Saturday, March 3, 2018

The People B4 Politics Parasol

I'm gearing up for the March for Our Lives walk for gun control and safety on March 24th. This is my new "People B4 Politics Parasol". I'm trying to create umbrellas with themes as I select various quotes and sayings. This one started out with my favorite "No Child Is Worth All the Guns on Earth" then I added various quips about other people issues. This umbrella is about respect and caring humans over politics and profits with a strong love theme.

I'm having so much fun. At the same time I feel like a fraud sometimes when I, myself, am often hating on certain groups of bad dog owners or unenlightened stinkers. I have a problem with people making my life miserable.

Friday, March 2, 2018

February Movie Reviews

*****  Exceptional
****    Great
***      OK
**        So So
*          Blah

Blue Jay is about two high school sweethearts, Amanda and Jim, who run into each other twenty-four years later when they are both visiting their hometown. They go for coffee at the Blue Jay then spend the afternoon and all night reminiscing about the old days. Filmed beautifully in black and white with gorgeous photography and framing . It was very heartwarming and touching, but what made this movie so great was the outstanding performances. Two actors, that's it. No frills. Really, really outstanding performances. ****

The Brand New Testament  Oh my God this was BRILLIANT! It's a Belgian movie with English subtitles about a little girl who lives in her family's apartment with her mother...and father...who is God. She narrates the story describing the control God has not only over his own family, but the enjoyment he gets tormenting humans. Her older brother, JC, escaped God's reach, but got himself killed. She gets fed up with her father's tyrannical, abusive, petty behavior and decides to escape, find herself some new apostles, and re-write the New Testament, but before she leaves she wants to destroy her father's power over humans. She releases every one's death date via their mobile devices. It's amazingly creative and the writing is superb. My first thought was this is the most perfect movie ever made, but then it got a little weird and stupid with Catherine Deneuve's love interest. The character of God is outstanding. Yolande Moreau is my new favorite actress and the sensitivity of her interpretations are really exquisite. Her face is so expressive. She was also in the movie Seraphine from last month. Every one of her scenes are brilliant especially the one where she is playing records and singing along. Totally brilliant. *****

Chappie is about a law enforcement robot with consciousness. All-star cast with Dev Patel, Sigourney Weaver and Hugh Jackman. A little sci-fi for me and disturbing scenes of "child" abuse. ***

Dreamer is about a race horse trainer (Kurt Russell) and his daughter (Dakota Fanning). When one of the race horses he was training takes a tumble and is injured, instead of shooting her, he talks his boss into giving him the horse instead of his wages. They nurture the horse back to health. Feel good, sweet movie. Beautiful scenery and horses. Great music. ***

Emptying the Skies is based on Jonathan Franzen's The New Yorker expose on the poaching of millions of migratory songbirds in Europe and the anti-poaching volunteers that investigate, find and destroy traps, and release the birds (if possible). So cruel and sad. The birds are snared in torturous, painful ways. It's hard to believe these tiny little birds are eaten as a delicacy. First, they are served with their heads still attached. Eeeeww. Who would want to eat that? And they are so tiny it's hard to imagine there is anything there to eat. ****

Foxcatcher was about an Olympic wrestler, Mark Schulz (Tatum Channing), who is sponsored by the rich yet twisted John du Pont (Steve Carrell) and the relationship he has with this pseudo father figure that challenges the relationship he has with his older brother, Dave (Mark Ruffalo), who is also an Olympic wrestler. I don't like wrestling, not fond of brooding, moody wrestlers, nor the politics involved in professional competition, but Steve Carrell's performance as that entitled yet seriously damaged lunatic was really spellbinding. I always think of Carrell as a comedian, but he really excels at drama. **

Gia  Angelina Jolie stars as Gia Maria Carangi considered the first "supermodel" during the 1970s. She is one of the first well-known deaths due to AIDS. What a waste.  ***

Lady MacBeth is about a nineteenth-century English woman in an abusive marriage. Her husband is horrid and her father-in-law just as bad. She's not allowed to go outside and is made to stand nude while her husband masturbates. The men leave and she begins a torrid affair with the stable boy.  So they can be together she begins murdering people. At first you want to cheer for her - the men deserve it, but then she takes it a bit too far. Excellent performances, sets, costumes. ***

Lore  This was really interesting. Most movies about post-WWII history are about Jewish survivors. This one was about a Nazi German family living in opulence until the day their high-ranking military father comes home, announces the war is over (not in a good way), and instructs them to burn all their Nazi propaganda and run like hell. The Americans are coming! The parents are forced to turn themselves in leaving their five Hitler Youth children on their own. Lore, is about sixteen, left to care for her sister Liesel,  twin eight-year old brothers Jurgen and Gunter, and a baby brother, Peter.  The story follows their trek across Germany to their grandmother's house through various military zones, refugee camps filled with homeless people, abandoned farms with dead Germans who've committed suicide or were raped and killed, and German country people who are all crying because Hitler is dead and claim the photos of dead Jews are fake news. The kids are filthy and starving and end up traveling with a man who has Jewish identity papers which gives them security clearance they wouldn't normally get. Lore expresses her disgust toward the Jewish man several times alternating with taking his hand and putting it up her dress. (She's confused...wartime does that to a girl.) He sticks with them anyway, helping them get food, protecting them from soldiers, killing for them, but there is some indication having the baby gives them (him) special privileges, too. It's advantageous to tell authorities he is their older brother. I kept wondering why a Jewish man would have blue eyes, but then near the end of the movie we find out he stole those Jewish papers off a dead concentration camp prisoner. I don't know if I've ever seen a WWII movie from the German perspective. It was very thought provoking and emotionally challenging, twisting the viewer between disgust and hate for the Nazis and their brain dead followers and empathy for the German children who through no fault of their own were in a very bad situation...even when they were singing Hitler songs or Heil Hitlering people.  German movie with English subtitles. ****

Mi Madre is an Italian film with English subtitles about a film director whose mother is in the hospital dying. The performances were good, lots of Italians screaming all the time, the sequencing with flashbacks were confusing, but more importantly, I wasn't sure of the point. She was conflicted with accepting her mother's impending death and the need to finish her current film, but I just didn't see the point of the movie. No great lesson to learn, no grand turmoil to overcome, a little human relationship drama but not enough to support a movie. A couple times I almost turned it off...because I didn't see the point. No point. *

Mother was one long very bad anxiety dream where everything is going wrong and you've lost all control. I wanted closure and explanation. I waited thinking maybe the main character (Jennifer Lawrence) would wake up and it was a nightmare. Or maybe it was a senseless horror movie. What I did find out later is it's some weird interpretation of the Old Testament. OK, I see some of the symbolism, but they seem very unclear so not seeing the point. It just feels confusing. Lawrence's performance was wonderful, if not incredibly irritating at the beginning with all her patriarchal compliance that made me scream out loud.  Great special effects, but the whole thing was one long weird nightmare. **

Our Kind of Traitor was about a British college professor (Ewan McGregor) who is befriended by a Russian Mafia money launderer who plans to escape from the mob. He talks McGregor into contacting the British intelligence with information to trade in hopes of saving his family from execution.  It was fine. I'm not keen on political conspiracy movies and I hate stupid titles that make it sound like some kind of comedy. I didn't find it very realistic. When they skip realism for entertainment, it only irritates me. **

Pride is the true story about the British miners' strike in the 1980s and the founding of the London Lesbians and Gays Support  for Miners who rallied and raised money to support the strikers in a little Welsh town. After being persecuted for so long by the government, media and society in general, the gays decided solidarity between all oppressed groups is the path to change and their alliance is born. But the miners don't want their support as they feel they won't be taken seriously if backed by gay people, and of course, the gays are apprehensive about giving it. Why should they support people who are the haters? Great comedy-drama about tolerance and acceptance. Excellent performances (Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy, Dominic West). ****

Seasons is a French film about the20,000-year history of animals. It was pretty fascinating and I kept asking, How did they film THAT???  The photography is beautiful. Baby animals delightful, filming techniques fascinating. But then humans showed up, destroying the habitat, hunting the animals, and making a mess of everything. Near the end I almost turned it off because it was so disgusting. Very powerful message. ***

To Sir,  With Love I can't believe I had never seen this movie before! I stood there in the library looking at the DVD cover and I thought I was having a senior moment and I had forgotten it. I think I've seen so many scenes from it or maybe it was the theme song that sticks in your head for a lifetime that I thought I had seen it. It's about a man (Sidney Poiter) who gets a job as a teacher because he can't find a good job. He's stuck teaching juvenile delinquents who are rude and obnoxious and how he overcomes the challenges of getting them to learn something. I gave me flashbacks of my teaching days and reminders what a horrid job teaching was. Very 1960s featuring all the social issues of the day. Great dancing. ***

A Woman's Life is about the life of a woman in nineteenth century France. Her parents are wealthy with a sizable estate and manor. She marries a penniless, philandering piece of shit and when she catches him with her maid, she is bullied by her parents and the priest to forgive him. When she catches him again this time with her best friend she opts to suffer in silence as she knows it will destroy her best friend's very devoted husband. Unfortunately she confesses her hatred of the lies to the priest who lectures her relentlessly to make her feel ashamed and guilty for defying God's truth. Finally the priest impatient with this woman's compliance which he claims is a slap in the face to God, tells the man himself. As the woman expected, the best-friend's husband shoots the lovers and then himself leaving our heroine to pick up the pieces of her shattered and now shameful life. This was the only interesting part of the movie, well, until her adult son squanders the family wealth and she's left penniless living with her dead husband's mistress who was her maid. Aside from the soap operatic themes, it was a little boring although the spoken French was beautiful. **

Thursday, March 1, 2018

OMG! The Perfect Doctor!

Every month I announce to my friend, "I think I have found a doctor!!" And every month I retract my claim and say, "False alarm. Another orange cone."  Most of these doctors I never write about. Sometimes they are nice, but incredibly stupid. Others seem knowledgeable, but arrogant pigs. Some try to bully me into feeling guilty for declining to be an experimental subject for their thoughtless guesswork. Most if not nearly all, unfortunately, just can't fathom I am intolerant of all manner of everything and can't stop hawking their pills. Incessantly! I find this disrespectful. I hate it when they don't listen to me. It drives me nuts when they cop an attitude of condescension and then get irate toward me because I won't comply with their demands. I resent it when they think MY appointment, the time I am BUYING, is actually about them and their ego. In the last four months since my ER visit, I have seen seven doctors. All of them expensive; none of them helpful. This shouldn't be a surprise, but it is very discouraging.

Today I saw my eighth doctor. I actually found her about six months ago before this intestinal nightmare began, but I misunderstood her advertising. She's heavy on "appearance rejuvenation" which I found confusing so I hesitated. Is she a cosmetic surgeon? I wasn't sure. Her marketing seems focused on beauty and if my body is in pain I don't give a rat's ass about appearance. Some of her information states she is most definitely a former-conventional doctor with a very tiny indication she's a functional medicine practitioner. In my constant search for a doctor, her link jumped up once again and I took another look at her website.

She offered a FREE CONSULTATION. Not just a 10 minute meet-greet-and-quickly-street, but 45 MINUTES! Free 45 minutes. What? No way. What is the catch?? I emailed her office manager/receptionist expecting to not hear anything for a day or two and low and behold she responds within the hour.'s free. And it's 45 minutes long!!! Really? Right up to the moment I'm in her office I didn't trust this, but YES, a free first appointment!

While I waited in the sitting room I perused her books and there on the shelf sat all the books of Amy Myers I just read. Wow. Talk about a universal convergence. She had some products on the shelf so I read labels searching for fillers and additives I cannot tolerate, preparing myself for the inevitable rebuttal when this doctor tries to shove the pills down my throat. I came to my freebie appointment armed and dangerous! (I really resent I feel defensive before I've even met a doctor!)

No shoving happened. She was calm almost not friendly, neutral, but not arrogant or unfriendly either. This kind of kept me in check as I'd been feeling pretty hostile toward doctors. She asked about my history, looked over my labs, and told me a little about her philosophy. She talked about genetic mutations and inability of some to tolerate much of anything. She recognizes the challenges involved in treating someone who is so sensitive to everything. As she looked over my labs and information she wasn't judgmental exclaiming horror and disbelief as so many doctors have done. She name-dropped people well-known in the Hashimoto's community. She emphasized her philosophy is DIET FIRST because if you don't fix what you are ingesting, nothing else matters. She talked about her career as a conventional medicine doctor and how disgusted she was with the arrogance of the profession and the model's inability to help patients. And last but not least she explained she does the free first appointments because she wants to make sure the prospective patient is willing to make lifestyle and dietary changes. If not, she doesn't see the point and it's a waste of time for everyone. She expects people to tweak their diet, give up their cigarettes, alcohol, and/or junk food and if they can't she will tell them this won't work for them. Well, I'm already there so it's all go for me. At one point I got tears in my eyes and exclaimed, "You are speaking my language!" I think this is the first time I cried tears of joy at a doctor's office instead of tears of frustration and anger.

I have lots of hope.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Cauliflower Rice (recipe)

While waiting patiently for my new doctor to show, I sat in the hall outside her locked office reading old magazines filled with recipes for tarts, quiches, cakes, cookies, pasta and pies. Self torture. A recipe for cauliflower rice (or riced cauliflower) caught my eye. I thought of that cauliflower head sitting in my refrigerator rotting for lack of creative motivation and decided this would be a good time to try making this rice substitute.

Evidence of thievery
I also thought it was a good time to rip that page right out of the magazine. YES...Sorry. I'm still a recipe thief. It was an old magazine in a hallway! The magazine was torturing me. Maybe this was a subconscious need to express anger? Frustration? Yeah, I know I don't have any justification for this behavior, but I'm trying. I had been fasting for a blood draw and very hungry. Still no justification...

Unfortunately, the recipe begins at the riced cauliflower ingredient with little directions on how to get it riced. Initially I thought I could just crumble it with my hands, but that wasn't working so well. Cooking never comes easy to me unlike so many. So I did what any modern cook does these days - got online. Two ways to rice one's cauliflower is to grate it or food process it on the grating button. I tend to always opt for the nearest option or the one with less clean-up so I hand grated it. It was a mess with bits of cauliflower bouncing all over the kitchen. I'm still cleaning it up. I think throwing it in a food processor would be the least messy way to go.

Anyway, once it's all grated into fine bits, using paper towels blot off any excess moisture. I guess this is very important because you don't want your cauliflower rice to get soggy which it tends to do.

Here is the basic recipe although I tweaked it for convenience so it barely resembles the magazine's version: Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pot on medium to medium high. Chop up some scallions (yeah, I don't have scallions so I used green onions). Chop up some bits of red pepper (for color). Throw the scallion-onions and pepper bits in the oil and saute for a short time. Put about one teaspoon of salt and some pepper in the bowl of cauliflower, mix, then throw into the pot with the scallion-onions. Cook for about five minutes which is plenty of time to avoid sogginess. Serve.

It was really, really good! I enjoyed the texture. I think one could add all kinds of foods to the recipe for a variety of stir-fry flavors: Thai, Chinese, Mexican, Texas BBQ...

Yum! Breakfast.

In the above photo the Cauliflower Rice accompanies my ground turkey patty. You can see the bigger bits of cauliflower from my attempt to crumble it with my hands, but it all tasted marvelous.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Spicy Turkey Cabbage Wraps (recipe)

I've been reading Amy Myers' books The Autoimmune Solution and The Thyroid Connection. Both good basic books on their respective subjects. Her "Myers Way" diet and lifestyle is very similar to Kharrazian's protocol except she allows sweet potatoes, shellfish, pork and all fruits.  And CHOCOLATE!!! She obviously didn't get the memo chocolate is a gluten cross-reactor. For anyone with weakened willpower for chocolate this could provide a justification for some bad behavior, but not me! Instead, I just lost all faith in her. Still, the books serve as refreshers on how to eat and how to live with an autoimmune disease, and specifically Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. For anyone newly diagnosed, this would be a life saver or at least set them on the right track.

Dr. Myers talks a lot about the failure of conventional medicine and gives all kinds of examples including her own personal story with Graves Disease and hyperthyroidism. Given only drastic options: poison, radiate, or surgically remove her thyroid, and desperate for relief with no other remedies in sight, she had her thyroid surgically removed. It is an atrocity how these conventional doctors are so eager to cut body parts out of us because they are too stupid or lazy to come up with better solutions. Having had my own close call with a butcher recently, I shiver at the thought.

Although I think both of these books are very good resources for newbies, I found them excessively repetitive. Every point she makes she repeats in every chapter, many times. One of the books I listened to it on tape in my car so perhaps this made the repeats more obvious. I kept yelling at the speakers, "YOU ALREADY SAID THAT A MILLION TIMES!" I fought the urge to fast forward with every repetition hoping I'd find new information but knowing I might miss it with each jump. I think if one were to remove all the repetition it would boil down to a very short book. And, she is a pill pusher. For every symptom, she has a corresponding drug that she promotes. Although she's all about removing toxins, she's failed to read the ingredients on her supplement bottles. She also doesn't address when her patients can't take drugs as so few profit-seeking doctors do.

BUT both books she has a whole chapter on recipes that comply with her diet regiment. Since I have recently added ground turkey and cabbage to my diet this one caught my eye. turkey is high in selenium which is a good, supportive nutrient. I've added my tweaks and notes in the recipe instructions below.

Spicy Turkey Cabbage Wraps

8 intact cabbage leaves
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ginger root, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
10 stalks of asparagus
1/2 lb. ground turkey
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
juice of one large orange wedge (about 2 tablespoons)
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped scallions

Fill a large pot half way with water, heat to boil.

In a large skillet, heat oil, saute garlic, ginger, and onion. Add asparagus and cook a few minutes. (I chopped the stalks into one inch pieces. I suppose I didn't have to do this and it might have been better in a wrap with long stalks, but I liked it better.) Add turkey, turmeric, and juice. When almost cooked completely, add basil and scallions. Cook until done.

When water in pot boils, add a few cabbage leaves at a time using tongs. I think to fill eight leaves it would spread the mix thin or make very small wraps. I'd be more inclined to use four and have more filling so it would suffice as a meal. Remove after 30 seconds I left in about 1 minute only because they didn't seem soft enough to roll. Fill with turkey mix, roll, serve. As the rolls sit, the leaves form around each other so they stay together making it somewhat easy to lift and eat.

She said it has a nice flavor and with those ingredients, I had high hopes. Maybe I've been eating too many herbs and spices, but it didn't seem to have much of a flavor at all. It wasn't bad. I think turkey is a bit flavorless anyway. The cabbage roll was messy even though it did stay together. I preferred eating the turkey mix without the cabbage roll, but I think I will experiment and place slices of cabbage IN the mix.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Gravy! OMG! (recipe)

Boy, I miss gravy. Mashed potatoes smothered in gravy. That was my comfort food for years. I lived off it through college. At every school I ever attended, the cafeterias sold little containers of mashed potatoes and gravy for twenty-five cents. A cheap and alternative option to a real lunch!

Fast forward 100 years and neither gravy nor mashed potatoes are on the Paleo Diet with a Hashimoto's Twist. Potatoes are not only nightshades and capable of creating health havoc, but they are also high in starch/sugar and lectins*, another misery-causing substance. To reduce the amount of lectins found in lectin-high foods with skins, it is advised to peel them as the skins have a greater lectin concentration. This is especially important for tomatoes and one reason Roma tomatoes were developed - less skin and more pulp.

Old-fashioned gravy like grandma used to make is all about the gluten: wheat flour. That's what gives it that creamy, soothing, comforting, sticky texture. Gluten is definitely not on my diet so gravy has been a forbidden for years. Besides, what would I put gravy on if I can't eat potatoes?

When my digestive tract failed a few months ago, there were few foods I could eat so I had to tweak the Hashimoto's diet. This caused me great stress as I had no idea how adding the few food choices I could tolerate would affect my health. Happy to say, so far I'm fine. I think. I hope. When I started a blended diet (yuck), I found sweet potatoes blend very nicely and creamy soups worked wonderfully. Sweet potatoes are higher in fiber and have a lower glycemic value than potatoes, however, they do have lectins and have low levels of goitrogens**. I have avoided them in the past.

People on grain-free diets are using cauliflower as a side dish alternative. It is especially popular as a rice substitute as the tiny bits are much like rice grains in terms of texture. Cauliflower is, however, a goitrogen. There is some debate over thyroid function being affected by goitrogens. From what I have read, cooking foods eliminates the goitrogens. It's only raw goitrogens that are problematic. If you have eaten a lot of raw goitrogens and experience feeling unusually cold, that's your thyroid being suppressed. Lately I've been drinking fresh cabbage juice which is supposed to heal my digestive tract and it never fails three hours later I'm hit with unexplained fatigue and the need to nap. It's hardly unexplained anymore.

Anyway, who would have thought cream of cauliflower soup would be the perfect GRAVY!!! It even looks like chicken or turkey gravy! Here is my recipe:


1 head of cauliflower, trimmed, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2-3 stalks of chopped celery
1 large, chopped yellow onion
1 teaspoon chopped (one clove) garlic
2 cups homemade chicken broth with lots of fat
1 cup/can coconut milk
1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry (optional)
salt and pepper

In a large pot, add olive oil and butter. Saute onion and garlic on medium heat until transparent. Add celery and cauliflower cooking slightly and stirring constantly. Add salt and pepper. Add chicken broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat slightly, simmer covered until cauliflower is soft, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly. Blend in a blender until creamy. Return to pan adding curry and coconut milk. Bring to slow simmer and heat for another ten minutes. It will be really thick so stir it constantly. Add water or more coconut milk if thinner is preferred.

Pour over mashed sweet potatoes or potatoes, if you are so inclined. Also good over chicken or turkey or Thanksgiving dinner. I think I could pour this over everything! AND it makes a very good soup for those cold winter months!


*Lectins are foods that are capable of penetrating the wall of the stomach causing leaking gut and inflammation. Most hazardous lectin-high foods include: beans of any kind, wheat, peanuts, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, and cashews (which are actually beans...or confusing!)

**Goitrogens are foods that disrupt the production of thyroid hormones by interfering with iodine uptake in the thyroid gland. Bad goitrogens: bok choy, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, mustard and mustard greens, radishes, rutabagas, turnips. Foods with small amounts of goitrogens: bamboo shoots, peaches, peanuts, pears, pine nuts, spinach, strawberries, sweet potatoes.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Patriotic Parasole

I have found a new way to express myself! 

I can't wait for the next protest!

I hope it rains!

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Sensitives (movie)

I finally got around to watching The Sensitives a documentary film about people with chemical and electrical sensitivities directed by Drew Zanthropoulos. Great filming, outstanding photography, and I enjoyed how the dialogue was mixed over the various shots. Nicely done.

Some of the scenes were very interesting. Like the refrigerator full of supplements. Good god! I was hoping someone would address whether they do any good especially since there are theories that supplements add to the problem. That is a whole lot of financial investment for empty promises.

There sure were a lot of dogs in this movie. Barking dogs. With so many MCS/EMF people who have hearing sensitivities it still amazes me that MCS/EMF people are so thoughtless to subject others to their barking. The community down in Texas was featured - little, safe, EMF-proof houses in close proximity - with dogs milling about all over and barking! Like a ghetto. That place would be my personal hell.

One of the residents yelled at the new tenant to stay away from her house because he stinks. LOL! He's one of the stars of the film so it was a bit discombobulating to think this sick man stunk of toxic poisons, the poisons that make him sick. He called the place "a concentration of crazies." Well, that's not nice, but I totally get his sentiment. It has to be frustrating. This is my worry about moving to a community of any kind...I know I'm a pain in the butt and I don't know how much patience I'd have dealing with other people equally as obnoxious as me as we try desperately to control our environment. It sounds like a war in the making.

Not sure why someone suffering from MCS/EMF thought it would be a good idea to get on a plane and fly to Washington, DC. She couldn't participate in the conference in another way? Was the risk really worth it? They showed her walking along a busy city street filled with passing buses. I was gagging just imagining the fumes. I realize not everyone is as sensitive as I am, but if she has to use a wheelchair after a toxic exposure, I would think the travel risk would NOT be worth it.

She also invited a cigarette-smoke-saturated interviewer to sit on her bed with her dog. She told me I wasn't allowed to sit on the bed with or without the dog! And I didn't even stink! It was a little disturbing she was willing to smell people to determine if they had stink on. There is a lot of risky behavior going on here. The scene where she was testing EMF frequency with a transistor radio was fascinating.

I was a little envious of the support system all these people have. There was a lot of discussion on family members being taken for granted or not being recognized for all the work they do and the self-centeredness of those who are suffering. I think sick people in general are self-centered. It's their reality to do whatever they can to help and protect themselves and that makes them self-centered. In these scenarios, the wife does all the cooking and the ninety-year old grandmother does all the shopping. Their devotion is pretty amazing. I wish I had such devoted people in my life! I think chemical sensitivity would be that much more tolerable if I had a twin to share the experience, someone I could lay around in bed with, someone who totally understood my situation.

I kept pondering the difference between a family support system and no support system. The MCS/EMF people featured in this film who have family support seem far more dependent and helpless than, for instance, the woman who lives alone and is capable of doing a lot for herself. Is she less sensitive or just doesn't have the luxury of relying on someone else? The daughter of the man said if he had to live alone he would be forced to cook for himself rather than have his wife do everything for him. Can he cook for himself? Maybe the daughter doesn't understand his sensitivities, but clearly she thought he should be making more of an effort. And if he can't cook for himself, how could he even think of living alone in the first place? I suppose the appliances were less problematic in the Texas house? The film wasn't clear on these issues.

There were few moments of poignancy and personal emotion that were very descriptive. I think the best one was the phone call received from a woman stranded somewhere, having bad reactions to the environment, and in a panic not knowing what to do. That was very moving and exceptionally descriptive for such a short scene.

In summary, it was interesting, nicely filmed, perhaps a little disjointed and somewhat slow. Again, I would have liked more poignant moments or a different organization of stories to emphasize what it's like to have these kinds of limitations. It needed more of an emotional punch throughout. I found it confusing seeing in one scene where the subjects are so sick they can't function and then in the next scene they are risking exposure on purpose. I know that's reality and maybe that was the point, but a filmmaker would have more control over what is presented which would control the storyline.

Still, well done. It wasn't exploitive, but very honest and compassionate.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Orange Cone Alert!

Just when I thought it was safe to go back into the water...

There is a new internal medicine doctor in the neighboring village. I figured I'd give him a try and if I was very lucky, find myself a doctor closer than an hour and a half away. People gave him good informal reviews, but always prefaced it with, "He's very young." I took that to mean he was inexperienced...and young. I had hoped with fresh medical training he was at least knowledgeable.

The trend in my area is for clinics to screen prospective patients to judge in advance if they are worthy of health care. Yeah, this is just an indication of our very bad health care system. I'm pretty sure they do this to weed out all the opiate addicts, but don't drug addicts deserve health care, too? I find it offensive and insulting, but this is the new normal out in the Bush on the edge of civilization thanks to the drug addiction epidemic.

I actually attempted this process about a month ago at a clinic with a nest of new nurse-practitioners. As instructed, I ordered medical records from the fired-rehired-fired again idiot nurse practitioner. A month later she had still not sent my records. I decided I didn't need another useless nurse-practitioner in my life and gave up.

So this time I thought I'd be smarter about this and ordered records from another doctor, one who was more efficient and professional to expedite the process. I waited two weeks and never heard from the internist's office. I called. I had been approved! They just failed to inform me. Not a good sign. I made an appointment. That took a total of three weeks.

Dr. Orange Cone entered the room with a scowl on his face. He was young. Really young. And very hostile. He demanded to know why I was there. I proceeded to tell him of my hospital emergency visit. He listened impatiently, scowling the whole time, and avoiding eye contact. I noticed his fingers were neurotically tapping his leg. I wondered if he was a drug addict himself.

When we got around to discussing drugs, I tried to tell him of my intolerance and the debilitating side effects I get from most. He scoffed and sarcastically lectured me on how every one needs to take drugs. He demanded proof, "How do you KNOW? Where are your allergy tests?"  How many doctors throughout the years have dismissed my information and told me I was being ridiculous? He informed me I must take drugs anyway and suffer the misery. I was shocked to the point of amusement. I scoffed back at him. Maybe his scoffing was catching?

When he ordered labs I asked why he didn't order the thyroid antibody tests. He reprimanded with an impatient, sarcastic tone it doesn't matter if I have Hashimoto's or not, only if my thyroid is working. So. Incredibly. Ignorant. The appointment should have lasted about an hour, but after fifteen minutes he started excusing himself repeatedly,"If you don't have anymore questions...." He'd get up only to sit down again when I'd ask another question. At one point he got up and moved to sit across the room, avoiding eye contact, and tapping his fingers incessantly. His responses were flippant, rude, and sarcastic. It was like a teenage temper tantrum.

I left the appointment feeling violated and confused. Why would the boy-doctor, someone I had never met, be so rude and hostile to some he'd never met? Did the Orange Cone hate his job? Did moving to a small town from a big city suck the soul from his orange-cone-ish being? Was Orange Cone a drug addict? He couldn't stop jittering. Or was Orange Cone just an entitled, arrogant, disrespectful kid pretending to be an adult? Or maybe he doesn't like naturopaths?

OH MY GOD! I totally screwed up! The medical records I had sent were from a naturopath with information about my chemical sensitivity. I know better. One doesn't cross-contaminate between a holistic doctor and an AMA ignorant. Even though MCS now has a medical diagnostic code it still isn't accepted nor is modern medical training more open-minded about chemical sensitivity.

When I came to my senses and realized what I had done I reviewed the conversation in this new light. I recalled toward the end of the appointment he sarcastically and impatiently demanded to know if I had any other conditions not mentioned. I said, "Menopause, but there isn't anything to be done." Was he fishing for my admission of chemical sensitivity hoping to continue berating my health issues? I didn't say anything, but my records would have unknowingly divulged my secret. This is the state of medical care for the chemically sensitive. I have to pay for that useless appointment. What a waste of my time and money!

Orange Cone Procedures: See the danger. Go around. And keep going. I know I'm supposed to forgive and not be angry at this abuse of power and lack of health care, but that's not going to happen.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Happy Sixth Bloggerversary!

I started this blog on February 4, 2012. Six years! How amazing!

Thank you to all my readers: followers and lurkers alike.

Thank you for sharing your comments that make me feel less isolated.

Thank you for your patience, support, and empathy when I vent.

Thank you for your laughter.

Thank you for this wonderful opportunity that provides so much entertainment and therapy.

Thank you GirlAlive for your constant encouragement! Your friendship is inspiring!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

January Movie Reviews

*****  Exceptional
****    Great
***      OK
**        So So
*          Blah

Beguiled has an all-star cast of outstanding actresses. It's a Civil War movie about a secluded, southern girl's school run by a very proper woman (Nicole Kidman) who is assisted by a very unhappy woman (Kirsten Dunst) teaching a handful of girls who have nowhere to go. One of the younger girls finds a wounded Irish Union soldier (Colin Farrell) out in the woods and they nurse him back to health because it's the Christian thing to do. He seduces all of them with his charm and complimentary personality, but he makes the mistake of getting a little too friendly with the slutty one (Elle Fanning). Let's just say it would have behooved him to keep his dick in his pants.  Women living in a war zone, confronted with daily violence, and determined to survive are ruthless. Go girls! Beautifully filmed with spectacular settings. The costumes were a little too clean.... ****

The Blue Butterfly  Inspired by a true story, this movie is about a terminally-ill ten year old boy with brain cancer who has months to live, love insects, idolizes a renowned entomologist (William Hurt) who he convinces to take him to the rain forest to catch the elusive blue butterfly. Great scenery with great bugs and creepy crawlies. That's where the greatness ends. The dialogue was horrid, performances barely tolerable, way too sappy, and a whole lot of unbelievable scenes that were disappointing. **

Fathers and Daughters is about a young woman (Amanda Seyfried) who's mother died when she was little and the adorable relationship she had with her father (Russell Crowe), a best-selling novelist, who is suffering some kind of neurological illness. When he goes into a hospital for an extended stay, she is sent to live with a wealthy uncle and aunt who then sue him for custody causing all kinds of misery.  After promising his daughter he would never leave her, he dies. She grows up unable to love for fear of abandonment. Very sad. Great performances with all-star cast with Jane Fonda, Octavia Spencer, and Aaron Paul. ****

Frantz is a French/German foreign film about post-WWI. Twenty-three year old German soldier, Frantz, Anna's fiancé, was killed in the war. She lives with his parents in Germany.  A Frenchman, Adrien, shows up weeping at his grave then contacts the family. Frantz's father tells him to get his scummy French butt out of their house until he finds out he's an old friend of Frantz from his school days in Paris. Frantz loved everything French and Adrien reminisces on their time together as students. The family warms up to him as he makes them feel like their son is back. The little German village hates the French for killing their boys.  Lots of themes on the tragedy of war, national identity and alternative truths.  Adrien's story isn't what it seems and he snaps under the pressure. Excellent performances, sets, plot and costumes.  Beautifully filmed in black and white, but every now and then a scene would be in color although it wasn't really clear why...embracing life again? ****

Hairspray LIVE!  This is the NBC live television performance of the musical. Excellent cast, music, performances. Love this show. ****

Imperium is about an FBI agent (Daniel Radcliffe) who goes undercover to infiltrate white supremacists. Toni Colette is his supervisor...both excellent performances. It was a creepy story. A few times the ideology was so sickening I wanted to turn it off. ***

The Innocents is about a French Red Cross doctor at the end of World War II working in Poland. A Polish nun from a convent nearby shows up at her hospital begging for help. One of the nuns is in labor with another seven in advanced stages of pregnancy. First, the invading Nazi soldiers abused and violated these sisters every time they marched through town. Then the Russian soldiers.  The nuns fear retribution from the authorities and the community if their secret is known. Determined to hide their shame they weather all manner of pain and suffering as penance. Some are in denial, some in love, and most scared to death. To make matters worse, the nuns have all taken vows of chastity and are not allowed to be touched making examinations and birth problematic.  It was a beautifully filmed movie especially with all that snow. Exceptional performances with dialogue in Polish and French with English subtitles.  The introductory titles said it was based on a true story...I hope not. The fate of Helena will haunt me for days. The answer to their predicament should have been obvious especially during a war...maybe some Mother Superiors are short-sighted but I hope the stupidity of this one was just for plot development. ****

Love and Other Drugs is about a self-centered pharmaceutical rep (Jake Gyllenhaal) who meets and falls for a woman (Anne Hathaway) with Parkinson's disease who wants nothing to do with a relationship because she doesn't want to be high maintenance. I totally get that. She feels guilty knowing her disease will progress making her dependent on him and not trusting she can trust him to stick around. It's easier to avoid attachment. Excellent performances. It was sweet. Maybe a bit too predictable. ***

A Man Called Ove is a Norwegian movie about a cantankerous old man (Ove) who lives alone in a homeowners' association-type community. He is very particular about making sure everything is in its place and all residents are following rules.  His wife died six months prior and unable to live with his grief he attempts suicide...multiple times. Unfortunately for him, he can't seem to do the deed with the damn neighbors constantly in his business. With each attempt as he's losing consciousness we flashback through his life - a very good life filled with kindness and love.  It was a very heartwarming movie about grief, community, asking for help, and how we can't exist alone - we need people. There were some laugh-out-loud moments. I think killing yourself with car exhaust would be the most gruesome way to go. I can't imagine choking to death from chemicals. It seems slow and painful. Great movie. ****

May in the Summer is about a Palestinian-American woman, May, from New York who goes home to Jordan for a family reunion with her sisters and to marry her Palestinian-American fiancé who is Muslim. Her mother disapproves of the interreligious relationship. Her future mother-in-law is planning and financing the lavish wedding. This also involves reconnection with her divorced American re-married-to-a-woman-half-his-age father who made their lives miserable while married to their mother. It was family stress and dysfunction at its finest. Great performances. There were a couple times I almost turned it off due to boredom but with all her indecision, I wanted to see if she'd go through with the wedding. ***

The Midwife is a French film with English subtitles about a midwife (Catherine Frot). When she was a teenager her father's self-centered, flighty girl friend deserted them and her father committed suicide. The ex-girfriend (Catherine Deneuve) contacts her forty years later when she finds out she is dying from brain cancer hoping to reconnect with her true love not realizing he died many years ago. She doesn't have any family or friends, is a little crazy, drinks too much, gambles her money away, tells everyone her ex-boyfriend's daughter is her daughter and keeps saying how she wants to leave her money or jewels as if this will fix everything (even though she has no money). Great story about relationships. Excellent performances. Catherine Frot is very likeable. ***

Misconduct is about a lawyer (Josh Duhamel) who does sleazy things to win cases. An insane ex-girlfriend from college reconnects with him to funnel illegally obtained evidence against her boyfriend-boss-pharmaceutical corporate-head (Anthony Hopkins) and he begins a class-action lawsuit overseen by his own sleazy boss (Al Pacino). The whole thing was sleazy but then Josh gets messed up in sleaze over his head because they are all using him to get what they want. His wife is a little crazy, too. Julia Stiles was the private detective. The filming was really, really strange with bizarre panning techniques. It also utilized odd flashbacks and flash forwards making the film sequencing difficult to follow. Great performances, great story, but I didn't care for the attempts at creativity and I'm not really into corporate sleaze movies.  ***

The Mountain Between Us  Exceptional movie with two outstanding actors: Kate Winslet and Idris Elba. It's about two strangers who are stranded at an airport in Idaho. Both needing to be somewhere in the morning, they charter a plane. The pilot, Beau Bridges, has a stroke or heart attack or something and crashes the plane atop a very cold and snowy mountain. She's badly injured. They wait for a rescue for a few days but the pilot didn't file a flight plan and they are running out of food. After much deliberation and argument they head off slowly down the mountain, both believing they won't make it. Excellent story, outstanding special effects, and perfect performances. Beautiful scenery. Loved it . ****

Mr. Church is about a young girl (Britt Robertson) whose mother (Natasha McElhone) is dying from cancer and is given six months to live. The mother's dead-wealthy-married-ex-boyfriend bequeaths her a cook (Eddie Murphy), Mr. Church, to take care of her for the rest of her days. He's very private but is wrestling with his own demons. Excellent story about human relationships. Outstanding performances. Rarely does one see Murphy in a dramatic role and he was superb. Loved it. ****

The 9th Life of Louis Drax is about a nine-year old boy who since birth has been accident prone. He falls off a cliff during a family picnic. His mother implies his father became violent with her during an argument, but the father has disappeared. Louis is now in the coma ward being cared for by his doctor (Jamie Dornan) who specializes in research about coma patient communication. Lots of flashbacks to support the story which were well done: scenes with his mother (Sarah Gadon) and father (Aaron Paul), his therapist (Oliver Platt). He's a very strange, psychotic boy who kills his hamsters by smashing them under medical dictionaries. His comatose brain begins to communicate with his doctor through dreams. Very good and suspenseful. All great performances. Very sad story. ****

Sarah's Key  OH MY GOD this was heartbreaking. It's a story about an American journalist (Kristin Scott Thomas) who has recently taken possession of her in-laws' Paris apartment with her French husband and daughter. She is researching and writing a magazine article about the French government round-up and deportation of the Jews during World War II. She finds out her husband's family obtained their apartment after a Jewish family was taken away. Parallel to the modern story is the story of the little Jewish girl who lived in the apartment. The journalist is on a mission to find out what happened to the little girl. SO INCREDIBLY SAD AND TRAUMATIC as most Holocaust movies are. Beautifully filmed and outstanding performances. *****

Séraphine is the true story of Séraphine Louis a French housekeeper/laundress who works odd jobs during the day and paints by night. Believing she is guided by her guardian angel who has told her she must paint, she spends what free time she has collecting supplies for paint ingredients, praying at church while she steals the hot wax from the devotional candles, gathering herbs from fields,  mud from creeks, or siphoning blood off a liver at the butcher where she works preparing for the day she presents her works to the angels. She spends what little money she makes on other art supplies and suffers abuse and judgmental rudeness from towns people.  Painting is a spiritual process and she sings church hymns (loudly in the middle of the night) while in the throes of creation.  She is discovered by German art critic Wilhelm Uhde around 1912 while he was staying in France before WWI and he rediscovers her after the war.  It was an amazing, inspirational story, although very sad. Loved the main character - outstanding performance. French with English subtitles. ****

Victoria and Abdul was a sweet movie about the relationship between Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and Abdul, a Muslim from India. Great performances. Nice story. Nothing inspiring or ground breaking, just nice and sweet. ***

Le Week-end is about an older English couple on the cusp of retirement who go to Paris for the weekend to celebrate their 30th anniversary.  Their relationship is old, maybe boring, contentious. She wants change, a new direction, a new life and he just wants things to stay the same with more sex which, like her, I found irritating. It was interesting. A little depressing at times. ***

Yosemite was incredibly boring.  It features three fifth grade boys and their incredibly drab lives. I kept thinking with each kid something would go wrong creating a little interest. The first kid in the first scene is on a hike with his father and little brother in Yosemite. They  get lost in the woods and I think something will go very wrong, but then ended up back at the hotel. That was it for the reference  to Yosemite. Stupid title. The next kid befriends an adult living in the far side of town. Weird guy. I thought this can't be good and for sure he was a child molester which might add some plot interest. Nope. Third kid finds a gun and the three take off into the fields to search for a mountain lion. At one point I turned it off, read the DVD cover which claimed it was reminiscent of Stand By Me so I thought hmmm...maybe it actually gets interesting later. Nope.  Poorly written, poorly executed, zero interest. It had absolutely no point...and a really stupid title. *

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Women's March 2018

On January 20, 2018 was the second annual Women's March across the nation. It rained. Did I care?


I made myself a protest umbrella!

I bought an old yet large and sturdy umbrella at the Goodwill, selected some of my favorite sayings, and painted like a mad woman trying to get it finished by Saturday. I knew it would rain. It poured. Here it is in action:

My new protest umbrella got a lot of attention. Many people stopped me to ask if I painted it, wanted to know what kind of paint I used, how long it took, and if they could take a photo. I think in the future we might see a whole lot of painted umbrellas at protests! I admit, it wasn't my idea. There was an umbrella with painted slogans last year and I was incredibly inspired then. There were a few umbrellas with designs on them this year, too. I was also asked if I sold them but between the cost of paint and the time it takes to complete one, I can't imagine anyone would want to spend enough money to make it worth while. I had a lot of fun and if I can find another cheap umbrella, I might make another.

Protesters stood in the rain for a couple hours listening to speakers, many of them Native American, African American, women politicians, and choral groups. I was frozen and numb, but DRY, by the time we were ready to move, and so desperate to move and put circulation back in my body.

The organizers were far more prepared this year and instead of the two block loop that was way too short for 10,000 participants, we traversed down a hill of switchbacks:

Then around the lake located at the base of the capitol building culminating at a park filled with non-profit organizations and charity group tents. Lots of room to march and not be bottle-necked and crowded too close to stinky people. My umbrella helped with personal space - if anyone got too close they got stabbed by the umbrella points. HAHAHA!

Loved the variety of creative signs and the energy. Lots of motivation and cheerfulness even in the pouring rain!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Hawaii Snafu

Hawaii had some kind of emergency meltdown a few days ago broadcasting the warning of an incoming missile.

I can't imagine what people over there were thinking. It must have been a horrible feeling of doom. Unfortunately in our Trumpist climate with war literally on our doorstep due to that buffoon's unpresidential and unprofessional behavior, nothing is a surprise. The Stephen Colbert Late Show had the best response that had me literally LOL. You can see it HERE. (Although I don't think Hawaiians are laughing...maybe someday they'll see the humor in it.)

Still, if it were my last moments on earth, I'd like them to be in Hawaii.