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I have been having water dreams lately. Lots and lots of water dreams for weeks, I think. Water dreams are strange things for me. They have always been portents of huge and significant changes. And generally not good changes. They are always similar in character. I am by the ocean and the waves are huge, engulfing everything, and I am trying to survive, to push through them, to stave them off. Doesn’t take a Jungian dream analyst to figure that one out, does it? What I know for sure is that they are certain predictors of something big happening. Generally, how I am able to survive in the dream indicates the level of intimacy with which the change will affect me, but not always. Sometimes, there are people I know with me in the dream, and they are usually impacted in real life whenever the change comes.

So, another water dream last night, coming on the heels of yesterday. Yesterday sucked. I won’t really go into why yesterday sucked. Suffice it to say that it did. BIG TIME. I am hoping today will be better. Hope springs eternal.

Ex-Pat has endocarditis and septicemia. He will be in hospital at least until Friday. According to my readings on the Internet, this is scary stuff. Really scary stuff.

The Internet can be your trusted friend or that devious individual on the street corner hissing to you that the world will end soon and he will take care of your pets when the rapture comes.  When too much information on one topic is available, it is easy and hard at the same time to pick what you are going to believe. I read that septicemia is the same as sepsis, and that the odds of survival are about even. I read that it wasn’t, and that the survival odds are about 90 percent. I read that endocarditis can cause strokes, and that he’d have about six months to live even after recovery. I didn’t read anywhere that he would pop out of his hospital bed on Friday and start romping with the lambs. And what I heard him say last night, when I pointed out to him that without getting treatment he would have died and pretty darn quick at that, was that maybe that would have been better, as his daughter is the only thing he has to live for. (Which to me is a huge reason to keep living.) But he’s lost his will. He’s in too  much pain to walk, and they don’t know why. Things are looking bleak, to say the least.

I think I will try to talk to his doctor to get the full scoop, as he is too doped up to tell me much. Then at least I can share what is real with Kelsea, who comes home today.

On the other hand, I am still at his house, and it is filthy. Filthy. Just disgusting. Even though I said it is not my job to clean this place, and I know it isn’t, I am going to do so, enlisting Kelsea to help, so she can see what clean is, and how to make things that way. I can’t let her live in a place that is like this. In clearing off the kitchen table, I found receipts from 2009. And that was probably the most pleasant of my finds. I remember he was always mad at me because of all the paperwork in the house that I never went through. Now that he’s having to deal with his own mail, and receipts, and crap, I suspect he understands, but he would never own up to it.

I may even tear up all the rugs and try to find replacements at ReStore. They will never be clean, ever, no matter what I do. I will get the handyman to come in and get the holes in the walls patched. I will try to rebuild my own sense of love and trust. I will do two jobs and manage two houses. And then I will sprout wings and a horn out of my head and become a human unicorn.

I’m being realistic.

Aren’t I?

I have a favorite Far Side cartoon:

Three old men are sitting on a porch, one with a swollen knee, one with a swollen hand, and one with a giant head. The first one says, ” Uh-oh, rain squalls a-comin’…my knee is acting up.”  The second man says,” I’d say more like a blizzard, judgin’ by my hand here”, the third man says,”Well, SOMETHIN’S happenin’…there goes my head.” Even if I could find the image, I couldn’t share it because of that little detail called copyright.

But I AM this cartoon.

Right now, I can tell that the weather – nay, the season – is changing, because of my hands.  Never mind the calendar – just listen to my hands.

I suppose I could say arthritis has run a curious maze course in my family.  My grandmother had arthritis, which only manifested in the knuckles of her hands: they became huge, knotty and twisted.  She never complained of them hurting, that I recall, but they must have.  She was a tough Appalachian woman, so she would have ignored it anyway.  She only commented that she couldn’t get her rings off.  I remember when I was small, she would take them off so I could try them on.  But there came a point where her knuckles were so swollen she could no longer remove them.

Image courtesy of http://www.wellsphere.com

And then there was my Mother.  She had arthritis – maybe.  She was unique (in so many ways) in that while she manifested all the pain of rheumatoid arthritis, none of the clinical indicators showed up in any bloodwork, there were  no outward visual signs, and no medications seemed to impact her condition. That started around the time I was in high school, and interestingly enough, first showed up in her hands.  This is suddenly sounding spookily familiar.

I first noticed my hand pain about 4 years ago.  I remember always noticing it in the morning, usually during fall or winter, when I was trying to brush and braid Kelsea’s hair. Sometimes it was so bad, it would have me in tears.  Not good. As a child, I used to manifest my stress in my stomach (and I still do to some extent, but then, I’m still a child to some extent too.) I just figured I was manifesting my stress in my hands.  Because there was enough stress in my life to fill six million Italian cream horns. It was just worsened by the onset of cold, wet, depressing, SAD weather.  So in my obtuse little brain, it all fit together.

The hand pain did improve after I moved out, and the weather got better.  My ex-flame did some smouldering acupuncture (a.k.a. moxibustion) on my hands from time to time, and that seemed to help. Th pain was always less when I was on some island – but isn’t everything better on some island?

Until this year.

I hadn’t had too much trouble with my hands this year until we went to Topsail.  I have yet to intuit what the link is.  I was in the warmth, in the water – the only thing I can think of is that we had so many storms that perhaps the changes in the atmosphere – and constantly migrating from the sweltering outside to the icy cold inside – somehow stimulated whatever the issue is that my hands have.  Back in Denver now, my hands hurt when the weather is about to change – like today, when it is grey, and warm, but I can tell that a shift to cooler air is coming. 

My hands might as well be talking for all to hear.

Today, I’ve tried Aleve, hand exercises, and really hot water. My Mother said that a paraffin bath she had on one hand early in her pain years made a difference forever – that the paraffined hand was never as sore as the non-paraffined hand. Though why they only did one, I don’t know.  And the whole thing is not exactly scientific.  For me, the hot water felt really good, but the literature says to do an ice bath.  I won’t be doing THAT at work, and if I try it at home, well, let’s just say it’s a darn good thing I live alone.  Otherwise, I’d be constantly whining for my partner to warm my hands afterwards, and sticking them on whatever of his body parts felt warmest to me – like his stomach.  Such fun for everyone.  Okay, such fun for me.

Hands aside, I have other built-in weather predictors.  The big metal pin that holds my right medial malleolus to my tibia aches like crazy when it’s going to get bitterly cold – and when it IS bitterly cold, although that’s obvious everyone.  Still it give a whole new meaning to the term “chilled to the bone”.  My fifth metatarsal and formerly broken second toes all hurt when it is going to get cool and wet.  It would be so convenient if my former concussion could determine when there’s going to be a tornado.  But maybe it does, since I don’t live in a particularly tornado-prone area. I just can’t be sure.

Image courtesy of http://www.scienceprep.org

I know I’m not alone.  Maybe someday, I’ll meet another human weathervane or bio-barometer.  And when we’re not off doing our crazy things and being passionate about the world, we can sit on our porch at laugh at each other’s swollen predictors.

I kind of like that idea.

Porch Rockers, a painting by Molly Doe Wensberg.

I can’t remember if I’ve written about my favorite astrologer before – I think I tried to, and every time I tried to link to his website, my computer would crash.  Wierd.  But I’m going to try again tonight.

I’m not generally a big fan of astrology.  It’s mostly just amusing.  I know that in the days of yore (like the 17th century), astrologers often doubled as physicians or apothecaries, and used their astrological casting skills to predict the health and gender of unborn children, the outcome of serious illness, and a wide variety of other turns of fortune.  It’s small wonder that they were considered quacks by educated lords, while being honored and respected by the lower classes.

E-Bro went through a long period of doing astrological charts for people (me included).  He cast Kelsea’s chart shortly after she was born – I wish I still had the details, and no doubt I do somewhere, as I don’t recall much about it, but the things I do remember seem to be uncannily accurate, even if they weren’t quite the things that I wanted for her in a perfect world.  But they are exactly and perfectly her.

As for me, I idly toyed with “Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs” at the peak of its popularity (in my teens).  But I’ve never been one to put too much stock in the stars, at least not in the astrological sense.  However…

Some years ago, somehow, I discovered Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology.  He seems to reach and touch and channel someplace up and away that speaks to me.  He’s so on track in his astrological parables and down-to-the-clouds advice that it’s spooky.  He’s also written a book that seems to be along the lines of www.tut.com’s Notes From the Universe.

Even if you’re the world’s biggest skeptic, I encourage you to check him out at www.freewillastrology.com.  As a little peek for my fellow Cancerians, here’s our horoscope for this week:

“In her essay “The Possible Human,” Jean Houston describes amazing capacities that are within reach of any of us who are brazen and cagey enough to cultivate them. We can learn to thoroughly enjoy being in our bodies, for example. We can summon enormous power to heal ourselves; develop an acute memory; enter at will into the alpha and theta wave states that encourage meditation and creative reverie; cultivate an acute perceptual apparatus that can see “infinity in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower;” and practice the art of being deeply empathetic. Guess what, Cancerian: The next six months will be one of the best times ever for you to work on developing these superpowers. To get started, answer this question: Is there any attitude or belief you have that might be standing in the way?”

I’m off to www.amazon.com to order both “The Possible Human” and Rob’s “Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings.”  Self-help city, here I come.

Today is Groundhog Day (first celebrated in 1887), and yes, Punxsutawney Phil did indeed see his shadow, which means another six weeks of winter. 

And so, in honor of his prediction, I offer the following:

Groundhog Pie
(6-8 Servings)

  • 1 groundhog skinned and cleaned
  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 1/4 cup green pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 3 cups brothBiscuits:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon fat
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Cut groundhog into 2 or 3 pieces.  Parboil for 1 hour.  Remove meat from bones in large pieces. Add onion, green pepper, parsley, salt, pepper, and flour to the broth and stir until it thickens.  If the broth does not measure 3 cups, add water.  Add the meat to the broth mixture and stir thoroughly. Pour into baking dish.

    For biscuits:  Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Cut in the fat and add the liquid.  Stir until the dry ingredients are moist.  Roll only enough to make it fit the dish.  Place dough on top of meat, put in a hot oven (400 degrees F.) and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until dough is browned.

    You’re cute, Phil, but payback’s a bitch.

    On a side note, Phil’s not the only weather-predicting animal who’s at work today.  In Texas, the first annual Armadillo Day is being held in West Pole. 

    Galveston is offering the second annual Penguin Groundhog Day. 

    And Alaska is holding its first official Marmot Day, per a bill signed by then-Governor Sarah Palin last year.  Perhaps that’s a fine example of her excellent leadership initiatives.


    It’s the anniversary of the opening of New York City’s Grand Central Station in 1913.  I love Grand Central – the ceiling is amazing, like walking under a starry sky, with constellations outlined. 

    The light through the windows can be magnificent – this is one of my favorite images (wish I’d taken it):

    I have fond memories of jumping in a cab and telling the driver, “Grand Central”, just as if I were in a movie.  And a stop at the Oyster Bar is always an exercise in classic romance (though I’ve never been there for a romantic visit).

    Recent diner reviews say that the service is terrible and the food is off track, but you can’t convince me that the atmosphere isn’t still worth it.

    Today marks the day that the Great Race of Mercy ended in Nome, Alaska, in 1935.  The inspiration for the Iditarod, 20 mushers and over 150 sled dogs relayed critical diphtheria vaccine 674 miles from Nemana to Nome in 5-1/2  days, a journey that ordinarily took 25 days.   One of Kelsea’s favorite books as a small child was about Balto, the lead sled dog (according to legend) in the relay.

    People and animals can do amazing things when lives are at stake.

    Nell Gwynne was born on this day in 1650. 

    Sometime whore, long-time mistress to King Charles, and a woman who spearheaded having females in female roles on the English stage, she was a witty, savvy realist who had no illusions and made no bones about who she was.  And that makes her, if not her actions, a woman to be admired.

    It’s also the birthday of Milvinna Dean, who was the youngest passenger on the Titanic (aged 9 weeks) and the last survivor, having died in 2009.  Her mother and brother survived along with her, though her father perished.  She herself died on the anniversary of the Titanic’s launch, while her brother died on the anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking.

    Kelsea and I (and E-Bro as well) have always had a fascination with the Titanic.  Perhaps many people feel such a pull, but I don’t know for sure.  I read Walter Lord’s book “Remember the Night” from the hallway shelves in my parents’ house when I was no more than nine.  Two years ago, when the Titanic Exhibition was travelling the country, Kelsea and I went to see it at the Natural History Museum in Denver.  The IMAX video made us both teary.  The staging of handing each waiting visitor an identity card of one of the passengers, yet not revealing the fate of that passenger until the very end of the exhibit, was brilliant.  The recreation of one of the ship’s hallways was a profoundly psychic experience for both of us, especially since we were alone in the hallway until a maid, complete with costume and brogue, came in.  She enhanced the effect tremendously. 

    Being able to sit in the light-outline of a lifeboat, to see one of the statues from the Grand Staircase, and especially to be able touch a piece of the ship, again brought us to tears.

    Today marks the death of Bert Parks in 1992.  Host of the Miss America pageant for 24 years, he was fired in 1979 by organizers who thought a new host might attract more viewers.  The Miss America pageant aired a couple of nights ago – I caught the last half of the parade of states – on The Learning Channel, I think, and was hosted by Mario Lopez.  While I was an avid watcher as a dreaming little girl (what little girl from the 1960’s didn’t want to be Miss America?), I’m not a fan of beauty pageants now.  But I can honestly say that this once pure American tradition has certainly become a travesty of its former self.  Poor Bert must be spinning in his grave.

    And finally, it’s the anniversary of the death of Gene Kelly in 1996 – he of the bright smile, fair voice and athletic dancing. 

    His style always felt somewhat more effortful than my dear Fred Astaire’s, but he is fun to watch.  He was incredibly dedicated to perfecting his craft, rehearsing until the wee small hours, and his “anti-tuxedo” attire contributed to making dance seem more masculine and more accessible to the film-going masses.  Of his body of work, my personal favorites are “On the Town”,

    and “Brigadoon”.

    Musicals have gone by the wayside in modern culture (and I’m sure many men are cheering about that.)  It was nice though, to have some classy, athletic role models on the screen, who worked hard and didn’t kill anyone.  How times change.

    Thus endeth the history lesson.  Hope you feel slightly enlightened.

    August 2018
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