“Ha Ha, Your Potentially Fatal Disease is HILAIR!”…

I love Teh KellieJane so much.

Princess of Swords

…is what I hear when y’all make gluten jokes. That’s because I have celiac disease, & am not on some trendy, totally misguided diet.

“Celiacs can’t touch this!” 

I talk about fibromyalgia a lot. I published abookof my experiences with it & I have an entireblogdevoted to it. I don’t talk about celiac because, I realized a few days ago, it’s the one thing I’m actually kind of sensitive about. And then I realized it’s because it’s the one disease (or rather its only treatment) that the first world makes fun of all the time. Constantly. Without end.

I empathize with why you do. The type of people that go on & on about gluten are exactly the type of people everyone hates. They end to be upper class white people who also rabbit on about eating raw, locally sourced, fair trade, cruelty free everything…

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Allergies, I’m Coming For You

Spring allergies are hitting, and every year they seem to hit harder than the last (at least for me). It actually makes me sad to see winter go now, which just sounds wrong, doesn’t it? Last year, I actually told friends that I was determined to get allergy shots as soon as the current season died down, and that if I started making excuses for not getting them, to smack me.

Yeah, well, now I’ve changed my mind. Smack away, I guess. I’ve decided to try a few more things before shots; mainly because I just don’t have the wherewithal to commit to a weekly or more visit to a doctor’s office (especially the office of the last ENT I went to, which has to have one of the worst waiting rooms I’ve ever been in). Allergy drops would be a great alternative, sure, but I can’t find anyone here that offers them. And for every tale of miraculous healing from allergy shots, there are also plenty of cases where they were just one big time/money suck with little or no benefit.

So, here’s my current plan of attack:


1. Daily neti pot rinses

First thing in the morning, even before coffee (hey, I said I was serious about this), before the sneezing can really get going. It rinses out whatever dust or pollen I’ve breathed in that have been trapped in my nostrils, before they can cause any more trouble. I use the little salt packets from the drugstore, because they’re idiot-proof and you really don’t want the salt balance to be too far off if you want it to be comfortable. And, after some scare in Louisiana where people died from some infection they got from using tap water in their neti pots (and after relentless insistence from my mother), I only use distilled water for it.

Some people really freak at the thought of running a stream of water through their nose on purpose, but it really doesn’t have to be unpleasant at all! I’ve found ways to make it completely discomfort-free, and quick and easy to boot. Plus, when your nose is all irritated, it can actually feel pretty soothing. If you think a neti pot would help you but just find the whole idea too scary, drop me a comment and I’ll do a separate post about what works for me.


2. Master Tonic

I got some of this fiery vinegar a couple of years ago when my cousins made some and were raving about it, and noticed that my sinuses seem generally less ragey when I take it regularly. So I made some myself a few weeks ago, and now take a spoonful after doing the neti pot… followed with a spoonful of honey to put out the fire, because OY. And since I’ve got a spoon out anyway, might as well take that some of that cod liver oil I keep forgetting about in the fridge. The Master Tonic seems to cut the fishy-oiliness of the, er, fish oil, and no fishy burps later (almost always desirable). So: neti, then fish oil, then Master Tonic, then honey, then a glass of water. All in all, not a bad way to wake up one’s mouth in the morning.


3. Nettle and Quercetin

I read about these when I googled “natural allergy remedies“. For reasons I can’t remember, but were surely very reasonable, I decided to get these two first before trying others like Butterbur. Probably because nettle and quercetin were things I’d actually heard of and I thought there was a chance I could find them locally. (I couldn’t.) I started out taking one capsule of nettle the night I got it, and then increased to 2 caps the next morning. Soon afterwards, my throat started to feel kind of itchy, like I was a bit allergic; not to a panic-inducing degree, but enough that I kept an eye on it. It went away after a few hours and hasn’t returned, but I wonder if it was a sort of innoculation response, like how you can feel a little almost-sick after getting a flu shot.

I’ve only been on these a few days, so we’ll see how it goes. But I’m already thinking how awesome it would be to just go outside and pick some nettle (which is a local weed IIRC), and get a tincture made with it. No shipping!

image from https://healthyeatsforus.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/opinionated-diets-paleo-and-vegan/

4. Cutting Dairy

This one makes me sad. I love dairy. LOVE it. Milk (whole, please), butter, cheese, yogurt, omg yes please all of it. Ice cream was a both a meal course and a food group when I was growing up. I still want it to be, really. But my sinuses don’t like it, and when my sinuses have had enough they start poking around inside my head with a fireplace poker. So I’m going to try to appease the ungrateful little bastards by giving up dairy for Lent/allergy season. And yes, I expect to get double credit, because WAH.

5. Probiotics

This one wasn’t really on my radar, but I was listening to a webinar the other night (part of the Primal90 Sessions, which are in encore mode this week) and since I’m kind of taking a “throw everything at it” approach right now, and since probiotics probably need to be part of my bigger health plan anyway, and since the talk was so good (it’s available at http://primal90sessions.com, but probably not for long – you do need to provide an email address) and since I just ordered some anyway…. well, let’s see what happens, shall we?


6. Cleaning

We’re scraping the bottom of the barrel here, aren’t we? Yep, you know I’m getting desperate when I bring up the C word. Sure, I’ve got a purportedly decent air purifier, and I’m getting better about cleaning the filter on it and putting new filters in for the air conditioning, but let’s face it: I have 3 dogs and 2 bunnies and 1 cat and about 400ish square feet up in here. (Okay, the bunnies and 2 of the dogs are downstairs or outside. Usually.) And then there’s the yarn. And the fleeces. And also the yarn. And did I mention I have a cat now?

I also have a pretty good vacuum cleaner. It’s just that it needs floor space in order to roam freely. A Roomba in my home would quickly become frustrated and acquire sentience in order to escape and give birth to SkyNet. It’s not Hoarders bad, but it could certainly go that way if one isn’t careful. Hence my enthusiasm, back in January, for this decluttering project. I did it, and it wasn’t overwhelming, and my kitchen area is SO much better now. I just need to find a way to apply that approach to the rest of the place, and sadly the geniuses who put that program together have neglected to set a month or two aside for the “Yarn Pit” area that every home surely has. Tsk.

For now, my latest accomplishment in this area is to locate the broom and decide on a place to keep it, where it can live forever and ever, instead of resting wherever I used it last like some hobo on a bench. And, more importantly, so I will know exactly where it is when the odd, rare, unnatural urge to sweep strikes, because it does happen. No really, it does.

7. Meds

These are the last resort, instead of the first as they’ve been in the past. Side effects, and the desire to be awake and alert for several hours each day, have led me to this drastic measure. I still have them, and I’ll take them when I have to, but I’m doing all these other things first as preventive measures. The only thing I haven’t found a way around are the anti-itch eye drops. I don’t know exactly which allergen causes it, but whatever it is, it makes me want to pull a Fish Mooney and literally scoop my own eyeball out with a spoon. But then I would take it to a golf course and put it in a ball washer to clean it off, and then rinse my empty eye socket out with a hose before putting my eye back in. I wouldn’t step on it like Fish did, because I’m not crazy.

So, I’m looking forward to seeing how I get through allergy season with these measures in place. The cedar trees have already started up, so it’s already pretty unpleasant, but then I’ve only been doing some of these things for a few days; apparently you’re supposed to start a few weeks ahead of time. Oops. Oh well, I’ve only had to take drugs for it once so far (after grooming the bunnies, which is kind of asking for it even if I’m not allergic to angora). That’s definite progress, I think. And I still have the options of Butterbur, more serious cleaning, and possibly giving up eggs if I think this isn’t enough. Wish me luck, and tell me about your own war on allergies!

I Didn’t Always Love Wool. True Story.

There are a lot of reasons why people in the South don’t wear a lot of wool. When it gets down into the 20s, like it will tonight, it might be a good time to take a fresh look at some of those reasons. 😉


A big one is the perception that wool is hard to care for. You can’t just throw it in the washing machine and dryer, right?* For some busy families, that right there is a deal-breaker. For others, it just sounds like another needless hassle. It can’t possibly be worth the trouble… can it?

As a wool convert, I’m here to tell you, it can.

Continue reading


1079709_10201573555445235_929949558_nSo I had this little project bag with a half-finished pair of socks in it. The other day I finally decided to open it up and finish them, since I remembered being almost done.

I opened the bag to find I’d only done ONE sock. Ugh. That one was done except for the toe, though, so I finished it and started on the 2nd sock. And then I started thinking, “Hey, there doesn’t seem to be enough yarn left here for a 2nd sock.” But I shrugged it off, because I’m always amazed by how far sock yarn can go. Plus, I was having fun. I’d forgotten how addicting just knitting plain old socks can be. (This is not necessarily counting the part where I unconsciously switched directions and ended up having to tink back several rows of 2×2 ribbing.)

But the small amount of yarn left kept bugging me. I weighed it all together – the 1st sock was 30 g, leaving 20 g for the 2nd, which obviously wouldn’t work. Is that why I’d stopped before finishing the 1st sock, lo those many moons ago? Where was the other 50 g ball, since I definitely remembered buying 2? When had I last worked on this project, anyway? It couldn’t have been a whole YEAR… could it?

For my first 2 pairs of “real” socks (knit, not crocheted, and with sock yarn instead of worsted, and no of course crocheted socks are real socks too, I’ve just decided that I prefer mine knit, YMMV) I had used some yarn I’d bought previously which hadn’t worked AT ALL for the intended project, and which had ugly pooling to boot. Think mottled tan and blue leopard print. But I’d made good use of it by squeezing not one, but TWO pairs of wearable learning-experience socks out of it. Had I done the same here? That didn’t seem likely, especially since the one finished sock had a nice longish leg and nice tight gauge, unlike the blue leopard socks which were more like ankle socks with a loose gauge to use up less yarn. Gah, what the hell HAD I been thinking, anyway?

Tentatively, I dipped a toe into the stash. I have a big bin just for wool and wool blends that are sock or lace weight, or other weights that have less than one full ball left. Organization!

It wasn’t in there.

Oh well, I thought, it’ll turn up. Probably long after finishing the 2nd sock with some leftovers I’d found, a dark gray and a light gray that might just work… but without the red, I knew it really wouldn’t. But it wouldn’t be that big a deal, right, because the missing red stripes would be on the foot, where my shoes would cover them up anyway. Never mind that the leg part of my socks never gets much exposure anyway, since I tend to wear them with jeans. Let’s face it, my socks are for ME, not for looking fly for other people.

By the time I got to the heel flap, I couldn’t stand it any more. I dove into the stash, determined to find that 2nd ball of yarn in whatever form it might have taken – whether it be a pristine, center-pull ball straight from the store, an unholy mess of yarn barf, a neatly rolled regular ball, a partially worked experiment or swatch and OMG I THINK I KNOW WHERE IT IS BECAUSE I REMEMBER SWATCHING FOR IT FOR THAT SCARF OMG WHY DO I ONLY REMEMBER THIS NOW THAT I’VE GIVEN UP AND AM WRITING ABOUT IT!!! OF COURSE IT’S IN THE SWATCH BIN, THE ONLY ONE I DIDN’T CHECK OMG I FAIL SO HARD.


I didn’t find it. As noted above, I checked every single bin, basket, bag, and drawer (even some that had no business having yarn in them at all – see, I am capable of SOME discipline in that regard). I didn’t find it anywhere.

I did, however, find the other sock.


Inside The Beast, I Mean Barn (pt. 1)

Are you ready for a tour of the inside of the barn? Don’t be scared. I’m right here with you. We’ll take breaks. And it won’t take long. I mean, it’s not that big a barn.

Don’t be such a wuss. I’ll push you if I have to.

First, the entrance. We’ll go in here rather than messing with either of the garage doors. This way we only have to spend a second on the first floor, where it’s really, reeeeeeally scary.

In fact, this very spot is where I used a shovel to kill an enormous spider. Okay, her egg sac was enormous. And this is where I found out what happens when you smash a spider with a ready-to-pop egg sac. (Hint: not what I was expecting, i.e., smushed spider. Thank God I had used a shovel instead of my foot.)

And upward!

Cripes, we’re not even inside yet and I’m getting the willies. Onward!

To think, I used to like this color.

Okay, this isn’t so bad. I mean it’s rough, it needs work, and that little turn in the stairwell has potential for creepiness because you can’t see around the corner, but really, this isn’t scary. I mean I’m not into horror movies or anything, but – Yawn. And I don’t know what the maroon walls are trying to say, exactly, other than, “Ohai ur in a college town,” which… well, let’s just say there’s a lot of maroon in this town and leave it at that.

So, back to trudging up the stairs…




Wait. What in the HELL is that on the ceiling?



. . . . .




No! Don’t run. You only give him more power when you do so. He wants you to lose it. He wants you to freak out so badly that you fall back down the stairs, breaking your neck or at least spraining something pretty badly. Okay, maybe just a broken fingernail.

What is it? I think it’s a failed apparition of Edvard Munch, is what I think. Everybody else says water damage, but then they can’t explain why water would do this particularly creepy thing, now can they? Anyway, I named him Crazy Eddie.

And he won’t be here much longer, so let’s throw him a bone, so to speak. I mean look at him, he’s obviously trying here. Here, you can use one of my broken fingernails. I can’t grow them for shit lately. Just leave it on the steps. If he doesn’t want it, maybe the baby spiders can use it for something.

Barn pics

Just a few progress (such as it is) pics from the iPhone. The really gnarly “before” shots of the interior will be revealed, I promise. When I’m less headachey.

Renovation fatigue has reached stage… well, I don’t know, because I keep forgetting to google it. But it’s reached a new and more serious stage, one where I really just want to be somewhere else.

If I’d known it was going to take this long, it’d be a bit easier to handle, I think. At least I could have put (or lobbied to put, since I lack the fundage) some of my stuff in storage. By which I mean better-than-a-barn storage. Heh, that wouldn’t be a bad name for a storage company. Especially in these parts.