Monday, March 21, 2011

"I can bear anything as long as there are books"

I've read thousands of books.

I think this one might have been the best.

And here I am, still alive, still in the world. It's my intention to carry on being alive in the world, well, until I die... I'll live, and read, and have friends, a karass, people to talk to. I'll grow and change and be myself. I'll belong to libraries wherever I go. Maybe eventually I'll belong to libraries on other planets. I'll speak to fairies as I see them and do magic as it comes my way and prevents harm- I'm not going to forget anything. But I won't use it to cheat or to make my life unreal or go against the pattern. Things will happen that I can't imagine. I'll change and grow into a future that will be unimaginably different from the past. I'll be alive. I'll be me. I'll be reading my book. I'll never drown my books or break my staff. I'll learn while I live. Eventually I'll come to death, and die, and I'll go on through death to new life, or heaven, or whatever unknowable thing is supposed to happen to people when they die. I'll die and rot and return my cells to life, in the pattern, whatever planet I happen to be on at the time.

That's what life is, and how I intend to live it.

Jo Walton, Among Others.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

This is why I like Malort

I had a Little Too Much Fun this weekend and came down with my fourth upper respiratory tract infection this winter. It started with a scratchy throat and progressed overnight to a fever that had me stumbling deliriously through the grocery store yesterday, lost in the tea aisle. The fever broke early in the morning, but I was up most of the night feeling like there were hot charcoal briquettes lodged down in my pharynx. I remember dreaming about going to clinic to get herbs for it, one of those fever dreams where the herbal formulae book was more like a potions book from the Potter-verse, full of moving text and ingredients like blue dragon eggs and moondrops. I showed up for my clinic shift but my throat was too swollen to talk and I didn't want to infect my patients, so I left them in the hands of my senior partner and made myself this potion:

From the left to right: honeysuckle flowers, forsythia seed pods, burdock fruit, leopard lily root, Chinese puffball, balloon flower root, woad (indigo) plant and root.

This formula, yin qiao ma bo san, "Honeysuckle, Forsythia, and Puffball formula," dates from 1798's wen bing tiao bian, the Systematic Differentiation of Warm Pathogen Diseases.

The ingredients are primarily antipyretic and antiviral (i.e. they clear heat toxins), with about half of them being indicated specifically for swelling and pain of the throat. Balloon flower root dries phlegm and helps prevent the infection from descending into the lungs by expanding the chest and raising the lung qi.

The herbs are decocted for 20 minutes, strained, then decocted again. The strained decoction is taken three times a day between meals.

It tastes like grass and dirt, and the puffball spores give it a gritty texture, but it should resolve the infection within a couple days.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I'm going to a support group for people experiencing chronic pain tomorrow.

maybe it will help.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

no help for that

It turns out
that the areas of the brain
by intense love
the same areas

that drugs use to reduce pain.

Arthur Aron, Stanford University, coauthor of the love and pain study.

Love is natural
and real
but not
for such as you and I.

Steven Morrissey

Monday, October 18, 2010


being in a relationship with a neurotypical is a constant battle between resentment and self-loathing. I can push myself past my limits trying to keep up with him, and then be crippled for days, or I can stay in my safe zone and feel bitter and left out. either way, I still end up sobbing myself to sleep at night, wishing I could have my body back. wondering when the statute of limitations runs out on this lucky streak.

I have to swallow so much of my bitterness; if I let even a tenth of it escape my lips I risk driving him away with my negativity. I can't let him know how much I need him. it's not just the simple logic of love=endorphins and therefore decreased pain. it's that he doesn't know what it feels like not to be loved. the misery of years and years of believing myself evil, foul, cursed, crazy. how much it hurts to think of what it would be like if he were to leave.

there are times when I can't stop crying and he holds me til I calm down and all he can say is that I should relax. I don't know how to relax when the fear that it will always be like this comes upon me.

I would never wish this on anyone but I wish he could just for one minute feel what it's like for me. living every day with this pain and weariness and the soul-crushing fear of being left out. left behind. left alone.

I wonder if I will ever really let go and trust him to stick around. I hope so.
I guess only time will tell.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

amazing quadruple happiness heart and liver tea!

Dear herb nerds,

Today I bought some pretty brown dried flowers labelled he huan hua at the Vinh Hoa herb shop. I mostly bought it because it looked so cool in that giant jar right in front of the cash register, and had such a lovely fragrance, but I also loved what the owner had to say about it.

"It's good for your heart. it will make you relaxed in your heart." She said the same thing about reishi (and was dead on), so I couldn't resist. After looking at it closely and reading the Bensky entry I decided it is actually ye huan hua, the cocos magnolia flower. I am very happy that it not albizzia flower, though, because OMG it smells amazing. like childhood memories.

I went home and made this amazing quadruple happiness heart and liver tea from the giant pile of herbal teas in my cabinet.

Try this:

equal parts ground reishi mushroom,
crushed magnolia cocos flower,
Chinese rose (rosa chinensis) or tea rose (r. rugosa),
peppermint or field mint.

steep in a warmed teapot with boiling hot water for 10 minutes. can be steeped several times.

while the result will be slightly different depending on which kinds of rose and mint are available, here you have a lovely comforting tea that nourishes the heart, and moves heart and liver qi and blood. It's pretty balanced in temperature, containing two neutral, one warm and one cool ingredients; It smells like waking up in a garden. It boosts the immune system and makes your breath smell nice, too!

If you can get rosa rugosa it would probably be great for distressing menstrual complaints. If you can get the super secret wine fried reishi it will be warming; same if you use spearmint. I'm sure it could be further tweaked by adding lotus stamens or lily bulbs to make it cooling but I think it's kind of perfect as it is.

Just thought I would share.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Free Wheel

I am sitting in a basement playroom with three men, aged 22, 25, and 29. They are playing Contra on an old Nintendo and we are drinking homemade brown ginger beer.

I've been on vacation for a month. School starts tomorrow.

Today my boyfriend helped me tune up an old French mixte racing bike I got at a yard sale. I've been riding an old Schwinn fixed gear with fashion wheels for a couple years. I've got my current bike set up more like a European city bike as opposed to the aggressively traffic taunting track bikes that have given fixies a bad name. I mostly have stuck with riding fixed because of how much control I have at slow speeds, which is really handy for a klutz like me in the snow and rain and permanently eroding Chicago streets.

A few months ago I changed neighborhoods. My new place is on the top floor and full of light. I am so happy to be able to see nothing but sky out my windows, but the extra
mileage and extra stairs have my leg muscles feeling like old crumbly rubber

After M trimmed my new bike's bars and redid the brakes and derailleurs, I did a lap around the block. It took me a while to get used to the pedals not moving when I stopped pedalling.

Life's been too good to write about without sounding schmatlzy. It scares the crap out of me sometimes. I keep waiting for the catch. I get a little bit closer to being able to let go and relax and be happy.

Sometimes it feels so good to stop pedalling and just coast.