My Muse is on Holiday…Far, Far Away

I know it’s been quite some time since I posted anything here. For that I very much do apologize. I also realize that having my last post be barely more than a sentence and a link to another blog was also a grand no-no. My apologies for that, as well…although it is true that I did find that blog fascinating.

Honestly, I can give you no reason for my lack of writing other than I have not been inspired to write, at least not anything that belongs outside of my head.

The past several weeks have been quite tumultuous in my life, and I’ve been a very unhappy person. The only things on my mind have been how unhappy my situation is and the results of the latest rounds of testing. I’m guessing that it’s not something that any of you really need to have pushed in your face by an angry, little hobbit. Angry and depressed in alternating blasts like the electric current running through the circuits of your house. You’re not fool enough to stick a screw driver into the outlet, so I’m not going to be fool enough to write down the verbal equivalent.

Amazingly enough, someone has still been viewing my past blogs. I really don’t want to scare anyone away by belching out the things in my head that should stay private, nor do I want any of you to think I’ve forgotten that you are there.  Without any of you, there would be no blog in the first place.  My hope is that those of you who have stuck by me through this terrible dry spell will continue to do so for a bit longer.

Please believe me when I say that I am very much aware of my blog sitting here unused. Honestly, it also figures a bit into the low feelings I’ve been having. “Golly Pete! One more thing I’m not getting done! What the Hel is there to write that won’t scare everyone away?”  Yes.  My MUSE is definitely on holiday far, far away, but it just may be that it’s finally begun the journey home.

Thank you for not leaving.  (Hmm…may hap that will be a topic of discussion one day.  Eventually, everyone one leaves.  Don’t they?)

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Living jewelry, a growing trend.

The link below is something I find fascinating, and some parts anyway, lovely all at once!  Go look, and see what you think.  At the very least, it should make you think about how you can incorporate more green, with simplicity, into your everyday world. 😀

 

Living jewelry, a growing trend..

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Update: Who Am I Anyway?

I have gotten a little bit of feedback on my last blog, and apparently some clarification needs to be made.

I am in no way saying that everyone with a large, to huge, Friend List has been a victim of “cyber bullying” into having such extensive Friend Lists.

I am well aware that there are several reasons for having such huge lists.  I used to play a few games over on a different social network before they ruined it.  At the time I was enjoying those games, my own list of “friends” was almost 800 in number.  When I decided I was no longer enjoying those games, I also realized my cumbersome list needed to be cut extensively.  Without the games, I had no connection to most of those people.  In two afternoons of sorting, I was down to just over 100 bands and people, heavy on the bands.  I did get a few nasty notes for not giving warning of what I was going to do, but they were all from gamers I’d had no conversation with before, during or after ‘Friending’, despite repeated attempts on my part.  I found it quite amusing that dropping them got a response when, “Hello! Glad to me you!” didn’t.

I am also aware that there are folks who do extensive networking for various causes. In such cases, indeed, a large Friend List is a necessity.

However, those are NOT the folks to whom I was referring. I am talking about those of us who receive requests which meet an unpleasant response when turned down.  For some, the response may point out that I have such and such on my list, and they are a friend of that person.  Why won’t I add them, too?  Why would I add them because of someone already on my list of friends?  I either got to know the other person first, or I allowed myself to be bullied by that person into putting them on my list.  If that is the case, it’ll be Ragnarok before they’re added to join their bully of a friend.  They may point out that I have a person on my Friend List who is of an extreme philosophy, and I should add them to my Friend List before everyone comes to think that I’m “…one of those, too.”  I’m quite positive that that person will help others see me in that particular light whether or not I continue to deny their not so friendly Friend Requests.  That’s what bullies do.  I’m somewhat susceptible to being bullied, not a complete moron.

Then there are the bullies who won’t take a hint.  I meet a lot of people in discussion groups.  We may even have some good discussions or great debates, that doesn’t mean they belong on my Friend List.  They think it does.  Somehow, because they think of us as being intellectual counterparts, they think we’re automatically friends.  I don’t.  It is usually in these cases where I wind up being manipulated with guilt, or a combination of guilt and anger.  Wow.  Double the bully. 

Now, if you would please, ponder the fact that I at least have the guts to write this…  What about those who for whatever reason cannot utter such things as I have printed here?  What about those who say bad things about themselves and suddenly turn their profiles into daily computer generated updates about some contest they’re playing which tries to get you to join it instead of being the people they are because it seems to them that no one gives a damn about who they are, just who they want them to be?

It’s not fair that bullies have not only stolen the joy from their real world lives, but they have stolen from them their opportunity to be their real selves in this cyber world, as wellI am well aware of the saying about life not being fair, but when you see you’re dealing with someone very fragile, someone struggling, it’s damn well not your right to treat them as a plaything or as a dog would a particularly tasty bone!

If you feel that anyone on your Friend List is bullying you, or you feel they want you to be someone you’re not, drop them.  Block them if you feel you need to.  If someone else comes along and asks you why you took such action, tell them the truth.  You weren’t comfortable with the way they were treating you.  If they ask for details, just tell them you don’t think it’s something that needs discussing.  If they threaten you with dropping you as a friend, let them.  They were never your friend anyway.

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Who am I Anyway?

Here I sit at an early Halloween party.  It’s loud.  There’s lots of activity going on, and I’m sitting alone in the family room working on my blog.  My friends are very understanding and indulgent of my weirdness.  They’ve brought me drink, and soon I know that at least one snack will appear.  I truly love these people.

I really thought when I joined the cyber world that I’d become the ‘wonder woman’ I always knew myself to be inside.  Instead, I’ve found I’m trying to do here what I always seemed to be doing in the ‘real world’, I’m jumping through hoops to either get people to like me or to keep people who’ve already joined the infamous ‘Friend List’ to keep liking me. Really! I don’t mean to disappoint anyone!  There’s my problem in a nutshell.  The point is, why do I even care?

The crazy thing is, my needy behavior is actually worse here than in my offline life. Why?  How did I get so caught up in wanting people to like me here, when in the real world, I’m not nearly as obsessed with that.  Actually, in the real world, I’ve given up.  In the ‘real world’, there are so many people and so many varied circumstances, it doesn’t matter if I’m my ‘real’ self or not.  Nobody really cares.  They’ve already made their judgements, and 99% of them can kiss my arse!

Although I spend most of my time alone, for the most part, I’m not lonely.  I will admit to missing a significant other in my life, but that’s something else on which I’ve given up.  I was never meant to be ‘normal’, never meant to have a lot of friends or be the life of the party, nor was I ever meant to be married with children.  In my efforts to deal with the disappointment of the latter, I’ve created a small farm with a bunch of critters.  More critters are planned for the future.

Why am I saying all of this?  What brought on this upchucking of my innards?  A person on my ‘Friend List’ who is struggling with not being able to be herself…that’s what.    Honestly, that pisses me off!  She’s a good person who has issues in real life with which she struggles, and it’s not fair that she can’t be herself in a cyber world where no one actually meets anyone else.  Who gives a fat rat’s arse if someone can’t handle being dropped from some stranger’s ‘Friend List’?  I saw an example of what she fears a few weeks ago.  She was going to drop quite a few people from her Friend List so that she could handle the pressure she was feeling by dealing with only the few she trusted.  One of the people on her list attacked her in a snotty way wanting to know if she was in danger of being dropped.  Of course, the natural reaction of the woman being attacked was to want to close her page.  Well, I ripped that nasty female a new one, she was dropped and blocked by my friend, and my friend kept her page.  The irony was, that woman was in no danger of being dropped.  Until her uncalled for tantrum, she had been one who was safe from being deleted.

Now it’s Monday morning.  I’ve taken care of my critters in the rain, and I felt nothing but contentment with them and fruit for my breakfast,  I re-read what I had written on Saturday night, and I’m aggravated all over again.  Ultimately, my friend will have to deal with this in her own way, but I’ve come to a conclusion of my own.  If we haven’t spoken since I added someone to my ‘Friend List’ that person can go.  I’m going to post that I am accepting no more “Friends”  If I do accept someone, it will be someone with information I need in order to grow as a person and to grow in my chosen Path.

Bullying, like what happened to my friend, must stop!  I have no illusions that it will stop because of this blog, but maybe it’ll get some folks thinking about why their “Friend List” is so huge and they speak only to about three or four people on it.  I mean really!  If you would simply walk away from such people in your real life offline, why would you put up with them in cyber space?

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Bipolar Disorder and Clinical Depression: THERE IS NO SHAME!

    I know I said I’d start this particular blog weeks ago. My sincerest apologies for not having done so.  A few days ago, I admitted I’d put this off out of fear, fear that I’d somehow do it wrong, that I’d not convey what needs to be understood about Bipolar Disorder and the people who suffer it’s burden.  “People who suffer it’s burden” includes the people who love, and suffer along with, any person diagnosed with this debilitating affliction.  I have chosen to also address Clinical Depression, as I have seen numerous pleas in my Facebook stream from folks trying to get someone they love to “do something”, to stop letting their depression continue to destroy their relationship/family.

My primary message to ALL of you:  There is no shame in having a medical condition of the mind.  There is no shame in going to a doctor, be it your general practitioner or a psychiatrist, for treatment of a medical condition you did not invite, create nor cause.  There is no shame in having someone in your family or circle friends with either of these disorders.  You deserve to give and receive love unconditionally despite having, or living with a sufferer of, either of the conditions addressed in this blog.

     Some of the greatest injustices done to people who suffer from either mental disorder is that it’s:  1)  All in their head, 2)  All they need to do is change their attitude, 3)  It’s their fault for being as they are and 4)  “If you really loved me/cared about me, you’d change.”  All of these are fallacies.  A mental disorder is ‘of the mind’ not ‘in the head’.  The difference being that disorders of the mind, like Bipolar Disorder and Clinical Depression have a physical basis somewhere in the brain/body, and they often have a genetic factor involved. Bipolar’s physical cause is most often a chemical imbalance in the brain.  Clinical Depression can be from a chemical cause in the brain or from an illness of the body which, in turn, affects the brain’s chemistry.  Having physical causes, no one can change their brain or body chemistry just by changing their mind.  Having physical causes, it’s no one’s fault, and people cannot change for someone else when a physical cause for their illness won’t allow them to change even for themselves.
     I suppose the first order is to differentiate between Bipolar Disorder and Clinical Depression.

Bipolar Disorder is defined as:  A mental disorder marked by alternating periods of elation (hyper-activity or elated agitation) and depression or mixed periods.   A mixed period is one where the symptoms of both elation and depression are present at the same time.   Also called Manic Depression.

Clinical Depression is defined as:  Depression that meets the DSM-IV criteria for a depressive disorder. The term is usually used to denote depression that is not a normal, temporary mood caused by life events or grieving. (DSM: Abbreviation for the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” a comprehensive classification of officially recognized psychiatric disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association , for use by mental health professionals to ensure uniformity of diagnosis. DSM-IV denotes the DSM is in it’s 4th edition.)

     Now that you have the textbook definition of Bipolar Disorder, it’s time to relate that it’s much more complicated than those words would make it sound.  For instance, even if you’re depressed 99% of the time, one period of elation or one mixed episode qualifies as Bipolar.  In other words, people with Clinical Depression have no periods of elation or mixed episodes.

     There are different types of Bipolar which fall under the heading of Bipolar Spectrum.  For a more expansive explanation of the types of Bipolar Disorder, please go to:   http://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/guide/bipolar-disorder-symptoms-types*The following sections on Symptoms, Types, and Complications was taken in it’s entirety from WebMB to which the link above refers with further links to greater information.*

Symptoms

The primary symptoms of bipolar disorder are dramatic and unpredictable mood swings.

Mania symptoms may include excessive happiness, excitement, irritability, restlessness, increased energy, less need for sleep, racing thoughts, high sex drive, and a tendency to make grand and unattainable plans.

Depression symptoms may include sadness, anxiety, irritability, loss of energy, uncontrollable crying, change in appetite causing weight loss or gain, increased need for sleep, difficulty making decisions, and thoughts of death or suicide.

Types

There are several types of bipolar disorder; all involve episodes of depression and mania to a degree. They include bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic disorder, mixed bipolar, and rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.

A person affected by bipolar I disorder has had at least one manic episode in his or her life. A manic episode is a period of abnormally elevated mood, accompanied by abnormal behavior that disrupts life.

Bipolar II is similar to bipolar I disorder, with moods cycling between high and low over time. However, in bipolar II disorder, the “up” moods never reach full-on mania.

In rapid cycling, a person with bipolar disorder experiences four or more episodes of mania or depression in one year. About 10% to 20% of people with bipolar disorder have rapid cycling.

In most forms of bipolar disorder, moods alternate between elevated and depressed over time. But with mixed bipolar disorder, a person experiences both mania and depression simultaneously or in rapid sequence.

Cyclothymia (cyclothymic disorder) is a relatively mild mood disorder. People with cyclothymic disorder have milder symptoms than in full-blown bipolar disorder.

Learn about the bipolar spectrum, what it means, and how bipolar is categorized.

Complications

Self-injury, often referred to as cutting, self-mutilation, or self-harm, is an injurious attempt to cope with overpowering negative emotions, such as extreme anger, anxiety, and frustration. It is usually repetitive, not a one-time act.

Learn about the complications of bipolar disorder during pregnancy and what you need to know about your medications and mania.

Warning Signs

When a person’s illness follows the classic pattern, diagnosing bipolar disorder is relatively easy. But bipolar disorder can be sneaky. Symptoms can defy the expected manic-depressive sequence.

Suicide is a very real risk for people with bipolar disorder, whether they’re in a manic or depressive episode — 10%-15% of people with bipolar disorder kill themselves. But treatment greatly lowers the risk.*The preceding was taken in it’s entirety from Web MD.

     Now, I will not say which site it was, but I did find a site which tried to link sexual orientation to being Bipolar on the grounds that they experience more stress in their environmental situations than others.  I found their beliefs to be very distasteful.  It niggled in the back of my mind that, not so very long ago, alternate sexual orientations were themselves considered to be a form of mental illness.  They aren’t, so let’s not try to saddle them with another mental illness because of “stress” in their environment.  The site gave no corroborating evidence, so I’m dismissing it.  I only felt it fair to put forward this bit of throwback thinking, so that any who stumble across it might also recognize it for what it is:  a smear.  While it may be true that stress is a trigger for the onset of Bipolar Disorder, it does not validate the supposition that one’s alternate sexual orientation is more likely to cause one to be Bipolar.  I’ve had many gay, lesbian and bisexual friends who were much more stable and sure of their inner identity than I’ve ever been.

     Until the previous paragraph, much of what I’ve written has been about what Bipolar Disorder and Clinical Depression are.  I have not said what they are not.  They do not mean you’re crazy.  They are not insurmountable, and they are not something you can “beat” by yourself.  In both cases, you do need a qualified physician to work with you, you do need the correct medications for your condition, and you do need to build a strong network of friends who can/will support you.  However, simply having a doctor to prescribe pills and friends to moan to is not enough.  Just as with any illness, you are responsible for taking control of your treatment.  That means:  1) You must acknowledge you have a problem,  2) You must go to your physician and tell them accurately, truthfully, what is going on with you,  3) You must be honest with your loved ones about your medical diagnosis and treatment (If they don’t want to hear it, do not be too dejected.  Chances are, especially with parents, there is some level of unnecessary guilt or helplessness regarding your suffering.)  4) You need to be honest with your friends about the possible side effects of your medications, so they will understand if something isn’t going well.  Sometimes, your friends know before you do that a medication isn’t working or if it’s causing you more problems.  That doesn’t mean you need to tell every Tom, Dick or Harriet who passes through your life in the grocery checkout,  5) You must take all of your medications as prescribed by your physician.  They won’t do you any good sitting on a shelf.

     Earlier, I directed you to a link to read for yourself the types of Bipolar which create the Bipolar Spectrum.  Just so you know my motivations and from whence they come, I will tell you this:  I am a Bipolar II, Rapid Cycling with Mixed Periods.  Oh, joy!  What fun!  NOT.

     So here I am weeks after writing what is above.  I had no idea when I said I’d write this blog just how hard it would be.  I cannot speak for other people.  I can barely speak for myself.  I have been having difficulty for some time now.  I can only conclude that my medications, for whatever reason, are no longer working as they should.  It happens.  One little change in your body chemistry and your medications, which had been working for years, stop working.  Sometimes environmental/social situations create enough stress to override you medications.  For me, it may be somewhat of both.  I’ve gone into early menopause (which is breaking my heart), and my living situation (specifically my relationship with my father) is deteriorating.  I’ll admit to having thoughts of purging or cutting.  Last week, I was 16 minutes late for my doctor appointment.  I waited 22 minutes to find out whether or not he’d still see me.  His refusal was both loud and humiliating.  He didn’t even care to know why.  My next appointment to see him is in three months.  That means three more months of sleeping all day, crying for no reason, taking abuse from people because I’m an awful person who doesn’t deserve to be treated kindly, not looking in mirrors because what I see is a hideous, fat, ugly failure and all I want to do is break the mirror.  

     The people who used to tell me that none of that is true are gone.  I can’t say as I blame them.  I am well aware that “friendship” with me is quite exhausting.  That’s something I hear from folks who are in relationships with people who are either clinically depressed or bi-polar.  The constant work to keep someone suffering afloat, from falling into the depression or trying to lift them out of the depression is exhausting.  It also often fails, so then comes the cajoling to get them to do something for themselves.  That goes right back to my point for this blog.  When that doesn’t work, comes the giving up.  I have heard from many the same words, “Everyone leaves eventually.” 

     The despair felt on both sides can be excruciating.  That’s why the one afflicted must do something to break the cycle.  That means going to your doctor and saying plainly that there is something wrong.  That means that loved ones may have to make ultimatums to get the loved one to go to the doctor.  It may also mean loved ones telling the the afflicted one’s doctor what’s going on for him/her.  My opinion on that is in favor of the tattling.  If you won’t take care of yourself, and you’re expecting others to take care of you, well, there you go.  They’re looking out for you, taking care of you when you can’t muster the courage and the self-esteem necessary for you to do what you must.  Deal with it, and tell your doctor the missing bits from what your loved one knows, because we all have darker thoughts we haven’t let out to loved ones.  

To the family and friends, don’t try derision strategies to get your loved one to go to the doctor or change some behavior you don’t like.  Certain behaviors are coping mechanisms.  The person afflicted needs a behavioral outlet, which may be the one you want stopped.  Chances are, all you’ll do is feed into the darker thoughts which may, or may not, have been shared with you.  The darker thoughts tend to be along the lines of, “You’d be better off without me.”, or “The world would be better off without me in it.”  If someone starts speaking in terms of ending their life, seek help from your doctor or even your pharmacist immediately to find out what your options are to get forced help for your loved one/friend. While it may be commonly accepted as true that people who talk about suicide won’t do it, you never know when they’ll stop talking or how long it will be before they act once they do stop talking.  It is also true that many who attempt suicide leave notes behind.  If you suspect a loved one or friend is in such a dire condition, look for practice notes, but also be aware that not all leave notes.  Watch for the giving away of personal items which you know hold great personal value to them.  Again, that may not happen.  Listen, listen and listen, and if push comes to shove, get help for yourself.  Some people won’t help themselves no matter what you do or say. 

Now we’re back to what I said earlier about there being no shame in being afflicted or what the affliction may lead you to do before you finally begin to get the help you need.  If you tried and failed, it simply wasn’t your time to die, so use it as a new beginning.  Don’t concern yourself with what other people think.  If there is someone in your personal circle who looks down on you for attempting to find peace from your daily torment, put them away from you, and don’t waste a moment doing it.  They’re more likely to push you back in the direction from which you are trying to escape.  Follow your doctor’s orders.  Also, understand that finding the medication cocktail that is right for you may take time.  Don’t give up.  Keep trying.  Eventually, there will be success.  However, it’s also up to you to find activities that help you to stay focused on the positive.  It’s up to you to learn your body’s signals telling you that a down turn is coming.  When you can see those warning signs, you will be more able to cope with whatever negative feelings and thoughts do come your way. 

Finally, going to a therapist is a really good idea.  It’s most likely it will be in those sessions you will discover the signals you’ll need for knowing a spelling is coming, how bad it will be, and what you’ll need to do in order to get through it.  Also, sessions with your partner, or even your whole family, may be necessary to heal wounds created before your seeking of treatment.  Don’t hide from facing the wounds you inflicted.  You’re the only one who can heal them.

     In the end, you’re the only one who can heal yourself, save yourself.  There is no shame in being a survivor!

(If any of you readers feel I’ve missed something, or that certain aspects should be expanded upon, please let me know in the comments section.)
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Failing the Nine Noble Virtues

      I have become painfully aware that I am falling down on the job.  All of you good people ‘Liked’ this page on Facebook in support of me, and because just maybe, I might have something interesting to say.  For all the lovely support, what have I done?  Lately, I’ve done buptkiss.

     Of the Nine Noble Virtues, in the last week, I have failed:  Courage, Industriousness, Self Reliance and Perseverance.

1)  Courage:  My last blog went very well, and it got reposted to places I don’t even know.  As I see it, of course it did!  Kjell Braaten is a very interesting person.  He’s done more in his life to follow his dreams than I have imagined doing to follow my dreams.  I found myself fearing that my following blogs would see people leaving because I couldn’t write a blog good enough to hold the collective attention of you good people.  It’s that very fear that has kept me from becoming a serious writer, from writing my first book.  Even worse, what if my first book were good?  Would I be able to write a second book as good as the first?  The fears of a fool!  For only a fool doesn’t write the first book for fear of the second not measuring up to the success of the first written book!

It’s the same with this blog.  Either I write the damn thing or I don’t, but not writing it because of fear?  That’s failure for no reason.  It doesn’t even qualify as an excuse.  Courage:  FAIL

2)  Industriousness:  I’ve made no secret of being seriously Bipolar.  The doctors, who are supposed to know what they’re doing, have tacked on a few more “complications” to the medical condition, but all they know to do is throw pills at it and have me “talk” to a therapist.  That’d be all well and good if the pills didn’t have the lovely side effect of erasing bits and blocks from my memory and make me anything from loopy to asleep between doses.  Plus, even with insurance, I can’t afford to talk to a therapist, so who do I have to talk to?  ME!  From what I understand, people talking to themselves isn’t a such a good sign of having all oars in the water.  Duh.  I already know I not only don’t have all my oars in the water, but I’m short a few of them, too.

What does this have to do with Industriousness?  A whole lot.  If you’re sleeping, you can’t possibly be accomplishing much.  If you begin dwelling on it, you wind up curled in a ball contemplating what you’re supposed to be doing, but you just can’t seem to harness the energy to get out of bed, not even to write the blog you committed yourself to.  Which is completely daft because your laptop is three inches from the top of your head as it’s at the head of your bed for ease of access!  From your position, you can also see the clay for making runes (none made), the wood for making runes (a few blanks cut and sanded), and one of the four sets of wood carving knives for carving Mjölnir and other decorative things regarding Ásatrú (nothing carved).  Yeah.  I’ve been really busy collecting things for projects which never get started,  I’m not exactly what you’d call a self-starter or one who likes to do things alone.

Sure, I do have the goats and the chickens, and I do work with them.  However, they don’t take up nearly enough of my day to be and excuse or “reason” for not doing all of the other things I’m set up to do but don’t. Industriousness:  FAIL

3)  Self Reliance:  I have also made it no secret that I have a very small income which comes solely from the ever-growing cluster f*ck of bureaucracy known as our government.  It’s an income which can be held hostage by the whims of one person who does not know nor care about me or my real needs.  That’s not right.  Yes.  I do have physical disabilities.  Yes.  I do have chemical imbalances.  However…I know deeply inside that if I weren’t failing on Courage and Industriousness I’d have more funds at my disposal.  I assure you, those funds would be strictly mine for the use of furthering my family’s ability to succeed in these difficult times.

I mentioned earlier that I have goats and chickens.  Next year, the girls will be bred.  I’ve had some people tell me they can be bred now, as they are old enough,  I know that, but I want to make sure my two girls are truly fully mature.  Their mammas threw twins and triplets the first time out.  They were healthy afterwards, and despite the tiny size of the triplets, they all thrived.  I will have the same good health for my Reese and Maya.  Next year will mean lots of milk and home-made cheese, but that’s next year.  I’m talking about this year.  I’m talking about NOW.

As for my chickens…I didn’t plan that so well.  I have a hodge podge variety of birds with the small ones out numbering the big ones.  I tried to help out a friend who’d ordered a large number of Blue Silky Bantams through the mail.  I took ten of the fluffy things I affectionately call The Mob.  Unfortunately, of the ten bitties, I got six males.  They are: Draven, Not Draven, Wish You Were Draven, Surprise, Awshit and Areyoukiddingme?  In the next few days, I’ll be posting laminated banners for selling the eggs my girls lay.  I’ll also be putting up posters to sell a few of my roos.  I’m sure they’ed taste good, but I can’t eat anything I’ve named.  That’s why every single one of the broiler chickens I will be buying with the egg money will be called ‘Dinner’.  In the mean time, Self Reliance: FAIL

4)  Perseverance:  I’m rather thinking that most of the above demonstrates how well I’ve done with Perseverance.  I’m looking around me at the closet explosion I really did mean to take care of months ago.  There are the tools I meant to put up, too.  You know, the tools I meant to use.  I see the books my Mother has bought me because I don’t have the money to buy them myself, and I’m also looking at the two NetFlix movies I need to send back.  NetFlix…a Luxury expense in the midst of my NeedsHowever, the worst thing is indicated by the lack of pictures of me on my FB profile…my weight.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve started a diet and stopped.  I wonder how many of you can relate to this one.  I need to exercise more, but I need to lose weight first because of my past injuries.  Now that’s what’s called a “Catch 22”.  You need to do the other first, but you can’t do the other unless you do the former first.  I’ve finally decided to talk to my doctor about medical intervention.  So much for Self Reliance there, huh?  I’ve got to do something though.  I have one helluva high pain thresh hold, but extra movement, much less anything that could be deemed exercise, does me in with muscle spasms that leave me unable to stand up straight.  They’re so bad other people can see the large lumps of the spasms through my clothing.  One doctor suggested an epidural pain block.  If that’ll really help, sign me up! But in the mean time, for Perseverance:  FAIL

      I must admit that writing a blog based on my failures in living the Nines has felt weird, but it’s been as honest as I can make it.  We talk about that (living by the NNV) a lot in the different threads.  Some people claim to live by the Nines, but their lives are a mess.  Others claim to live by the Nines, but the things they say in the threads show they have an odd idea of what the Nines are.  Some claim to live by the Nines, yet they say one thing in one thread and something else in another.  I know that other folks have different names for each aspect of the NNV, but when you read the definition of what each of their NNV’s are, they all are still basically the core values of the next person’s NNV’s, and the previous person’s NNV’s, too.  It’s a shame to fight over them.

      The point of my writing this may not be clear.  Yes.  It’s about my failures, but it’s also about the fact that all of us fail at one time or another.  Sometimes we fail at one of the NNV’s, and sometimes we fail at a few of them.  The point is recognizing the ones at which we’re failing, and doing something about it.  I’m still a little vague in my own mind for plans to overcome what I perceive as my biggest failures, but for others I’ve got long range plans.  Monday I’ll be talking to my doctor about one plan that will have to last my lifetime.  Wow.  That will certainly be a test of my Perseverance, quite possibly of my Courage, too.  In the mean time, I need to get off of my dead as to live Industriousness and Self Reliance the way I should be.  The only thing stopping me is me. 

What’s stopping you?

Update:
Last night, something got my precious roo, Draven.  He was the first of my six roos to mature, and he’s the one I laughed at (and I must admit I coached) during his first attempts to crow.  Whatever got him didn’t do it without a fight.  We figure it got him because he’d have been the one to challenge the intruder, protecting the others.  It was either a large raccoon or possibly a bobcat.  Whatever it was, it was big enough to carry him away cleanly.  I heard something in the tree over my head last night when I went out to close the coop.  I thought it was tree rats, but it might have been what got Draven.  Anyway, I hope whatever took him was a mamma in need of feeding her babes.  Of course, I blame myself for not going outside sooner.  From now on, nothing will distract/delay me from that chore.  It also means from now on, I must go outside armed.  Anything big enough to carry him off cleanly is big enough to challenge me.  I’ve no desire to tangle with a possibly rabid raccoon and have it get away to challenge any of our dogs, cats or children living nearby. 

Posted in Heathen, Stuff, Thoughts, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Who in the World is Kjell Braaten?

Kjell Braaten is a 35 year old musician who lives in Sarpsborg, Norway.  He’s a performer of several genres and many accomplishments.  In his own words, “I make music that I think is missing from my collection.”

Me:  Kjell, sometime when you get a chance, and we’re both on here at the same time, I’d like to ‘interview’ you for my blog.  It would be on both my Facebook blog and my WordPress blog.

 Kjell:  Of course! I guess I can be here late tonight:)

Me:  That would be great. I wouldn’t mind if we had to do it in stages to fit your schedule.

Kjell:  Thanx:) I’m “home alone” at the moment, Rina and the kids are in Denmark with my mom… so time comes my way:)

Me:  I’m sure it’s the typical sort of interview you’ve done before.  When did you first become a musician?  How long have you been playing the various instruments you play?  How do you decide when you sit down in which genre you’re going to write?  Or have you already decided?  Are you one of those musicians who hears parts of songs in your head and then has to wait for a song in which it will fit or do you use that bit as the basis for a new song?  That sort of thing.  I hope to have questions you haven’t been asked before.  Honestly, I have some curiosity of my own.  I understand that Sverdet is meant to honor King Olaf, but I have some Norwegian friends who do not see him as a hero of the people.  I’m wondering what you think about that.  If you don’t want to address that, okay.  I do plan to promote your album,  Sverdet, and anything else you want attention drawn to. 

Kjell:  Here are some answers to the interview….If you wonder about anything, just ask:)

1: When did you first become a musician?

Well… I started out playing organ at the age of… eh… seven?  But that didn’t captivate me, so I started playing tuba in the local school band when I was eight.  At the age of eighteen, I
was playing in several school bands and other classical related projects.  I was working as a teacher in some school bands, and already then, I had papers as both instructor (teacher) and conductor.
Then, I applied for a sound engineering school in Oslo (Norsk lydskole, now NISS (Nordic Institution for Scene and Studio).

But back to the question… I guess I was a musician already before I saw the earthly light. My mom used to play music and sing for me while she still was carrying me, and I always used anything I could to make sounds, all from the start.

2: How long have you been playing the various instruments you play?

Hmm… It’s a bit hard to remember with all these weird instruments I play, but as I said earlier, I started playing tuba at the age of eight.  My grandparents gave me a guitar for Christmas when I was about ten.

When I was eighteen, I had a total breakdown musically.  One of the big bands in Norway called me, and asked if I was interested in moving to Oslo to play with them.  My reaction was probably very wrong, but I suddenly got the thought: “If you put a note cheat in front of me, I can play almost anything, but if you take it away, I don’t know what to do.”  So I quit the classical stuff, and bought a four track tape recorder, a drum machine, a reverb unit and a microphone and started out making noise, ambient soundscapes and other sounds as far away from regular note cheats as I could get.  I took back my childhood attitude, “I can make music with anything!”  That was the start of what I am doing these days.  My weird stuff got me in touch with the Origami network for underground artists, and THANK YOU ORIGAMI REPUBLIKA, I started to build a new way into the music scene (probably the hardest way you can find).  I started to work with electronics (mainly self-made or edited), and I started to produce my own music (and some for friends).  I did all I came over.  Theatre music, music for exhibitions, lots of improvisation, loads of different projects, releases and gigs all the time.  I actually have no clue how many albums I’m on or how many gigs I’ve done (I missed out after about twenty- five or thirty releases and about a hundred gigs).  It all came to be what I call “the black hole of Oslo”, but after a whole lot of time in there, I came out the other end with loads and loads of experience, a whole lot of instruments from around the world and many ideas….

3: How do you decide when you sit down in which genre you’re going to write? Or have you already decided? Are you one of those musicians who hears parts of songs in your head and then has to wait for a song in which it will fit, or do you use that bit as the basis for a new song?

I guess… All of the above… Except that I ruined my memory during my time in Oslo, so I never remember all those melodies in my head.  If I’m not able to record them at once – they’re gone.  It’s a matter of what state of mind I’m in.
Sometimes (with the more “serious” stuff) I know what to do, and sometimes I just dig down to my well of sounds to see what’s there for me.

4: I understand that Sverdet is meant to honor King Olaf, but I have some Norwegian friends who do not see him as a hero of the people. I’m wondering what you think about that.

Well, Sverdet is a play based on King Olav and Baesing (the sword) written by a local writer from Sarpsborg.  Olav founded sarpsBORG back in 1016, and this was his capital city.  I got the job to write the music based on my knowledge about music in the Viking and medieval times, and my experience from working with theatre and soundscapes.   I think Olav (St. Olav) was a blood thirsty bastard that used Christianity and paganism to rule.  He wanted to be the great king of the north no matter what, and he spared no means.  He killed, plundered and forced people into his beliefs, but if you see the way he worked, I do wonder how deep his Christian belief did go.  He didn’t actually follow the ten commandments!

The play Sverdet is meant to honor him, but during the three years I’ve had the music, we have made it show more of what he probably really was, a man with a plan, and almost the force to realize it.  If he hadn’t killed his allies in anger, he would probably have fulfilled his quest of one big Christian nation, but he used all the force of heathen gods to do so.

Me:  Wonderful replies! I’m not going to ask you to elaborate on how you ruined your memory.  5. How many instruments do you make, and how did you get into doing that portion of creating music?  6. I’ve noticed that you’ve posted a request on FB for folks to listen to one of your songs in progress for suggestions about how to make the ending better (I’ve already put in my two cents worth.) Is that something you’ve done before, and if so does it actually help?

Kjell:  ?: I’m not going to ask you to elaborate on how you ruined your memory.

 I have no problems with that (except from the memory).  I’ve made some bad choices.  It never went really bad, but still it ruined my memory…. But it’s done, and now I have learned from it.  That’s the most important part to me.  We all go down some dark pathways, but it’s up to every single one of us if we choose to learn from them or not.
    “We can learn from reading, but wisdom comes with experience and reflection.” (Wonderful quote from Kjell.)

5: How many instruments do you make, and how did you get into doing that portion of creating music?

… … … I have made lots…
Mainly, my thing is frame drums, but I have also made other drum, flutes, blow horns and lyres, and a well of weird things like “steel ruler chimes”, “firewood marimba”, “Angelica didgeridoo” and “installation pipe flute”.  It came when I had my musical “breakdown” when I was about eighteen.  I needed new sounds and was all broke….  After I entered the viking- scene, I started to do it more “serious” , and I started to make copies of “real” instruments.

6. I’ve noticed that you’ve posted a request on FB for folks to listen to one of your songs in progress for suggestions about how to make the ending better (I’ve already put in my two cents worth.) Is that something you’ve done before, and if so does it actually help?

Kjell:  Yes, I have another “work in progress” at my profile, but no replies…
But this time you had a good idea, and I’m going to try it later today -Thank you☺

From my point of view this is a way of including my fans in what I do, and at the same time, it can help me to learn new ways of thinking when I compose.  I don’t know everything about my music, but together with my fans, I can learn much, much more.☺

You don’t have to know lots about music to help. If you have an idea, come with it – Even if I don’t use it, it helps me to learn.  You don’t need to know all the difficult words and rules about music.   I work in pictures…I paint music…I make rooms, atmospheres and moods, not scheduled mathematical calculations.  To me “You need more earth in there.”, or “The sky should be brighter.” gives meaning musically.  That’s how I make my landscapes….  A reverbed flute can easily represent fog.  A deep moving, but steady bass-sound can be the mountain, but if it comes and goes, it could be thunder….

Me:  As for not asking you to elaborate on your memory problem, I meant I wasn’t going to pry into that part of your business.  Thank you for answering anyway. ♥

Kjell: ☺ 

Me:  And now my phone is playing obnoxious country music at me to wake up to start my day!  By the way, it wouldn’t matter if it were Mozart.   Any music used to wake me up gets dubbed as “obnoxious”. LOL

Kjell:  Hehe:)

Me:   7. You spoke of the “viking-scene”, what have you done, musically and personally, that is “viking”?  I mean besides Sverdet?

Kjell:   7: You spoke of the “viking-scene”…What have you done, musically and personally, that is “viking”?  I mean besides Sverdet?

 I started doing “Viking” back in 2000, when there were just a few of us traveling around. Since then, I have performed music, lectured about music in the ancient north and made copies of instruments from that time.  When I lecture, I make it as a performance with stories and humor to make it interesting for the children (and of course their parents).

Unfortunately, It’s quite time-demanding and expensive to make good instruments, and people would rather buy cheaper machine made stuff than expensive handcrafts.  For the performances: the audience pays to get in, so they shouldn’t have to pay extra for the show, but the markets never pay the artists based on what they deserve.  So…I have to make other priorities now.☹

Me:  8. That’s quite understandable!  What sorts of things (jobs) do you do to make ends meet?  9. How did you develop your merchandise design, and how did it wind up tatted on your arm? Which came first? The use for your merchandise or the tat on your arm?
10. Has having merchandise through a support service like ReverbNation helped you earn money for your personal financial bottom line?  You have some nice looking things in your “store”, and I must admit, I’ve very much enjoyed the hoodie I ordered. (There’s a silly vid of me ‘modeling’ my hoodie on my profile.)  Kjell Braaten’s ReverbNation Store

Kjell:  8. That’s quite understandable! What sorts of things (jobs) do you do to make ends meet?
Well, I work with disadvantaged youngsters, mostly teenagers.  We take care of and help those that the child welfare doesn’t want.  We try to give them a pathway back into the society, so they can be a part of it, not a burden for it, for the world around them.  If you just stock them away, they will shrink down to a little ball that swallows our tax money, but with a little help, they can come back to the society to live a normal quality life like the rest of us.

9. How did you develop your merchandise design, and how did it wind up tatted on your arm? Which came first? The use for your merchandise or the tat on your arm?

Well, I’m not a designer, but I did make it myself.  The tat is a drawing I made of Pan, the guardian of the forest, a long time ago.  I started to use it as my personal mark about fifteen years ago, but it didn’t get to my arm before three years ago with the help of Tic at Phi Phi island in Thailand.  He was ticked into my arm with a bamboo stick, a method worthy of Pan. 😉


10. Has having merchandise through a support service like ReverbNation helped you earn money for your personal financial bottom line?  You have some nice looking things in your “store”, and I must admit, I’ve very much enjoyed the hoodie I ordered.

Thank you☺
No, not really.  It’s there, but people don’t buy things that way.  When I have a live set and time for a tour, I will bring some with me, and then maybe I sell some….

Me:  11. I know I’ve concentrated on your career.  I must admit to being hesitant to bring up your personal life.  We’ve spoken as friends on and off for awhile now, so I know some. Is there anything about your personal life you’d like to add about how it has brought you to this point in your life?

Kjell:  11: I know I’ve concentrated on your career. I must admit to being hesitant to bring up your personal life. We’ve spoken as friends on and off for awhile now, so I know some. Is there anything about your personal life you’d like to add about how it has brought you to this point in your life?

Well, THAT’s a big topic…
Of course, that’s a whole lot.  It would take pages up and down to explain.  Every thing you experience takes you to a new level in the circle of life.  That is, if you´re open for it….
Every little step you take brings you further.  Some are big and some are small, but you need them all just as much to get the puzzle together.

Me:  Your answer to question 11. is very true.  I guess we should leave that subject alone.

Me:  Thank you, Kjell, for spending this time with me. I do truly appreciate it. *HUGS!*

Kjell:  You’re welcome:)

PS:  My last question actually came some hours after the interview was over.  Actually, there were two questions, but I just wanted to verify a fact with the other one.

Me:  I saw on your profile a pic of a write up with your picture on it.  How does it feel when you see something about you and your work?

Kjell:  It always feels good to see those coming. 🙂

I’ll bet it does, Hon.  I’ll bet it does!

Kjell Braaten’s Facebook profile

Posted in Interviews, music, Thoughts, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Just a Little Cranky…And Definitely Unfair

Okay, so here’s blog number two, and it’s going to be all apologies.

I’m thinking the best way to begin this is with two apologies. First, I really must, and I deeply do, apologize to those people I “chose specifically” to invite to my Facebook blog page (the one that’s connected to this blog) for various and sundry reasons that sounded good in my head at about 4AM. Those folks to whom I’m referring would be the folks I barbed in my status on my profile page. It wasn’t a nice thing to do, even if I didn’t name any names. My feelings were hurt (a condition I need to work on curing), and I am aware that maybe some of them just haven’t had the chance to respond, because they haven’t gotten it yet. I already know of one such person. He’s on tour with his band, and it’s their very first tour. He definitely has more important things with which to keep his mind occupied. It also wasn’t fair to the other folks on my list of Facebook Friends because it was a rather rude introduction to them that I have a Facebook blog page, and that they weren’t amongst the first to be invited to it. Again, at 4AM, a lot of ideas are not a person’s best, and that was definitely a bad decision. My delivery of that information was also, let’s say it together, “Piss poor.”

To you, my Facebook Friends whom I’ve treated so poorly, I most humbly apologize. Without all of you, I wouldn’t have had the courage to even try this. Without you, there would have been no point to this endeavor at all.

I humbly entreat your forgiveness,
Rune Believer

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Hello World!

Hello World!

Not a very original beginning I know, but at about 4AM, you’re not going to get much out of me.  I just registered my very own, as well as my very first, domain.  I went to it’s controls, and quite honestly, I didn’t understand a bit of it.  That tells me I’d better ask a friend how it works.  Truthfully, I followed a link from her blog to get here.  SO…if you’re Heathen you might want to head over to her blog for a much more interesting read than mine.  http://livingbull.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/if-you-love-your-house-wight-it-will-love-you-back/  This is going to be a work-in-progress with a really big learning curve as I go.

I’m going to be honest with you here, I’m bipolar as hell, and I’m on some mind degenerative medications.  My doctor suggested I do puzzles and crosswords to help slow down the nasty downhill processes I’m facing the longer I’m on the meds, but I hate crosswords, I’m not all that fond of puzzles, and I’m sick to death of word searches.  This is going to take the place of those.  I may have interesting things to say from time to time, but it’s more likely you’ll find yourself wondering what the hell I find so interesting about my goats and my chickens, or why I so very admire vultures.  Not only do I love to watch them riding on the thermals, but I will pull to the shoulder of the road to retrieve their meal for them.  It’s simply too dangerous for them to have to keep dodging cars just to clean up our mess.  Let’s face it, without them, we’d all be arse deep in road kill.  I’m rather short, so I might be in it deeper.  Did you know they require a minimum of 6 feet of space to take off?  When you see them run/hopping before taking off, it’s not because they’re too stupid to just fly away, but they are genuinely trying to take off.  It just takes them a bit.

Anyway, here I am World!  I’m going to give this my best shot.  We’ll all see together as time passes, if I’m going to be any good at this blogging thing.  Also, please bear with me as I relearn all the rules of punctuation I have had little need for since graduating college.  I dragged out a dusty old textbook to read, so maybe I’ll stop with the run-on sentences, and start putting commas where they belong, too.  Maybe.

So peace out, folks.  I’ll be back in a few days, if not sooner.

This is Rune Believer going to bed.

PS:  I never made it to bed before the alarm went off! ;-p

Posted in Heathen, Interviews, Nature, Stuff, Thoughts | 1 Comment