Category Archives: Epilepsy

#amwriting: the ‘e’ word #epilepsy

As many of my regular readers know, my husband and I share five children, all adults, two of whom have a seizure disorder.

Both my daughter and son were diagnosed with epilepsy when they were well into adulthood. Both have been hospitalized with severe injuries, but while our daughter’s journey with the seizure disorder has been relatively trouble free for the last ten years, our son has not had such luck.

Daughter 1 responds well to the medication and rarely has issues. Son 2 has had trouble getting his medication regulated, and his high stress lifestyle has often interfered with his ability to stay on track.

In conversation, as soon as folks hear the word ‘epilepsy’ they begin armchair prescribing cannabis, as the new cure-all for seizure disorders, and while the CBD end of the cannabis spectrum does have a miraculous effect for some patients, it is like any other medicine—it is not useful for everyone. My children are among those who do not benefit from it.

A ketogenic diet may help, but again, not every type of seizure disorder responds to this diet. However, it doesn’t hurt to try it, and so we are.

Surgery is an option when a cause for the seizures is clear and operable, but for most patients, there is no discernable cause. My children fall into this group, and until a more efficient type of brain scan is available, MRIs and EEGs remain inconclusive.

Epilepsy is caused by a range of conditions that are not well understood, and it is one of the less popular afflictions for research. The way it is treated is to throw medication at it until they happen on one that works, rather like Edison trying to invent the lightbulb.

At times, epilepsy rears its ugly head like Cthulhu rising from the depths, and when that happens life goes sideways for a while. The last two months have been difficult in many ways. I have been unable to focus on creative writing, although writing for this blog has been a lifesaver.

Revisions on Billy Ninefingers (a novel set in the same world as Huw the Bard) are going slowly, although I still hope to publish him in September. The first draft of my new (and as yet unnamed) series, set in the World of Neveyah (Tower of Bones), is on and off—sometimes more off than on.

This is just life, just the way stuff happens.  All is not lost. The creative muse will return as it always does.

Three weeks ago, my son had a partial seizure while cooking, and burned his right hand. He then spent four days in Harborview, the regional burn center for the Pacific Northwest. The burns are situated in such a way they are not good candidates for skin grafts, so they are healing slowly. In the process, I have developed some mad wound care skills. For perhaps another week or so, my son is staying with us as he is right handed and the wounds are in tricky places. Soon, he will be healed enough to tend to his own wounds and will go back to his own home.

The real story is, despite the wounds and temporary setbacks, life has been amazingly good. Healing is progressing. We have spent many hours playing Stardew Valley and sitting on the back porch talking and laughing about everything imaginable. This has been a good experience in ways we have found surprising. We have discovered we are not only family, but we are also friends with so many things in common.

This is why the old saying about clouds and silver linings is true—with every ill wind, something good has come along to offset the bad.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Epilepsy, writing

#FlashFictionFriday: Tomorrow will be better

Morning came

Along with the bandages and healing,

Along with your frustration and helplessness.

Morning came

And I, as your mother, tended your wounds.

You didn’t ask for this burden.

You didn’t do anything wrong.

You didn’t cause epilepsy.

Tomorrow will be better.

Tomorrow your wounds will be healed

Even if your ego isn’t.


Tomorrow Will Be Better, © Connie J. Jasperson 2017, All Rights Reserved

Photo credit: After a great sun rise, Photographer: Simon Eugster, SSA CCA 3.0 Licence: {{GFDL}} via Wikimedia Commons

If you or a loved one are suffering from a seizure disorder, the Epilepsy Foundation has resources for you http://www.epilepsy.com/

Leave a comment

Filed under #FlashFictionFriday, Epilepsy, Poetry

#amwriting: Drawing on Life Experience

Writers, even dedicated, passionate ones, have lives outside the confines of their craft, and while it frequently derails our ability to write, it is also where we find the realism we need to inject into our work. Life must come before writing because writing doesn’t pay the bills unless you are one of the fortunate few.

I have several family members with serious health issues. Sometimes, I must step away from the keyboard and be the wife, niece, mother, or grandmother they need and you know what? My writing is better for it.

I nursed my mother, with whom I had a complicated relationship, through the last year of her life. She had smoked until the age of 42, and was addicted to perfumes and air-fresheners. She was a self-described clothes-horse who loved expensive cologne and used it liberally.

Even after her death, after they had been laundered and dry cleaned, her clothes still smelled strongly of her brand of Estee Lauder’s cologne.  In her home, she had a Glade plug-in in every outlet, and the spray bottle of Febreze in her hand at all times.

She died of lung cancer.

During her last year, we spent four days a week at the cancer center, and the rest of our time with me caring for my frail mother as if she were my baby. It was difficult mostly because watching someone you love slowly die is the worst. My sanity during that difficult year was made possible because of writing. I wrote 260,000 words during that year, some of it good, some of it off the rails. Much of the experiences of that year are unconsciously referenced in my current writing. It is the part of me that goes into each tale.

It was a devastating year made more difficult by my brother’s mental illness and drug addiction. Yet, that same year was made richer by the strange friendship that developed between me and my mother. All the many things that had stood between us and which had seemed so important were set aside and never addressed. This was because, in the face of her final battle, the hurts of the past just did not seem that important to me. We began to enjoy being in each others’ company, enjoy the quiet of an afternoon, or the bustle of a Starbucks. The ‘F’ word that some of us find so hard to say, forgiveness, became such an easy thing, and when she died, I had lost a friend as well as a mother.

On this blog, I’ve discussed the way epilepsy has affected my two of my adult children, and how our lives are affected by witnessing their struggle. Many hours have been spent writing in hospitals, and this last weekend was no different. I am there when they need me, and when they are ready to stand on their own, I allow them the space they need to do just that.

I have also mentioned how having an eccentric father with battle related PTSD forged my need to escape into books and inspired my writing. Some of us have survived the alcoholic parents who did their best, but dealt with an addiction they denied having. Every writer deals with family issues and experiences, both good and bad, and we are a composite of all of them.

Every time our heart is broken, every time we feel that glorious rush of infatuation, and every time we stick our foot in our mouth or must eat humble pie—these moments should find their way into our work and emerge as characters with real emotions, people who live and breathe and feel real to the reader.

Life in all its glorious beauty and ugliness fuels my writing, and I am not alone. We authors take what we know and reformulate it into something we can live with. In some ways, hope drives my writing. The fact I have hope allows me to write about things that are painful. I find that the fullness of life and the occasional emptiness of despair are easier written about when I set them in an alternate universe, and wrap it in a story that embraces the emotions, even though the story doesn’t parallel my life directly.

I’m like the character in a long, brilliant and sometimes bad, novel. My life is a mix of great joy, romance, helpless sorrow, extreme anger, and faith in the future. I hope your life is balanced as well as mine is, with the good outweighing the bad. This maelstrom of life experience is the well we draw from when we are creating our characters.

4 Comments

Filed under Epilepsy, writing

#epilepsy: Life in the Fast Lane

Albert Bierstadt - Autumn Landscape PD|100 via Wikimedia Commons

Albert Bierstadt – Autumn Landscape PD|100 via Wikimedia Commons

We have two adult children with epilepsy. Both were adults when they had their first seizures, with no prior warning signs.

Our daughter’s first serious seizure was at the age of 29. She has only been hospitalized once with serious injuries, and her medication controls her seizures well. She doesn’t like that she has it, but it doesn’t rule her life, and only rarely causes her trouble.

For our son, it hasn’t been that easy. He was 32 when he began having seizures. He has had more difficulty with his, both in accepting it and in getting it under control. Since the first major seizure, he has woken up in the hospital with serious injuries many times, not knowing how he got there.

Two weeks ago, our son had a breakthrough seizure and fell in a concrete parking lot, fracturing his skull. He had a severe concussion, an epidural hematoma, and lost a liter of blood.

This son is a software engineer and an entrepreneur. He was employed by Amazon for ten years, and was well compensated during his tenure there. He had just started his own company, writing software. He was completely focused on this, and was working 12 to 16 hour days, and getting little sleep, which is very bad for him.

But being who he is, he didn’t realize he was courting disaster.

We live two hours south of where this son lives. We got the phone call at 4:30 pm and threw our clothes into suitcases. Running out the door, we called a hotel near the hospital, and made the nerve-wracking trip up Interstate 5 to Redmond, Washington.

During the harrowing journey north, we discussed his possible long-term care, wondering how he could survive such a terrible injury with his intellect intact, wondering how we could care for him if his motor skills were too severely compromised.

But in a four-hour surgery, a wonderful neurosurgeon not only saved his life, but saved his quality of life. He emerged from the experience with no brain damage, and no loss of motor skills.

Our son’s head-injury was the same sort of thing that killed actors Ben Woolf and  Natasha Richardson. When you look at the way head head-injuries can kill otherwise healthy people, our son’s recovery is a miracle for which we are grateful.

Something intriguing happened with this incident. Our son has embraced life in a way he never has before. He woke up from the surgery in an incredibly different frame of mind.

Instead of wondering why this wretched condition has happened to him and focusing on the negativity of his situation, he is now looking at his life and appreciating it in a way he had not really done before.

When he left the hospital this time, his epilepsy was just something he has to deal with sometimes, and the rest of the time his life is good. His spirits are high and his recovery has been nothing short of miraculous.

If you couldn’t see the large wound on his head and the long, curving line of  stitches, reminiscent of a baseball seam in the way the long scar curves around his temple, you would never know he had undergone brain surgery only 12 days ago.

He is full of energy and ambition, and though he does tire easily, he will soon be back on track and moving forward with his current project which he intends to have on the market before January.

Sometimes, we find ourselves going for a spin in the blender of life. We never know what will happen next, and we have no control over how life affects us. But through all of this, the community of our friends supported us, and faith carried us through the dark hours when we didn’t know what his future would be.

There is so much worse out there–things that make this epilepsy thing pale in comparison. We are praying for a dear friend in Australia whose young daughter is fighting for her life, dealing with terrible complications of flu-b, necrotizing myositis. Her prognosis is grave, and  I know her parents are living in that land of fear and disbelief that I lived in for 24 hours.

We are supporting another friend here in the US, who is undergoing yet another surgery for kidney stones. What we have been through was scary, no doubt about it, but thanks to a wonderful neurosurgeon, it was nothing in the face of these ongoing life and death battles.

Epilepsy is a bitch, but it doesn’t have to rule our lives. Seizure incidents are inconvenient, and yes, we know they will occur when we least expect them. They can and will have a seriously negative impact on us. We know that the next time may not have such a good outcome but we can’t let fear ruin the joy and beauty that we have today.

The real news is not that our children have epilepsy–it is what happens the rest of the time.

We have five adult children with great careers and bright futures, two of whom also happen to have epilepsy.

8 Comments

Filed under Epilepsy, Humor, Uncategorized, writing

Strapping the Monkey to the Typewriter and Selling His Work

0000-9780857863782At times, creativity seems to fail. We’ve become bored with the work we’re doing and need some new thing to spark that creative genius lurking deep within our coffee-addled brains (or wine-soaked, as the case may be.) An infinite number of monkeys strapped to IBM Selectrics, industriously typing out Shakespeare could do better.

For myself, the way to beat this is to write something, anything–even if it doesn’t pertain to my major work in progress. The best part of being an indie is that you can write in whatever direction the mood takes you.

And that is how Huw the Bard  came about. I was supposed to be working on Forbidden Road, but I had become bogged down. NaNoWriMo came along and Huw grabbed me by the imagination and away we went.  This jump-started my mind on the other book too, so I wrote on both books for the next year. Forbidden Road was finished, edited and published in 2013

Now Huw the Bard has been published and I am working on Valley of Sorrows. In the meantime I have to find ways to publicize my work, and since we just acquired a hefty car payment, it must be affordable. (As in CHEAP.)

google plus iconIn other posts I have discussed the importance of getting Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest, Facebook and Google+ profiles created. You must also have your Author Central profile put together on Amazon and one for Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and any other major online place you sell your works.

Today, I want to say that Facebook is fun, and a great place for a free launch party. We had a great time with that, and I do think it helped sell books.  But you need a sustainable place to put your work, and Facebook is no longer that great a venue for selling books.  I’ve had better luck through blogging, if the truth be told.  My good friends helped get Huw the Bard off the ground with their blogs and tweets.

Also, Facebook won’t allow your posts to be seen by many people unless you pay them. They call it ‘Boosting’ the post. I have done that on occasion, and  for 30.00 I sold 3 books.  That is a terrible return on investment.

tsra-button-01I was directed by Aura Burrows, who writes the hit series, “The Cold” on www.BigWorldNework.com, to an interesting and free website run by a friend of hers. It is called The Story Reading Ape Blog and I have gone to the “contact me” page and followed the instructions. It is free, and Chris is awesome as a person–he is very sincere about helping indies get their work seen. I will keep you posted as to how that goes for me, and if you want to try it yourself, please feel free to click the link and go for it.

There are many venues–blog hops,  paid ads on Goodreads and Google–all of which I will be doing over the next year. Paid ads are tricky–the ones I can afford are not that big or prominent so perhaps they aren’t a good investment. However, there are many affordable indie book websites who will sell you ad space for $30.00 to $50.00 a whack–a sum that is doable for me if I give up Starbucks for my craft.

So now begins my real push to get my work out there–to make it visible so readers will see it and want to know what it’s about.  I have to push Tales From the Dreamtime as well as Huw the Bard, because I have that wonderful narrator, Craig Allen, depending on me to sell our audio-book! I’m selling a few books here and there, but I’ll be posting about which venues were most successful as the year progresses.

The real trick will be to get the work out in the public eye without spamming and alienating my friends.

 

5 Comments

Filed under Books, Epilepsy, Fantasy, Literature, Publishing, Uncategorized, writer, writing

2013 – Huh – Look at that!

472px-Judith_Leyster_Merry_TrioThe WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog, which I looked at and said “Huh. Look at that.”  Though it didn’t really tell me a lot, it was interesting and I loved the shiny picture (at the bottom of this page.)

But it got me to thinking about the year and what my personal favorite posts were. In looking back, I realize my favorite posts are not the ones that detailed my personal life, but are the posts dealing with the craft of writing. Still, the things we struggle with on a personal level are the things that form us as writers–me more than anyone, perhaps. They seem to have been the more popular posts, which surprises me.

For me, the year started out with a round of bad health, and in an effort to turn it around, I became vegan.

Vegans and Version Control posted 04 January 2013

That worked to a certain extent, and now a year later, I am still a Reluctant Vegan. I don’t miss meat, as it has never been that important to me, but boy do I miss the cheese. (sigh.)

MSClipArt MP900390083.JPG RF PDEpilepsy. A scary plunge into the unknown if ever there was one.  The  ‘e’ word  appeared 24 February 2013. I have two children who developed seizure disorders as adults, and they have each handled this frightening change in their lives differently. My daughter handles it the way she does everything–she accepts she has it, takes the medicine, and goes on with her life. Other than the first one she suffered which put her in the hospital with broken bones in her face, her seizures have been milder than my son’s. His seizures, when he has them, are severe, and he has been hospitalized three times this year. Each time, it was because he had not accepted his condition and was not obeying dr.’s orders. I am pleased to report that has changed. Sadly he is unable to drive until February 2014–but with the positive way his treatment is going it looks like he will be cleared to drive at that time. In the year since I wrote ‘The e-word‘ he has made a complete turnaround and is fully committed to managing his disease.

Train_wreck_at_Montparnasse_1895Hard on the heels of that major change was the acknowledgement of my dysfunctional family, and dealing with loved ones who suffer from crippling addictions. That was my emotionally draining post, Trains that Go Bump in the Night, posted 25 March 2013. That situation has also seen a major turnaround, with some really positive results. There is still a lot of pain, but the low point seemed to get my brother’s attention too. He is back on track, and with his jail time behind him and a good attitude. He is working a good recovery program, with an honest desire to be truly happy.  He is doing well, and while our relationship has been forever changed by this terrible ordeal, we have mended some fences between us. I was deeply touched to discover through all of this just how many people have lost loved ones to this terrible addiction, and even more importantly, how many have regained some sort of normalcy.

If there is a Hell, Meth is the devil.

But the positive side of all of this is that because I am unable to really face the reality of my crazy existence, I managed to complete the first draft of Mountains of the Moon. YAY!!!  The End Is Nigh, posted 28 March 2013 detailed the strange reluctance I felt to actually  finish the book and let go of my characters. It was hard, but now the book has made it through the second draft and is in the hands of the beta readers.

Due to bad health, I spent many hours on Facebook, killing time when I should have been writing. Face book–A Squirrel Ran Through It posted on 6 June 2013.

BIF Blog Print ScreenThanks to having surgery and being sicker than a dog for the entire summer, I also read a lot of books and blogged about them on Best in Fantasy, my weekly book review blog.  I thank God for all the amazing and wonderful writers out there who fire my imagination and keep me plugging away at this craft. Someday I hope to have written a tale that is considered a “Best in Fantasy” tale–it is something to aspire to and work towards.

Over the course of the year I wrote many technical pieces, on everything from how to format your ms for print, to how to create a clickable table of contents for your e-book, to how to effectively use WORD, and how to–>oh, dear…Grandma’s sort of a know-it-all and she’s not afraid to tell you about it. Are you listening? There will be a test.

I published a novella, Tales from the Dreamtime, a small book of three short-stories which I think is some of my best work to date, short pieces though they are. I also had two short stories published in a children’s anthology, Christmas O’Clock. I was privileged to be included with some high-powered authors like Shaun Allan and Alison DeLuca, along with Irene Roth Luvaul, Mary K. Mitchell, and Nicole Antonia Carro. That is some heady company!

My Coffee Cup © cjjasp 2013All in all, 2013 was a good year, with the misery being more than balanced by the joys. My suspicion is that people who don’t know what it is like to suffer don’t appreciate the true beauty of life.

It has been a hard year, true, but through it all I had the joy of grandchildren, the love of my husband, the support of my dear friends and the beauty of art and music to surround me. I have rediscovered my gratitude — both for the bounty I enjoy, and the people I am privileged to share my life with.

May your new year bring you joy and prosperity and the ability to appreciate them. May you have the good health to enjoy them, and may your imaginary friends never stop talking to you!

 

6 Comments

Filed under Adventure, Battles, Books, Dragons, Epilepsy, Fantasy, Food, Literature, Music, Uncategorized, Vegan, writer, writing

Flung Poo, or the Tao of Fantasy

fire MH900370240What the heck is it with this particular thread in my personal time stream?

Last week my stove went mad and tried to burn down my house. The self-cleaning function went berserk and my husband had to shut it off at the breaker as it wouldn’t shut off on its own. That was the last straw for that particular appliance. We decided to bite the bullet and raid the savings to purchase a fancy new one, with a convection oven and everything.

This week my son had another tonic-clonic seizure and ended up in the hospital, but he’s home and doing well again. This time he was taking his meds faithfully, but they need adjusting, so we are working with that. In the meantime I am staying at his house north of Seattle off and on until he’s back to feeling like being on his own again. So no driving for Dan, which is a bit difficult, but not impossible.

The republicans in the United States Congress went off their meds and made decisions that put my husband partially out of work. Heck, no worries, we still had a couple bucks in our savings after the stove, so it’s all good. (Bastards.)

He doesn’t work for them, but his job is federally funded, so there you go.  Well of course CONGRESS will still be paid, so no worries, struggling homeowner! This agony must be happening for some good reason…after all, reasonable people would never…oh, right. Never mind.

Between  the conservative  crack-pots in the US Congress and the twists and turns of fickle fate, I need an escape! Boy, am I grateful to have so many affordable and great indie books  to read and a great tale of my own to write!

children of the elementi ceri clarkOne of my all-time favorites was re-released this week: Children of the Elementi by UK author Ceri Clark.

The Blurb:

From the ashes of an ancient empire, five must save the future. 

Jake: Last in line to the Elementi High King throne, sent through time and space to be brought up in an alien world, he has no knowledge of his past. 

Mirim: As the caretaker of the mysterious Citadel which hosts the dying crystal mind of the Matrix, her air power is the only link to the old world. 

Kiera: A Romani foundling with growing powers over nature, she is searching for a better life away from her criminal past. 

They must find the other two heirs and reunite all their elemental powers over earth, air, fire, and water together with the Matrix to defeat the Empire that conquered their parents. 

With a fire demon on his trail, can Jake bring together the last of the Elementi in time?

meteorite_bombardment via www dot indiana dot eduOh yeah!  Grandma’s all about the magic! I loved it the first time I read it, and I’m reading it again!

There is nothing like the zen of a good book in my kindle, and a cozy corner of the sofa to curl up and escape the chunks of falling sky.

I’ve been around this world for a long while. I know everything will right itself and we’ll all be back on track: the oven, my son, and the US government. Life is amazing and when it’s all good, its awesome, so I’ll just sit here with my glass half full, reading a good book and ignoring the things that are transient in the overall scheme of things.

2 Comments

Filed under Books, Epilepsy, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, Uncategorized, Vegan, writer, writing

Dinosaurs Among the Birds

200px-Hippie_bug!_(1043753793)We go through life and things happen. Friends drift apart and then we drift back together. When we meet again, we are all so curious about each other’s lives and where the road has taken us, curious about the visible changes and not-so-visible ones. Forty-odd years ago we were young and wild, determined to carve our path in the world and desperate to get on with living. We were tired of the war, tired of politics, and tired of being told what to think by media controlled by pin-headed men in suits. We were tired of congress selling us out.

We were going to change the world.

250px-Woodstock_posterWe did change the world, but not exactly the way we naively believed we would. Even though we were unable to solve all the problems we wanted to, we did manage to make some positive changes. Unfortunately, we were too few, voices shouting in the wind.

And now we are somewhat jaded. The country is still divided, big money still buys votes. Congress is still selling out, and the media is still owned by pin-headed men in suits. There is always a war somewhere, and it is never done with.

We cling to our belief that we will see positive changes, but we don’t believe we will live long enough to enjoy them. But change is inevitable, and it will happen, even if, like Moses and the promised land,  we stand on the opposite shore and see only what yet may be.

My old friends and I are not exactly who we were in those wild days. Now we are an amalgamation of everything we once believed would happen and everything that really happened. We are people who survived Reaganomics, who survived raising children through the MTV years. We held down three part-time jobs because trickle-down economics didn’t really trickle down the social ladder to our rung, and we had kids to feed. We survived the Bush years with some of our dignity intact, and didn’t fold under the “you’re with us or you’re against us” propaganda designed to shut us up.

194px-LennonWallImagineWe are jaded, but we have hope, we old hippies; we old women and men who are dinosaurs among the birds of the modern, hyper-connected world. We still believe the world can be a better place for everyone. The difference is now we know we can change the world…just not in the way we thought we would.

Now we put our money where our mouth is, donating to charities and spending our retirement years volunteering in schools and hospitals. We do it in small ways, chipping away, and little by little we have a positive effect.

We lost the battle to make the world a simpler, kinder place. Our parents won the war with their firm, 20th century belief that only through technology would mankind benefit, and that somewhere  was a miracle drug just waiting to cure every disease known to man.  It just hadn’t been discovered yet.

We were conquered, despite the struggle to keep it simple. We old hippies now embrace the technology and make it ours, because we must either adapt or die, and I am not ready to die. We are a wired society, and we old people have the luxury of a little free time and occasionally, extra money.

Writing is my opportunity to live in the world as I would like it to be, and it is my chance to get away from the war, from politics, and from crazy family issues. Adult children with complicated epilepsy issues, grandchildren having babies too young (did they learn nothing from my trials and errors?) –writing is my escape.  And when I am not reinventing the world, I donate my time and money to advancing humanity. My husband and I give to charities, both locally and internationally.

I support creativity and free-thinking on a local level. I volunteer as municipal liaison for NaNoWriMo. I encourage people from all walks of life, and from every point of view to write. It doesn’t matter to me if we agree politically or not. Everyone has a story to tell. Some stories are real and incredibly moving, and all they need is the skill to tell that story the way it should be told.

Generic-180x180They can gain that skill through participating in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. Children and schools benefit year round from writing programs sponsored by this organization. November is coming, and for me November is the busiest month of the year. I will be meeting and getting to know many new people, and I will be writing the framework for a new novel.  For one month, thousands of people will be too busy writing to spend their evening in front of the electronic altar, being fed mindless pap in the form of ‘entertainment.’ Instead, they will entertain themselves and find they are so much more than they ever thought they could be.

With every new story that is told, the world opens its eyes a bit more, seeing more possibilities. There is more awareness that we are not islands disconnected from society, cocooned in our dark living-rooms unable to look away from the poorly crafted mind-porn we are force-fed to fill the void.

I am an old hippy, I admit it. But I am water, wearing away at society’s monument to ignorance, helping  the world learn how to tell its story one person at a time.  

Andreas_Achenbach_-_Felsige_Küste

4 Comments

Filed under Battles, Books, charity, Epilepsy, Fantasy, Food, Humor, Literature, Uncategorized, Vegan, writer, writing

Life Goes On, Maybe

Office Workers Clapping at Office PartySometimes you are going along just fine, flying like the wind and living the dream. Everyone loves you–you are riding high. Then the gods of perversity decide you’ve been having way too much fun and decide you need another one of those little reminders of your own mortality.  Perhaps you said something that offended someone, perhaps you didn’t say something you should have.

Perhaps you were less than kind when you should have been generous.

It appears to be an unfortunate fact of life in our society that when someone in the public spotlight appears to enjoying their success too much (Paula Deen, Frank Gifford), the carrion-eaters gather about them, waiting for them to stumble, plotting their downfall, desperate to be part of the feeding frenzy that is sure to follow.  That which passes for ‘news’ at 6:00 is frequently little more than juicy gossip and holier-than-thou finger-pointing by people with something to gain from the debacle. To me, the personal failings of public figures is not news, it is a terrible glimpse into someone else’s life that I wish I had never seen. People do wrong all the time–how can that be news? It reminds me of my mother and my Aunt Jo gossiping at the kitchen table about some neighbor caught with their pants down.

Eye on Flat Panel MonitorTo me, the real news isn’t that even famous people do cringe-worthy things.  The real news is on a more global scale. The real news never gets any airtime, because the real news-makers have the power to see to it that the populace is spoon-fed pap like who used the ‘N’ word (which is most certainly NOT cool) or who has been cheating on his wife (also not cool.) While I agree these are not good things for anyone, much less respected public figures, to do, I simply feel it is gossip and not news. This is the sort of thing that better belongs in scandal-rags like People or The National Enquirer.

In the US we have a free-press.  This means what you see on the television is what the big corporations want you to see, since they own the press, and it ‘s a free country, after all. We hear little of the real news, mentioned only in passing, such as the recent proposal for a  regulation by the European Parliament and of the Council. This proposal regulates the production and availability on the market of plant reproductive material (plant reproductive material law.) (Seeds.)

What this proposed law says (quoted from The Real Seed Catalogue):

The law starts from the premise that all vegetables, fruit and trees must be officially registered before they can be reproduced or distributed. This obviously is a major restriction on seed availability, as there are all sorts of costs in both time and money dealing with the bureaucracy of a central Plant Variety Agency. Then, after making that the basic rule, there are some exceptions made in limited cases:

  • Home gardeners will be permitted to save and swap unregistered seed without breaking the law.
  • Small organisations can grow and supply unregistered vegetable seed – but only if they have less than 10 employees
  • Seedbanks can grow unregistered seed without breaking the law (but they cannot give it to the public)
  • There might be easier (in an unspecified way) rules for large producers of seeds suitable for organic agriculture etc, in some (unspecified) future legislation – maybe.

There are also clauses that mean the above concessions could be removed or reduced at any time in the future without coming back to the Parliament for a vote.”

MH900438728Who benefits from this law? Only the ten largest seed companies in the world, who also just happen to be the largest pesticide producers in the world.

1.Monsanto (US)
2.DuPont (US)
3.Syngenta (Switzerland)
4.Groupe Limagrain (France)
5.Land O’ Lakes (US)
6.KWS AG (Germany)
7.Bayer Crop Science (Germany)
8.Sakata (Japan)
9.DLF-Trifolium (Denmark)
10.Takii (Japan)

Source: ETC Group

Variety in our seed crops is an absolute must, if we are to have strong, healthy sources of food. Genetically modifying crops so they are resistant to certain chemicals (patented, produced and sold only by these companies) and creating a monoculture food chain is not beneficial to the world, no matter how these companies proclaim their charitable desire to feed the world.  If they truly did care about that, they would not be trying to put the small farmer out of business. If their motives were truly as benevolent as their propaganda declares them to be they would be supporting and encouraging small farms, not putting them out of business and destroying entire cultures.

I leave you with this quote from the Daily Mirror–oddly enough I did find ‘news’ in a newspaper!

MH900438718“The social impacts of large-scale monocultures are often disastrous for communities who continue to grow local foods using sustainable practices. Small-scale farmers often cultivate local species which not only contain important minerals for the soils and for human health, but also have adapted to the local environment over many years.

When small-scale farmers are confronted with industrial large-scale monocultures in their area, they are faced with water and other resources shortages, contamination from pesticide spraying and from GMO crops.

The takeover of land by monocultures also causes rural depopulation, destroying local community life and local economies. Monoculture plantations usually provide only temporary labour, for which workers are often hired from outside the region. Land grabbing and forced evictions of local populations are strongly linked to the expansion of monocultures.”

This, to me, is the real news.

I leave the gossip to the corporate news giants who cultivate it as a way to divert our attention from the true threats to our existence, and to those who find pleasure in watching others fall from grace.

2 Comments

Filed under Adventure, Books, Epilepsy, Food, Literature, Vegan, writing

Java and Imaginary Heroes

EspressoOnce again I am preparing to get in the car and trundle up the highway. Going north to Snohomish.  Gotta love that town!  They have a great new coffee shop, Rock City Cafe, where the owner roasts the day’s coffee every morning. I like to go there and write in the evenings.

As a true northwesterner, I love the artisan coffees we have available all up and down the Puget Sound.  When I am in Olympia, I go to Batdorf and Bronson coffee roasters for the ambiance and the brew.

The hard part of all this traveling is being away from my home and my husband. But, as with everything, we are committed to helping our kids as well as we can.

We have a Blended Family, three from my previous marriages and two from his. Together we have three daughters and two sons. Daughter 1 is 39, Daughter 2 is also 39, Son 3 is 37, Son 4 is 35, and Daughter 5 is 29. All but Son 4 have provided us with lovely grandchildren, two of whom are providing us with great-grandchildren.

Spike-wavesOur kids don’t need monetary help, but, as I have written before, two of them have epilepsy. The oldest by 3 months, Daughter 1, has seizures that have only once progressed to the Tonic Clonic stage.  Hers are more a matter of her going away for 3 to 4 minutes and then picking up right where she left off.  Her new meds are working perfectly with no allergic reactions, and if her EEG continues to look good, she will be able to resume driving in August. But right now, she needs help getting around as public transit does work well for where she needs to go. I go north every other week for 3 days and babysit her 6yr old and try not to be the pain-in-the-arse mother-in-law.

Son 4 is unmarried. He has seizures that manifest themselves in the Tonic Clonic form. Since his last episode he is doing really well.  The fact is, he doesn’t have them if he simply takes his meds. He has them if he doesn’t.

He is on board with his neurologist and is taking his meds.  His EEG looks good too! He has excellent public transportation where he lives, and is well enough employed he could take a cab to work if he chose to. I only need to drive him when it is something complicated.

We are fortunate to live in a time when the medical community has achieved some progress in both understanding this array of conditions we call epilepsy. My family is fortunate that there are effective medicines they can take that don’t turn them stupid, and that they aren’t allergic to.

We know this condition that two of my children share is from their father’s side, as our other 3 children don’t show any symptoms. Their father’s side of the family was quite secretive about some things, and with good reason. As a society we are only now emerging from the Dark Ages when it comes to epilepsy, just within the last 20 years.

Even though I hate the drive, I love being needed. Daughters 2 and 5 and Son 3 don’t need help, so my participation in their lives is by invitation only. I respect that, and encourage it, as I have my own life, and know what it is like. Nevertheless, when your children are well-grown and living productive adult lives it is easy to lose that feeling of being connected to them. That can devolve into a feeling of loneliness and self-pity.

I am so NOT that mama.

In my early twenties I dealt with in-laws who couldn’t let go, and who made my life a misery, so I could never do that to my sons-in-law.

My Coffee Cup © cjjasp 2013Fortunately for them, I have my imaginary friends, and my fantasy life so I don’t really have time to hang around moping and feeling neglected.  The minute someone comes home to take The Boy off grandma’s hands, I am out the door!

Grandma has a coffee bar to go to, and four hunky, although quite imaginary, men who need to be told what to do! Leave the door unlocked, she’ll be staggering in about the time they shut the place down for the night.

Yes.

I’m THAT kind of grandma.

9 Comments

Filed under Adventure, Books, Dragon Age, Epilepsy, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, writing