Herbs for fibromyalgia (and other chronic inflammatory diseases)

More herbal goodies I’ve been working on.. Also getting ready to do a block of editing on my first novel to hopefully *gasp* put it ‘out there’ sometime in the near future. 🙂

Herbs for fibromyalgia (and other chronic inflammatory diseases).

Ravenson Reagents

My life changed about 2 years ago.  I began to realize that the ‘normal’ aches and pains of being a woman in her late 30’s weren’t all that normal.  A lot of other people my age weren’t feeling the same things I was.  Furthermore, those ‘normal’ aches and pains were getting a lot worse.  They were beginning to affect my mood, my energy level, and my ability to cope with ‘normal’ life things like stress and sleep.

I talked to a friend who has fibro, and found that a lot of my symptoms were very much like hers.  So I went to a doctor, who ran blood tests to rule everything else out.  She did.  We were left with fibro.  And here I am.

It’s been a tough road trying to learn how to manage my symptoms and keep from crashing and burning.  I’ve learned that meat is bad, sleep…

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Ostara feast menu

I was going to have better pics, but I used too much Veganaise on the potato salad, and Bear got creative with purple food coloring on the eggless frittata.  We’re still working on tweaking recipes for a book I’m working on called The Vegan Pagan.  🙂

Ostara Feast:
* Baby spinach salad with strawberries, mushrooms, sprouts, sunflower seeds, and a tahini/miso/strawberry dressing (I’m calling it Persephone dressing)
* Eggless tofu frittata with vegan sausage, onions, tomatoes, and vegan cheese
* New potato salad with green beans, green onions, Veganaise, and tons of dill

Dessert:
* Bubble green tea with coconut milk

image

Spinach strawberry with Persephone dressing

Happy Ostara everyone! 🙂

I used to do this sort of thing..

I love writing.  I feel really comfortable writing.  But I was SO good with visual art too.

I actually participated in several collaborative art projects, and even had a piece displayed in an exhibition.  It was called ‘Do not fold, spindle, or mutilate’, and all the participants were sent an old-timey punch card, which we altered.  I cut mine up, added copper rings to reattach everything, beads, yarn, a twig, etc.  It was really pretty, and I got a lot of positive response from it.  One woman said that mine was her favorite out of the 250+ cards there.  Sadly, I can’t find the pics online anymore, but oh well.

I also did a lot with 1001 journals, which seems to be defunct now.

At any rate, I’m thinking about visual art a lot lately.  This video struck me, especially.  It’s time to dig out some of my sketchbooks and good pens.  🙂

Apple butter from the food goat’s test kitchen

So what screams Autumn more than apples?  Nothing.  Nothing whatsoever.

Every year, the bear and I drive to Ellijay, GA and hit up a few of the apple orchards there.  Usually we just come home with some cider to ferment, but this year, I had an idea.  I wanted to make apple butter.  And holy shit did we buy some apples.

After doing some Internet research, I found that Winesap apples are supposed to be really fabulous for making apple butter.  Unfortunately, a friend said that the Winesaps were bitter this year, and after tasting them, we agreed.  However, we weren’t discouraged for long.  We decided to get 4 varieties of apples and see which one made the best butter.  Here are the contenders:

Red Delicious (which we paired with Kraken rum)

Red Delicious

Red Delicious apple

Gala (which we paired with a rich, deep chocolate stout- and I also neglected to take a picture of)

Granny Smith (which we added cinnamon schnapps to)

Granny Smith

Granny Smith Apple

Mutsu (which was added to Grand Marnier)

Puck prefers Mutsi.

Mutsi apple

My basic recipe was this:

1/2 peck apple of choice
2 cups turbinado sugar
1 cup booze of choice (except for the stout, which I used 1 1/2 cups)
3 tsp cinnamon

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It took us about 3 weeks to finish all the apple butters, with a side foray into pumpkin butter as well.  (I’ll try to get the recipe from Bear, as that was his baby)

They were ALL delicious.  What I found was that the type of alcohol used made very little difference, but I still feel like it needed some sort of boozy twist.  Maybe that’s just because I’m Irish.  The stout added the tiniest bit of earthiness, but it was very, very subtle.  And the cinnamon schnapps, which I thought would definitely show up, just blended in like the others.  As far as the apples go, it depends on what you’re looking for.  My favorites were the Red Delicious, which became super sweet, and the Granny Smith, which retained some of their acidity and was a bit more appley tasting.

If I had to choose one to do again next year, I would have a hard time choosing.  I would either do Red Delicious with the stout if I was looking for something sweet and syrupy, or the Granny Smith with any liquer for something more fruity tasting.  One thing to note is that the Granny Smith melted down into goo easily, while the Red Delicious kept their shape and had to be pureed longer in the food processor.  I thought it would have been the other way around.

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Bear’s Pumpkin Butter

“I like roasted it, and added some stuff.”

*facepalm*

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Our poly is not like your poly

I was invited to march with the Vancouver Poly...

Vancouver Polyamory group in the 2011 pride parade (Photo credit: theslowlane)

I’ve hinted at some of our dating activities in this blog before.  Anyone who knows us well knows that Bear and I love each other like crazy.  Anyone who knows us REALLY well knows that some of that love spills over onto other people on occasion.

Polyamory, for those who haven’t heard the term, is the notion that a person can love more than one person at a time, and can have serious relationships with more than one person as long as there is open honest communication.  It’s that open, honest communication that distinguishes polyamory from cheating, which involves lying and sneaking around.  Also, it’s the loving relationship part that distinguishes polyamory from swinging, which is mostly about having sex with others, but not necessarily any emotional attachments.

Man, I wish we were just swingers.  Life would be a lot easier if we were swingers.  The problem is that Bear and I both tend to get attached.  So we have trouble with the notion of casual sex or friends with benefits.  In fact, we’ve gotten attached to the wrong people (together- we always date together) more than once.

It would be fine if we could mitigate that damage by dating several people, only getting and giving small portions of attention/emotion, but that’s just not the way it goes for us.  We just do better seeing one person at a time, and giving them all of us.

This is why our poly is not like the poly of others.

I always thought that polyfidelity was our ideal.  With polyfidelity, the group consists of more than two, but it’s closed to dating outside of the group.  I always thought we would end up with a third, and I’ve chased that.  We’ve had some success, made some really close friends, had our hearts shredded, but we’ve always come out of it stronger than ever because our commitment to each other has never wavered.    There’s always the hope that that one person who ‘gets us’ exists, but we haven’t had any luck finding that yet.

So we went the other way and experimented with more casual dating.  It was nice, but left me feeling like I was just one of a crowd for the other people involved, and kept me from really investing any emotion.  I’m a rather serious person when it comes to relationships, and if I’m not investing, I eventually get bored and wander off.  Great sex isn’t enough to keep me involved for very long.

So where are we with all this?  Honestly, as much as I dwell on it and wonder what it takes to make it work and where I’ve gone wrong, I’m finding myself very bleh about the whole thing.  I don’t know if I even want to bother dating anyone right now with all the writing/health issues/work issues/holidays coming up/insert other excuse here.  And Bear barely gets involved anymore, even if things are really promising.  I think he’s just tired and expects the inevitable split, so why bother?

I’m certainly not jaded about love and relationships.  How could I be with my amazing Bear here to remind me how insanely good things can be when you find the right person?

I guess I’m just taking a break.  That is, until I get bored one night and start browsing my favorite dating sites again.  Then it’s on like Donkey Kong.  The truth is that Bear and I are too boy crazy to stop looking for long.  😀

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Health issues and the drive to have fun, dammit!

So, we recently went through another bout of health scares here in the Ravenson household.  What a great way to pull my head out of my ass and put everything RIGHT back into perspective.

Long story long:

I went to the ER for chest pains and trouble breathing.  It’s not really new, I’ve been having chest pain for about a year now.  The breathing trouble IS new however, and it freaked me out.  I had an EKG, blood tests, and a chest Xray and all checked out fine.  I was told to schedule a stress test, which costs $8000-$10,000 with a $1000 deposit.  Thanks, but I’m poor and uninsured, so if there’s something wrong I’ll just die tragically thankyouverymuch.

My snazzy outfit.

While I was there, waiting to be discharged, Bear had what can only be described as ‘an episode’.  It’s happened a few times.  He got the cold sweats, got dizzy (room-spinning dizzy), and began throwing up.

Since we were there, I asked the nurse if she could take his blood pressure.  She said she’d need to check him in first, and since he’s had all the heart issues, we both thought that was a capital idea.  So they checked him in.

They ran the same EKG, blood tests, chest Xray, etc.  They didn’t come back OK, but that’s to be expected.  He has 4 stents from a previous heart attack.  So we found that his heart function is about 40%, which we knew already.  (Believe it or not, NORMAL heart function is only about 60-70%.)  The doctor was concerned with the damage to the heart muscle that was still present, and they decided to keep him overnight for observation.

I stayed with him.  My chest hurt, I felt like shit, but I wanted to be there regardless.  He’s my Bear, after all.

While we were there, he mostly slept while I mostly brooded, wrote, and brooded some more.  It occurred to me that we just aren’t those people who are going to live long, healthy lives.  We aren’t going to make it to 80.  We aren’t going to spend our golden years rocking on our front porch.  Chances are, the Bear will die earlier than most other people.  My dad passed at 57, and his mom passed in her early 50’s (54 I think), so it’s not unprecedented.  I’ve also had health troubles my entire life between the leg perthes, surgeries, adenomyosis, more surgeries, and now fibromyalgia and costochondritis.  While none of these will kill me, my quality of life just isn’t what it should be.  There’s always this pervasive background pain and the worry that it brings.  So, when the Bear is gone, I’ll likely choose to follow him.

I realize that’s all kind of sad, but it is what it is.  These are the lives we’ve been given.  On the plus side, it means that we need to have fun while we can.  I want to start making some more money so that we can travel.  I need to get him to New Zealand at some point, and dammit, I want to get to make my Scotland/England/Wales trip before I’m too hurty to enjoy it.  I also want to get my novel edited and published, so at least I can say that I’ve put something of myself out there.

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On that note, a few days after we left the hospital, we had a chance to go to the county fair.  We got to see cows and goats and chickens, and we ate a shit tonne of fried foods.  Granted, that’s probably just hastening the inevitable, but it was also part of enjoying the experience.

Nighttime view

Can't remember which ride this was

fewds.

Cow.

Sometime next week, we’ll be making our annual pilgrimage to the apple orchards in Ellijay, GA.  We usually have a great time moseying up through the mountains, and we’re hoping to bring back enough cider to ferment and enough apples to make apple butter for Yule gifts.

Life is fucking short.  We WILL enjoy ourselves.

Liam’s playlist

Liam is a minor character in my books so far, though I intend for him to have a larger role at some time in the future.  I find myself fascinated with him lately, possibly because his patron deity is Cernunnos, and I’m feeling very drawn to Cernunnos right now too.  (Maybe because it’s nearing Autumn, maybe because I have a lot of male energy in my life right now, who can tell?)

English: Gundestrup Cernunnos Français : Gunde...

English: Gundestrup Cernunnos Français : Gundestrup Cernunnos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I envision Liam, I tend to see Jonathan Rhys Meyers, but a bit scruffier.  Not so pretty, a bit more masculine.  But he’s young, Irish, sexy, and has a bit of an ego to go with it.  He assumes that he can charm women into giving him what he wants, and he’s usually right.  Vine doesn’t trust him because of that, however, and he grudgingly respects that he can’t manipulate her.  I may add more details later.

Jonathan Rhys Meyer

Jonathan Rhys Meyer (Photo credit: NIKON__D200)

LIAM’S SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

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