males with guns are the ones most likely to come shoot us, so that is who we should be afraid of.” That’s a sad, sad statement about the US culture.
It’s about shacks on a lake in Ontario. My grandparents and family built the shacks and I’ve been going there since I was under a year old.
However, my sister died of cancer in 2012 and there was a horrific family battle over my niece. My mother had already died. My father died 13 months after my sister and left the same will as my mother. Unfortunately it was written when I was a minor. I cried when I read it because I was the only person named in it who was still alive. I knew what my father wanted, or remembered what he told me. A will is a will though. I took it to an attorney and followed her interpretation.
Then I was sued by family regarding the niece.
I knew what my father wanted but he had not done it. So I decided not to fight it and handed over half the estate. Because even though my father wanted me to watch over his granddaughter, he had not left me the tools. And she did not want me.
So back to the shacks. It’s the side of the family that brought in all the lawsuits. I have not felt welcomed there nor loved since my sister died.
Part of me is furious that I am being hunted out, unwelcomed, wants our grandparents to curse them.
The other part points out that I have already been hunted out, effectively. I stopped trying to take my children there because I couldn’t tell who in the family was “neutral” (basically not talking to me) or “gossiping” — the rumors re me trying to harm my niece were incredibly painful. I had to let her go.
After my father died I dream that I am issued a huge SUV, black. I am to go pick up three children. When I arrive, two are teens: my two. The third is a toddler. My niece is really the same age as my daughter, but not in the dream. In the dream, they tell me, “You can’t take the toddler. You don’t have a car seat.”
I say, “Can I go get one and come back?”
“No.” they say.
I say, “Please, can I borrow one? I didn’t know I needed it! I was issued the SUV!”
“No.” they say. “You can only take the two teens.
So I took the two teens and left, crying.
I woke up and thought: my father’s will is not my fault. I did the best I could. I followed an attorney’s advice and I tried to do what my father wished. I did not have the tools I needed.
Now my children and I may get an offer to buy our share of the land. My children are ready to be bought out.
I do not know if I am. I feel like this is the last connection with that side of my family, not only the living, but the dead. I love the land far more than the silent living and the cruel living. Why are families so cruel and why do they need enemies so badly? Gossip is a sin, truly, and hurts. Selling my share is saying goodbye to my sister, my mother, my father, my grandmother, my grandfather, my two uncles, my aunt. I don’t mind saying goodbye to the cruel living nearly as much as to my dead.
I went to Portland to meet my daughter, when she was up visiting friends. I stayed with one friend for two nights and then picked up my daughter and took her to another friends’ house. They currently have an empty garage apartment.
My daughter was supposed to fly out Thursday, but the 10.8 inch snow dump happened on Wednesday night. My friends are on this road that is mostly gravel and steeper than it looks in this picture.
The tracks that you see are driveway. The line in the trees is the road.
My friend has a pickup and chains and left for work at 6:30. My daughter and I put my chains on my Scion, and tried the hill. We blew the left chain off twice and the right one was mostly off as well.
That was probably a good thing because her plane was cancelled and there were accidents all over town.
We spent 2 hours and 30 minutes on hold with the airline and got her rescheduled for Saturday at 11:30.
She left the next morning with my friend in his truck. He dropped her at the metro and she stayed with friends who live close to the airport and are on the metro line.
My friends and I tried my chains again on Saturday morning. B blew one chain off too and we figured that a link had to be locked in a certain way. He drove up the driveway and we followed in the truck. He drove along the road until we were down to where chains were not needed. I thanked them all and headed out. Down the road a little there were three more abandoned vehicles: a truck with chains on and two cars. There were still patches of ridged ice on the 405 bridge. It took from 10 am to 12:22 to get back to Washington State! So hooray for chains and friends!
I am watching a four part video from the UK about illness and trauma.
The first part is about how trauma memories are stored differently from regular memories. Regular memories are stored in files, like stories in a book or a library.
Trauma memories are stored in the amygdala and often are disjointed and broken up and have all of the sensory input from the worst parts, including the emotions.
The therapist is talking about healing: that our tendency is to turn away from the trauma, smooth it over and try to ignore it.
However, the amygdala will not allow this. It will keep bringing the trauma up. And that is actually its’ job, to try to warn and protect us from danger!
The therapist counsels finding a safe time and place and safe person (if you have one) and then making space for the trauma to come back up. One approach is to write out the story, going through that most traumatic part, but not stopping there. What happened next? Writing the story and then putting it aside. Writing it again the next day and doing this for four days. As the story is rewritten and has an ending, even if it is not a happy ending, the story is eventually moved from the amygdala to the regular files. People can and do heal. They may need a lot of time and help, but they can heal.
I am not saying that four days of writing stories is enough. That is one approach, but nothing works for everyone and people need different sorts of help. There are all sorts of paths to healing.
In my Family Practice clinic I would see people in distress. With some gentle prompting and offering space, they would tell me about trauma and things happening in their personal life or work life. Things that were feeling so overwhelming that they could not tell their families or friends and they just could not seem to process the feelings about it. I would keep asking what was happening and give them the space to tell the story. Many times when they reached the present they would stop. There would be a silence. Then I would say, “It seems perfectly reasonable that you feel terrible, frightened, horrified, grieved, whatever they were feeling, with that going on.” And there was often a moment where the person looked inwards, at the arc of the story, and they too felt that their feelings were reasonable.
I would offer a referral to a counselor. “Or you can come back. Do you want to come back and talk about it if you need to?”
Sometimes they would take the referral. Sometimes they would schedule to come back. But nearly half the time they would say, “Let me wait and see. I think I am ok. I will call if I need to. Let me see what happens.”
When a person goes through trauma, many people cut them off. They don’t want to hear about it. They say let it go. They may avoid you. You will find out who your true friends are, who can stand by you when you are suffering. I have trouble when someone tries to show up in my life and wants to just pretend that nothing happened. “Let’s just start from now and go forward.” A family member said that to me recently. Um, no. You do not get to pretend nothing happened or say, “I wanted to stay out of it.” and now show back up. No. No. You are not my friend and will not be. And I am completely unwilling to trade silence about my trauma for your false friendship.
Yet rather than anger, I feel grief and pity. Because this family member can’t process his own trauma and therefore can’t be present for mine. Stunted growth.
People can heal but they need help and they need to choose to do the work of healing.
This song is a darkly funny illustration: she may be trying to process past trauma, but the narrator doesn’t want anything to do with it. And he may not have the capacity to handle it. He may have his own issues that he has not dealt with. And maybe they both need professionals.
Refugees welcome - Flüchtlinge willkommen I am teaching German to refugees. Ich unterrichte geflüchtete Menschen in der deutschen Sprache. I am writing this blog in English and German because my friends speak English and German. Ich schreibe auf Deutsch und Englisch, weil meine Freunde Deutsch und Englisch sprechen.
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