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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

A Little of This, A Bit of That

"Find a place inside where there is joy, and the joy will burn out the pain." ~Joseph Campbell,  Author, American professor of Literature and Myth, 1904-1987

   It has been awhile since I last posted. I am not experiencing a lot of inspirational things in life lately; just digging in with fingernails and hanging on. I've recovered from five weeks of Shingles followed a week later by a gall bladder attack that required emergency surgery to remove it, followed the next day by a second surgery to sweep gall stones from my bile duct. The pain was far worse than any labor pains I had and I hope to never hurt like that again.
   Doors appear to open to me and then are suddenly slammed shut in my face. I've moved down to Pullman, Washington in October in anticipation of a job which I interviewed for and was told would be mine permanently in May--a contract leading up to May was signed, and then a registered letter arrived three weeks after I settled in, paid for a post office box, had all of my belongings brought down to a storage shed in Moscow, Idaho, and registered with a local GP and dentist, to say the offer had been rescinded due to upheavals down the line, etc. etc. so here I am getting ready to move again. To say I am tired, and depressed, and finding little joy in life is an understatement, however...
   I have found a few things that delight me and so I shall share them in the hopes they might delight others as well.

1. As hurricane season was barreling its way across the Atlantic in August I came across a cracking good web app which produces a globe of the world and shows current wind, weather, ocean, and pollution conditions, as forecast by supercomputers, on an interactive animated map updated every three hours. It is a nifty thing to watch as the world's air and water currents move continually. Hurricanes, typhoons, or cyclones depending on where you are around the globe appear with pink to red wind and water currents. To view and download the web app, click Here. It has served as an invaluable tool in explaining British weather to Americans!
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2. One evening I came across a video of a smashing group of musicians and singers. Post Modern Jukebox takes old classics, 90's Motown, hip-hop, doo-wop ballads of the 50's and early 60's, and modern songs by folks such as Bono and U2, Billy Idol, Sam Cook, Jackson Five, Roy Orbison, Elton John, Aerosmith, Guns and Roses, Beyonce and Rihanna, and reinterprets them in several different genres covering seventy decades of distinctive music styles such as ragtime, straight ahead jazz standards, gospel and blues, and doo-wop. Begun by Scott Bradlee, there are over fifty singers and musicians with whom he works to bring his interpretation of music to the world. You can visit PMJ's website for more details including concert dates in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. These are two of my favorites: Lovefool, and All About the Bass.

3. Another find during an evening of web surfing brought me to a page selling porcelain and stoneware, but not just any old pattern; no this is called Calamityware! The plates, cups, saucers, mugs, bowls and platters at first glance appear to be copying the Blue Willow style of chinoiserie so popular back in 1790 by Spode. Look closer though and astonishing shapes jump out of the blue patterning: robots run a-muck, dinosaurs lurk, pterodactyls swoop, sea monsters rise from the depths, the Kraken stretches out many legs, vortices spin, active volcanoes spew, pirate ships appear in the background, plagues of frogs rise from the shrubbery, Sasquatch runs across an open section of porcelain, and zombie poodles balance on their haunches! Should the money and the need for new dishware ever cross paths in my life again, this is the dinnerware I want! Calamityware also sells aprons, place mats, scarves, wall paper, sketchbooks and playing cards with various calamitous creatures on them.

4. With my re-connection to Neill Public Library in Pullman, Washington I discovered a delightful new mystery author, Charles Finch. His Lenox mysteries run to twelve in number and take place in Victorian era England. Charles Lenox is a gentleman, son and brother of Baronets, educated at Harrow, and expected to follow his wealthy line into politics but he cannot stop his fascination with solving crimes and becomes England's first "modern" crime detective. This series is written by an American of privilege, educated at Phillips Academy and Yale University, where he majored in English and History. Finch also holds a master's degree in Renaissance English Literature from Merton College, Oxford. One would not know his American birth however as his books capture London and Victorian era England perfectly. It is only in book 11 Finch betrays his American heritage in print, but the clue is extremely subtle and only someone who is looking for it will find it! Below are the covers of the first four books in the series. 

A Beautiful Blue Death: The First Charles Lenox Mystery (Charles Lenox Mysteries Book 1)The September Society (Charles Lenox Mysteries Book 2)The Fleet Street Murders (Charles Lenox Mysteries Book 3)A Stranger in Mayfair: A Mystery (Charles Lenox Mysteries Book 4)

5. Food wise life has been topsy-turvy with several Crohn's flare ups over the summer and fall.  I've found two delicious items at the Moscow Food Co-op and both are available online in the USA anyway. The first is Karam's Garlic Sauce, a blend of garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and love!

The second food item is an amazing organic smoked soft goat's cheese from Amatheia Organic Dairy in Bozeman, Montana. It is divine on crackers and soars when stuffed inside a chicken breast with afresh Basil leaf, the chicken then wrapped in Parma Ham or Turkey ham in my case, seared for 4 minutes on each side in a really hot pan of butter and then finished off in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 F. This cheese will carry to heights of rapture when spread on a bagel in lieu of cream cheese and topped with smoked salmon. Mmmm!

smoked chevrepic.jpg

   Finally, I learned this month something which I must share: the deadly side effects of the antibiotic Cipro or Ciprofloxacin. I am allergic to at least a dozen pharmaceutical drugs and most antibiotics. During the two days I was in hospital for emergency gall bladder surgeries, I was put on a continuous IV alternating Cipro and Flagyl until I developed an allergic reaction to them both, with red raised, blistered patches on both cheeks directly under my eyes, and on my nose which was swollen. I have been left with faint scarring on both cheeks--a pink streak as though a painter brushed both sides of my face with a daub of pink. While the surgeries took place on September 7th and 8th, I am still struggling for breath, although it has improved. I could not figure out why this was occurring.  Now I know it is a complication of Cipro use.
   Last week I slept wrong and put the left side of my neck and some of my bones in my left clavicle out of place, developing Vertigo. I called the chiropractor I used to see when I lived here at Cloudhouse. He graciously squeezed me in and after looking at x-rays of my neck and spine, Dr. Carnahan asked me if I had taken any antibiotics recently. I told him about the Cipro and Flagyl and he said he couldn't give me an adjustment because Cipro causes a weakening of the tendons and a simple adjustment could tear a tendon in my neck causing me serious long term health issues. I was gobsmacked! Dr. Carnahan gave up his massage appointment for the next morning and I had a one hour massage that loosened things up enough for my bones to slowly move back to where they belonged. It turns out the Cipro can also damage one's mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited from our mothers. It is the energy furnace in every one of our cells. This would also explain why I feel exhausted all the time, and have no energy. I seem to be exhibiting most of the side effects of this drug. Forewarned is forearmed. Now you know too and can advocate for yourself should it be necessary.
   I will be planning my move to Gresham, Oregon between Thanksgiving and Christmas and hope to have a more uplifting post to share. Until then, I hope everyone has a lovely winter holiday--whichever one you celebrate. Bright blessings!


Tracy steiner said...

You always come up with the most interesting things. I have taken both Cipro and Flagyl. Not for a long time though. It is getting dark early now. The cold doesn’t bother me. It’s the darkness. I am for the most part doing ok. Knees are better and trying to diet.

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Thank you Tracy, high praise indeed from one of the most interesting people it is my pleasure to know. It os quite astonishing the flotsam and jetsom that washes up on the Internet!

I concur: it was never the cold that bothered me either when I lived in Alaska; it was the terrible descending darkness seemingly without cease for months on end that ate away at my state of mind. I am glad to read you are all right and taking care of yourself.

Happy birthday early!! A. card is in the mail to you.

Love Jaq xxx

Jennie said...

Hi Jaq, To say that Chris and I were dumbfounded by your news is an understatement. We are both so sorry to hear that the job that seemed so perfect on so many levels has been rescinded. Take care. Love and hugs Jennie and Chris xx ps we enjoyed all the other interesting details. xx

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Jennie and Chris, I felt as though I had been slapped across the face when I opened that is their loss and yes it was a near perfect fit for me, and them. I'm glad you enjoyed the bits and bobs.

Love and hugs to you both,

Jaq xxx

nb Bonjour said...

Hi Jaq, good to have another Biggs blog, even if some of the news is exasperatingly crap. we've done less cruising than usual this year because of my ongoing treatment but I'm glad to say they don't want to see me again for a year, whihch I'm very glad about. Best wishes for your health improvement, and thanks for the info about Flagyl and Cipro
love Debby xx

Carol said...

Hi Jaq, so sorry and pretty angry too to hear about your job being reminded, the last thing you needed. Sorry too to hear about the bouts of hospital treatment you've had to endure over the past few months and the terrible trials that have ensured due to those treatments and hope that you are now feeling somewhat better. We hope too that your move to Oregon goes without mishaps. I love 'All about the Bass', got it as my ringtone on my phone! Lots of love and hugs to you from George and me. xx

Judith nb Serena said...

Another interesting and informative post. Sorry to hear about the job being recinded, know how it feels. Had it happen to me once just as I was going to hand in my notice for the job I was in. Hope your move goes well. Fingers crossed something else will turn up soon. I love the blue pottery, a very modern theme on a vintage design. Hope your healing continues, sorry you've had such a rough time.
Judith nb Serena

Mike on GARNET said...

Lawdy, Jaq, and I only have to worry about daily multiple face plants!
New marina, got to break a new staff to my party little trick, so far no major problems.
Jaq, just keep fighting!

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Debby,
I know how frustrating it is to be constrained from cruising by illness, treatments, and weather in the mix. That is such good news to hear your health has improved enough to allow a year's break in medical consultations. I am happy if any of my first hand knowledge with Cipro helps someone else.

I look forward to reading future posts about cruises!!!
Hugs to you both!

Love Jaq xxx

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Carol,

Thank you. I was shocked and grieving over the job as it was perfect for me and I was an excellent fit there. It is what it is...

In Gresham I will be surrounded by people who love me dearly, and whose company I enjoy. My three girls as I think of them ( my youngest daughter Sparky, her wife Kelli, and their flat mate Mary) are fab and we all get on well together. We make each other laugh-- something that has been missing in my life since Les died.

I am not at all surprised you have All About the Bass as a ringtone on Your phone! Carol you and George are two of the hippest people I know!!

Love Jaq xxx

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Judith,
I had no idea things like that occurred. I am sorry to hear you've experienced it too.

I love the whimsy in the Calamityware patterns! Can you imagine the look of surprise at supper when guests began eating and uncovered those scenes??

I hope you and John are keeping in fine fettle.

Love Jaq xxx

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Mike,

Hopefully you little trick is diminishing somewhat with cooler weather. Once the marina staff get to know you and Phill they will love you as do I.

NB Garnet certainly did clean up well with her new paint job and cratch cover. She looks crisp and new.

Love Jaq xxx

Chris said...

Hi Jaq, so sorry to hear about your gall bladder and trials of reaction to antibiotics - I do hope you are getting better still
What bad luck with that job; must admit I'm confused about it all and your various moves - Pullman, Moscow and now Gresham
Its probably not helped by my lack of knowledge about where those places are
I should get the map out!
Life goes on here; it's that cold miserable time of year and its been nothing but

Chris said...

Something happened there to cut off my comment! All I could do was send it mid sentence
Sending you all best wishes and hoping things pick up for you now
Chris and Andy (who is doing alright) xccx

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs