Category Archives: Uncategorized

Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder is a serious, pervasive condition in which symptoms are overwhelming and debilitating.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, symptoms include a despondent state “as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad, empty, hopeless) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful)”; noticeably reduced interest or gratification in all, or almost all, activities; a substantial decrease in weight without dieting or increase in weight, or diminished or increased in appetite nearly every day; an inability to sleep or excessive sleeping; lethargy or decreased vigor; feelings of inadequacy or disproportionate/ inappropriate self-reproach; reduced capacity to think or concentrate, or uncertainty; persistent thoughts of death, intermittent suicidal ideation without a particular plan, or a suicide attempt or a definite plan for achieving suicide. Five or more of the aforementioned symptoms must be present most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks. Symptoms must also cause significant difficulties functioning in daily life (American Psychiatric Association 2013.

A person with this disorder would appear listless, exhausted or uncaring. S/he might have red, glassy or wet looking eyes, with a lack of focus and the tendency to be downcast or avoiding eye contact. General appearance would likely be unkempt with an obvious lack of interest in self-care. Movements are sluggish and appear slow or exaggerated. Speech may be muted, slow and lacking in expressiveness. The person might seem bored or irritated in conversation. My former physician of 20 years (before retirement) notated in my medical record that I was experiencing MDD when I had little to report as happening in my life, as compared with a previous visit. 

I do not think the media has sensationalized the disorder, but coverage is far from unbiased.  Depression is heavily stigmatized as laziness or attention seeking behavior or it is summarily dismissed as a flaw in perception. Even if depression is acknowledged, the individual is expected to “snap out of it” or change the way he or she thinks. I cannot support this assessment with any specific examples other than my own experience, with nurses, friends and social media. 

Medication has been shown to be an effective treatment for MDD. 

According to Barlow and Durand, “[f]our basic types of antidepressant medications are used to treat depressive disorders: selective-serotonin reuptake inhibi– tors (SSRIs), mixed reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors” (2014, p. 246). They go on to say that approximately half of the patients prescribed antidepressants find some relief, while half of those achieve normal or nearly normal levels of functioning (Barlow and Durand, 2014, p. 247)

 

 

American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition [Ebrary Reader version] Retrieved from http://dsm.psychiatryonline.org.proxy.cecybrary.com/doi/full/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596.dsm04#BCFEJHED

 

Barlow D.H. & M. Durand (2014).  Abnormal Psychology: An Integrative Approach, zSeventh Edition [Ebrary Reader version] Retrieved from https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781285755618/cfi/246!/4/4@0.00:0.00

 

Simply: A New Favorite Meal

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This is a simple one, and I find it to be extremely enjoyable!

Ingredients:

  • 1 c Multi-grain rice
  • 1 c cubed polenta
  • 1 small eggplant, cubed
  • 1/4 c diced onion
  • 1 diced tomatillo
  • sea salt
  • course ground pepper
  • cumin

Directions:

  • Prepare rice as directed
  • Preheat broiler or convection oven to broiler (my method of choice)
  • While rice is cooking, combine polenta and vegetables on a small baking sheet, sprinkle with spices
  • Broil vegetables and polenta for 15 minutes
  • By this time, the rice should be done.
  • Combine a serving of each and enjoy!

My First Tarot Video!

Basic Reading:

Today’s tarot reading will be regarding the general state of my world and we will be using the expanded Celtic cross layout.

The first card which represents the inquirer, me, is the six of swords, which signifies travel across water or a move from one place to another. There could be visits from distant friends or family, Any move I make will have positive magical uses. This card is useful when making major choices in my life.

The second card which represents helpful forces around me is the queen of swords which means that if I can bring forth my willpower to cope with emotionally trying events, I will undergo positive growth.

The third card which represents the oppositional forces around me, is the magician. S/he represents a person who has the ability to draw psychic energy from the universe. A student especially in the arts having the self control and determination to reach a goal. This is an excellent time to make certain that thought and energies flow in harmony.

The fourth card which is the hanged man represents present happenings or frame of mind. It means everything is frozen. A barrier in my life keeps me from moving forward, Living through tremendously stressful conditions but managing to survive by waiting for the right time.

The fifth card which represents my subconscious feelings is the sun. Continued courage and persistence will carry me through my struggles. Encouragement comes from all sides. This is the time of new beginnings, accomplishments, and success. The sun is a positive card, filled with energy and confidence.

The sixth card which represents the past influences on the question is the page of cups. I should carefully consider emotional involvement. This could mean a message of love, and engagement or wedding. I have decided to take an emotional risk but have no guarantee how my actions will turn out.

The seventh card which represents the potential immediate future is the high priestess. A secret will be revealed. Use the intuition to understand and solve the problem.

The eighth card which represents my fears and attitudes is the page of wands.  Important news and messages come to my attention. I should be careful how I use this information.

The ninth card which represents the influence and opinions of family and friends is justice which means danger is near but I will come to no harm. An unpleasant event will take me by surprise; however, I will not suffer from it. Karma is being balanced in my life.

The tenth card which represents the results of my actions and thoughts is the world. A new cycle of growth arrives after a static period. A sudden turn of events will send my life in a new direction. All good things are within my reach: attainment of goals, happiness, and recognition.

The eleventh card which represents the final outcome at the present time is the nine of pentacles which means my financial situation is changing for the better. Stress is evaporating. Material well being and safety build a strong security base.

Full reading:

Today’s tarot reading will be regarding the state of the world and we will be using the expanded Celtic cross layout.

TheThe first card which represents the inquirer or the significator is the six of swords.

This magical bird lives in the upper world of heaven and makes an earthly appearance only on special occasions. According to legend, the young girl embroidered a pair of ho ho ho birds into a silk tapestry. When the evening sun touched the silk birds, they came to life and carried the young girl into the land of the immortals.

The golds and reds on the card illuminate the whole hose connection with the sun. In connection to the upper world is shown by the multitude of spirals. The whole hose swords offer protection and it’s magical presence create a positive space of balance and rest.

The divinatory meaning is you will travel across water or move from one place to another. There could be visits from distant friends or family. Any move you make will be positive magical uses: use this card when making major choices that will change your life.

The second card which represents helpful forces around to the inquirer is the queen of swords the legendary Naga as of India are the children of the Goddess Kadru. so my divine in nature, these creatures have the upper body, head, and arms of a human, but the lower body of a cobra. Some Nagas Are quite benevolent, while others are antagonistic. All Niggas possess great supernatural powers and have access to valuable ancient books of great knowledge and magic.

according to lore then I guess Prince a bowl home in an underground kingdom known as Bhagavati. The female Naga and the lush jungle setting on the card represent the beauty that can appear in the strange forms and exotic places. The precious gems adorning her are symbols of the ancient knowledge she shares.

divinatory meaning: if you can bring forth your willpower to cope with an emotionally trying event, you will undergo positive growth.

magical uses use when you need a card to represent a formidable, strong willed woman who has learned to cope with deep emotional loss.

The third card which represents the oppositional forces it around the inquirer, is the magician.

A creature found in many cultures the wing to cat has both positive and negative meanings cats are considered to be very psychic creatures. Capable of enhancing a magician’s power during a ritual, and able to see into the other world. The wings on the magical creature did note it’s talent for teaching reaching into the spiritual center for power. Through the wall and he channels His needs and desires at will. The crystal ball and the rune stones signify the magician cats ability to use many forms of divination to see into the past and the future. The Dreamcatcher portrays the magicians ability to communicate with the subconscious mind.

Divinatory meaning: a person who has the ability to draw psychic energy from the universe. A student especially in the arts having the self control and determination to reach her goal. This is an excellent time to make certain that thoughts and energies flow in harmony. Magical uses: use as a focal point to attract opportunities use with pentacles for prosperity and new opportunities.

The fourth card which is the hanged man represents present happenings or frame of mind.

as a beautiful priestess in the temple of Athena, medusa was seduced by Poseidon, does profaning her religious position and the temple itself. As punishment, Athena changed medusa into a terrible monster with snake skills hair of writing that I miss serpents a protruding tongue and a deadly gays that turned humans into stone.

In this card, medusa sits along a Path bordered with large rocks the spiral at her feet anchors any forward movement. The spirals on the rocks or have formed, presenting no clear pattern is to follow but many possibilities. But deuces stare has frozen all ability to see what needs to be done to break the impasse. One must wait, indoor, and learned patients.

divinatory meaning: everything is frozen. A barrier in your life keeps you from moving forward. Living through a tremendously stressful conditions but managing to survive by waiting for the right time. Magical uses use in spells when you need to freeze someone’s actions.

The fifth card which represents the subconscious feelings of the inquirer is the sun.

Images of the wing to Lionshare creatures with curly means and huge feathered wings on their back’s. In some cases, the wind wind it was transformed into the wings son desk. In ancient Egypt, the wings lien was associated with the Goddess images of the wing to lie and show creatures with curly means and huge feathered wings on their backs. In some cases, the wind wind it was transformed into the winged sun disc. In ancient Egypt, the wings lion was associated with the Goddess Sekhmet, Who hunted down and destroyed in justice and who wore the sun disk as a crown.

The lien has always been a symbol of the sun and it’s late here, it’s wings represent spiritual enlightenment, a special quality attained when seeking the light. The mountain is an important symbol of the world access, the center of all, and the hidden spiritual center within the each person. Each person must to send this into a mountain to discover a gateway to the realm of spirit.

divinatory meaning: continued courage and persistence will carry you through your struggles. Encouragement comes from all sides. This is the time of new beginnings, accomplishments, and success. The sun is a positive card, filled with energy and confidence.

magical uses: use as a central card for success, with the surrounding cards clarifying what kind of success you are seeking.

The sixth card which represents the past influences on the question is the page of cups.

The beautiful sea nymphs known as berries where are the 50 granddaughters of the old sea God Pontus and gaea the earth mother. though related the nereids had no skills or fishtails. Unlike the met-folk the nereids Of the Mediterranean sea’s had emotions and feelings similar to those of humans. They enjoyed their ocean ramps with Poseidon and the Mer-folk and also rode there dolphins alongside Greek ships.

divinatory meaning: you should carefully consider emotional involvement this could mean a message of love, and engagement or wedding you have decided to take an emotional risk, but have no guarantee how your actions will turn out.

magical uses use for getting control of your emotions or for deciding if a choice is worth the risk.

The seventh card which represents the potential immediate future is the high priestess.

known to the ancient Egyptians as Ua sit  this cobra Goddess appeared on the crowns of pharaohs as the Uraeus

The upraised cobra. Ua zit appears in a variety of forms: a winged cobra, a crowned cobra, or a woman wearing a vulture headrest and the red crown of Northern Egypt. In human form, she holds a papyrus scepter with the long snake twined around it. A goddess of great power and magic. US zit was closely connected with the God ra and theGoddess Isis. the scrolls and thehieroglyphs represent hidden spiritual mysteries and ancient magical practices.

divinatory meaning: a secret will be revealed use the intuition to understand and solve the problem. This card can represent an important woman in a man’s life. Magical uses: used to represent the Goddess on the altar or during meditation used to help you seek your spiritual path or see into your future use of protection spells, particularly for major changes.

The eighth card which represents fears and attitudes of the inquirer is the page of wands.

The ancient Greeks believed that the moon goddess CRC had a great palace in the agency her name is linked with the Word Circle,, marking this deity as a feat spinner and weaver of destinies. Circle knew the ancient mysteries of making creative or distractive magic vibrating or nodding her hair. This power is symbolized on the card by the sparkles in her hair.

The lunar hare of creation and the owl of wisdom joins Circe in her magical activities. Her spell book of secrets covered with spiral signifies her creative and destructive energies. The owl brings her wind of change.

divinatory Tori meaning: important news and messages come to your attention. Be careful how are use this information.

magical uses this card is useful in spells when seeking the truth.

The ninth card which represents the influence and opinions of family and friends is justice.

Statues of ancient Chinese lion dogs or food dogs, were placed by temple doors as guardians. The statues are thought to come alive at night to make their protective rounds of the building they guard. The male lion dogs are always pretrade with a ball under 1 foot, symbolizing the balance of opposites, while the females have a rolled up puppy under 1 foot. Also known as demon catchers, these beings are said to be capable of hunting down and driving away evil spirits and troublesome energies. The Chinese believed that all evils begin as small ones, which grow and gain in power when he ignored. The lion dogs are capable of catching and destroying all evils before they spread as symbolized by the eyes in the Justice card. This card represents their ability to protect, right wrongs, and maintain justice.

divinatory meaning danger is near, but she will come to no harm. And unpleasant event will take you by surprise: however, you will not suffer from it. Karma is being balanced in your life.

magical uses: we use in protection spells.

The 10th card which represents the results of actions and thoughts of the inquirer is the world.

According to legend, this enormous reptile is closely connected with rainbows, creation, initiation, and rain making. Initially, the rainbow serpent have the task of creating creeks, rivers, and legs so that the people and animals could have water. Later, this creature also created sacred places in the land.

On this world card, the land animals and water creatures represent the opposite side of existence, which lead to spiritual initiations, or ritual death and rebirth through this combination, everything is manifest in the universe, whether physical mental or otherworldly spiritual seekers can follow the rainbow serpents path if they open their inner eyes to the world around them.

divinatory meaning: a new cycle of spiritual growth arrives after a static. A sudden turn of a Vance will send your life in a new direction. All good things are within your reach: attainment of goals, happiness, and recognition.

magical uses: use in meditations when faced with several choices. Discards power is also helpful when making personal changes to your life.

The 11th card which represents the final and outcome at the present time is the nine of pentacles.

Although Lilith was turned into a succubus the parade on sleeping man, she began as a benevolent D 80, 80 in childbirth. Lilith’s true character is revealed by the image on this card. And aspect of the great mother Goddess, Lilith is connected with the moon (cycles of life) and the owl (wisdom and initiations). The spiral shells over her heart represent the life force that connects generations. Pentacles of protection swirl it around her.

divinatory meaning: your financial situation is changing for the better. Stress is a vibrating. Material will billet being and safety build a strong security base. Magical uses meditate on this card to build up your resources, and to make right financial choices.

An Experimental Vegetarian Stew

  • 1/2 Tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Tsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh ground chili paste
  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tomatillos, diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 small onion or 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 c chick peas
  • 1 Avocado
  1. Combine all ingredients, except avocado, in medium sauce pan and simmer over medium-low heat until stew reaches desired thickness.
  2. Top with sliced avocado
  3. Enjoy!

My Top 25 Most Played Songs Now vs 2011 — Part II — Now

This is [clearly] part two, but I am posting it first because I am on my 3rd Mac since 2011 and these files were more easily accessed than the 2011 top 25.

Cecilia and the Satellite by Andrew McMahon

“Of all the things my eyes have seen the best by far is you…”

This song has a sweetness and a sentimentality that is rarely found in media in this age, intertwined with the telling of an interesting life story and I loved it from the very first time I heard it.

Problem by Ariana Grande Feat. Iggy Azalea

I found this song on a Nike running playlist. I love the lyrics and the tempo. It is highly relatable. Who in her quest for the one hasn’t been here:

“Head in the clouds
Got no weight on my shoulders
I should be wiser
And realize that I’ve got
One less problem without ya

Everybody Backstreets Back Extended Version by Backstreet Boys

The Backstreet Boys became popular at the end of my teens and I was not into pop at the time, so I never heard their music until I heard it at the end of a Judd Apatow or maybe a Seth Rogen comedy with the entire cast lip syncing and dancing to it. The movie is a favorite of mine, so the song kind of grew on me as I saw the scene more and more.

I want it that way by Backstreet Boys

I am unsure of where I first heard this tune, but I just like it a lot.

Just a friend by Biz Markie.

This one goes way back to 1989, when I was in the sixth grade and we used to sing, “Oh baby yoouu got a dis-ea-ease and you say it’s just a rash, but it’s crawling up your ass” but since has come to remind me of a certain situation in which I became involved with someone, thinking one relationship was ending and then it didn’t. So the new guy likes to throw this my way, since I ended it, which I think is hilarious.

Sinister Kid by The Black Keys

“I got a tortured mind and my blade is sharp — a bad combination, in the dark.”

I came to love this song when I bought the album for two other tracks and it reminds me of myself and the [for lack of a better word] aforementioned gentleman. Great lyrics combined with bad ass music just make for a kick ass tune. Enjoy!

I don’t like Mondays by The Boomtown Rats

This is a song about a school shooting that occurred in my hometown in 1979. The perpetrator’s name is Brenda Spencer and when asked why she did it, she claimed it was because she did not like Mondays. This is a simplified explanation for the fact that she was clearly mentally ill, should not have had access to a gun, did not like the noise from the school across the street from her home and Mondays represented the broken peace of the weekend.

I once had a dream that a real estate agent tried to sell me her house and one of his selling points was that she had lived there and this song had been written about her.

Ain’t no Mountain High Enough by Diana Ross

This is what he tells me to declare his allegedly undying love and justify stalking me, but it’s just so much awesomeness that I listen to it anyway.

FACK by Eminem

I was first introduced to this track by a young adult who used to subtweet me all the time until I got bored with it and blocked him on twitter. The one thing I know we have in common is that we are both so immature we think it is hilarious, even though it is vile, sexist and disgusting.

i hate u, i love u by gnash featuring Olivia O’Brien

I drove for Uber for awhile a few years ago and drove an uber pool one day. After picking up my first passenger, it had gotten dark and foggy on the way to the next pickup, where the location was off and I had to inch my way along the street for more than a block until I found the guy who ordered the ride. He told me we were waiting on his cousin, who took forever and ended up being drunker than he was. So when they got in my back seat they played music on their phone all the way to their destination and this song played while they loudly sang along, interspersed with complaints about my driving. So this song is kind of a souvenir of the worst Uber ride I ever had.

I Love It by Icono Pop featuring Charli XCX

This is another song I found on a Nike running playlist and I just love it to pieces. Great lyrics and a great tempo for running.

“… You’re on a different road, I’m in the milky way
You want me down on earth, but I am up in space
You’re so damn hard to please, we gotta kill this switch 
You’re from the 70’s, but I’m a 90’s bitch…”

This song is also an endearing reminder of some complicated relationships that I have with some older men in my life because I AM a 90s bitch. 😉

It’s Time Imagine Dragons

“So this is what you meant, when you said your life was spent and now it’s time to build build from the bottom right to the top. Don’t hold back…”

This song just makes me think of all the changes I have undergone in my life in the last decade, hitting rock bottom and working my way back up.

Let Me Love You Down by Inoj

I just love this song so much. There is no real rhyme or reason why. I just do.

“All of your friends say I’m just too young for you, but tell ’em — I can do what girls their age can do”

I guess you can apply it to the fact that I always date much older men and women.

You Know You’re Right by Nirvana

I’m posting the youtube video of this song because iTunes. LeSigh.

I believe this song is about Courtney Love’s crazy, maniacal accusations that Kurt Cobain was abusive, which I [obviously] do not believe; although it reminds me of things said to me by my stalker who has crazily placed himself in the victim role between us.

Bad Romance by Lady Romance

I love this song because all of my relationships have had a sickness to them and her alliteration to Hitchcock films is particularly appealing to me as a literary and film buff.

“I want your psycho,
Your vertigo stick,
Want you in my rear window,
Baby, you’re sick”

Love Runs Out by One Republic

Sitting in a bunker here behind my wall
Waiting for the worms to come
In perfect isolation here behind my wall
Waiting for the worms to come

I think this one goes without explanation, for anyone who has been paying attention.

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Pink Floyd -- Waiting for the Worms
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This song is [obviously] about Janet Jackson and I don’t know why (probably because of the hypocrisy of a woman being shamed for promiscuity when a man would be lauded), but I think it’s hilarious — especially the part of the video where he is sitting on the end of the bed rocking, watching TV with the corpse behind him (I have a sick sense of humor).

You put a sour little flavor in my mouth now
You move in circles hoping no one’s gonna find out
But we’re so lucky
Kiss the ring and let ’em bow down
Looking for the time of your life (no one’s gonna find out)

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Miss Jackson by Panic! at the Disco (Feat. LOLO)
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This is totally stalker-y but in a sweet way, so I guess that is why I like it so much.

I was only walking through your neighborhood
Saw you out loud honey in the cold I stood
Anywhere I go there you are
Anywhere I go there you are

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Fire and the Flood by Vance Joy
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I found this song in a discussion board for a music class I took in college. A fellow student had posted a performance of the song with an orchestra and I was instantly in love with it. I feel like this is an anthem for my whole life.

Storm, in the morning light
I feel
No more can I say
Frozen to myself
I got nobody on my side
And surely that ain’t right
And surely that ain’t right
Oh, can’t anybody see
We’ve got a war to fight
Never found our way
Regardless of what they say

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Roads by Portishead
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I just can’t get enough of this song.

Laughin’ gas these hazmats, fast cats
Linin’ ’em up like ass cracks
Play these ponies at the track
It’s my chocolate attack

(This is like the line from my poem “Whimsy” — this is the back alley where everybody gets their something.

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Feel Good Inc.
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I was introduced to this song by a former friend of mine who only liked it because the singing is so smooth and then turns to yelling without warning, but to me, when he says —

I’ve been waiting
I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life
But it’s not quite right
And this real
It’s impossible if possible
At whose blind word
So clear but so unheard
I’ve been waiting
I’ve been waiting for this silence all night long
It’s just a matter of time
To appear sad
With the same old decent lazy eye
Fixed to rest on you
Aim free and so untrue
it spoke volumes to me about the journey I have been on this last decade.
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Lazy Eye
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I know the breakdown
Everything is gonna shake now someday
I know the breakdown
Tell me again am I awake now
Maybe you can find the reason that
No one else is living this way

… figure it out …

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Breakdown
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Traveling in a fried-out combie
On a hippie trail, head full of zombie
I met a strange lady, she made me nervous
She took me in and gave me breakfast
And she said

… just because it’s awesome …

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It’s only gonna be about a matter of time
Before you get loose and start lose your mind
Cop you a drink, go head and rock your ice
‘Cause we celebrating No More Drama in our life
With a great track pumpin’, everybody’s jumpin’
Goin ahead and twist your back and get your body bumpin’
I told you leave your situations at the door
So grab somebody and get your ass on the dance floor

For me, this song represents the moment I let go of all the pain and hate that was keeping me sick and made peace with my demons.

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Family-Affair
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I backed my car into a cop car the other day
Well, he just drove off – sometimes life’s okay
I ran my mouth off a bit too much, ah what did I say?
Well, you just laughed it off and it was all okay

… just a little reminder that life can be summed up in 3 little words — it goes on …

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Float-On
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Whatever you say it’s alright
Whatever you do it’s all good
Whatever you say it’s alright
Silence is not the way
We need to talk about it

It seems we have a common theme working here. It’s all about Zen and taking things as they come.

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Letting-The-Cables-Sleep
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Real gangsta-ass [bitches] don’t talk much
All ya hear is the black from the gun blast

… ’nuff said …

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Damn-It-Feels-Good-to-Be-a-Gangsta
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If it seems like I’ve been lost
In let’s remember
If you think I’m feeling older
And missing my younger days
Oh, then you should have known
Me much better
Cause my past is something that never
Got in my way

I’ve been through a lot of shit and most of the people who know me know that, but I have always lived my life the way I wanted to regardless of what was going down.

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Keeping-the-Faith
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Desert Island Disc track…

That is all.

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On-The-Run
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So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Again, Desert Island Disc track.

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Time
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My First Vegetarian Lasagna

HFZny91KQ3eTzSkwr2Lrlw.jpg

It may be ugly, but it was delicious! I devoured 8 servings in two days and I normally don’t eat that much. This meal is incredibly high in fat. I am not endorsing it in any way as health food. It is simply free of animal products.

Equipment:

  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Medium frying pan
  • 13 x 8 baking dish ( I prefer glass)
  • Knife
  • Foil

 

Ingredients

  • Small eggplant
  • 1 c baby spinach
  • 32 oz Heirloom tomato sauce
  • 9 Pieces Organic green lentil lasagne
  • 16 oz Tofutti Milk Free Better than Ricotta Cheese (…And it WAS! SO creamy!)
  • 2 – 8 oz packages daiya deliciously dairy free mozzarella style shreds
  • 1 c veggie crumbles

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375, if necessary.
  2. Skin eggplant and slice lengthwise
  3. Prepare veggie crumbles according to package directions
  4. In a medium size bowl, mix the Tofutti ricotta and the daiya mozzarella shreds, reserving one half of one package of shreds,
  5. In a lightly oiled 13 x 8 baking pan or dish, place three pieces of lasagne side by side, so they cover the bottom.
  6. Spread half of the cheese mixture over the lasagne
  7. Layer the veggie crumbles on top of cheese mixture
  8. Pour 1/2 of the tomato sauce over it
  9. Align three more pieces of lasagna on top
  10. Evenly spread the remaining cheese mixture
  11. Cover with sliced eggplant
  12. Arrange spinach over eggplant
  13. Add remaining three pieces of lasagna
  14. Pour remaining sauce over lasagna
  15. Evenly distribute remaining shreds over the top

Cooking:

  1. Retrieve a piece of foil more than large enough to cover the dish and lightly fold it in half lengthwise.
  2. Place the foil so that it is secured on the ends but tent-like down the center.
  3. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes
  4. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes
  5. Remove from oven and preferably place on a wire rack
  6. Allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes, then serve.

Veggie Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 1 Ciabatta bread roll
  • 2 TBSP Olive oil
  • 1 slice of tofu
  • 1 or 2 slices of eggplant
  • 2 to 3 slices of red bell pepper
  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 3 sliced mushrooms
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • 1 TBSP Wildwood Aioli
  • 1 TBSP Vegan Basil Pesto

Directions:

  1. Slice ciabatta roll and place in toaster oven and set oven to desired level.
  2. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-low heat
  3. Add tofu, eggplant, and red bell pepper
  4. Turn ingredients in 2 – 3 minutes
  5. Cook the other side for another 2 – 3 minutes
  6. Spread aioli on one side of toasted ciabatta roll
  7. Spread pesto on opposite side of ciabatta roll
  8. Spread sliced avocado on one side of roll
  9. Layer mushroom slices on avocado
  10. Add tofu
  11. Arrange eggplant and bell pepper
  12. Top with baby spinach leaves
  13. Cover with remaining half of roll.
  14. Enjoy!

Another Meysan Lakes Trail Tale, Part Two of Two: A Journey

While I tested a new hammock setup for a relaxing afternoon; James was restless and wandered around the campground, finding his way back to the trail info sign and onto a piece of key information we had missed.

You do not need a permit to day hike the trail, unlike Mount Whitney. A permit is only required if overnight camping is your intention. James came rushing back to camp. to tell me the exciting news — only to find to me warm and cradled in my hammock, instead of raring to go hike the Meysan Lakes Trail, our would-be second trail and a trail about which we knew nothing. Come on. Look at that hammock. Check that sweet underquilt setup.

Alright, Alright. So we went, starting at something like a quarter after four, believing this to be a moderate to difficult hike, totaling 4 miles, round trip. We were in athletic shoes, but fortunately, we had hiking poles. We would never have made it without them. Thankfully, it is all worth it when you reach this sign —

The entrance to the John Muir Wilderness

 

 

And see this view, when you look over your shoulder (or head in that direction on a switchback, of which there are many!) —

Now, back to the trail — are you ready to take on this beast?

Good.

First thing first —

The entire trail is a 10.9-mile loop. It is 4 miles to the first of the lakes — Grass Lake. (Forest Service)

Do not wear athletic shoes of any kind. I slipped and slid too many times at the edge of the trail and through terrain that was rockier, sandier, more powdery, or more littered with debris such as pine cones, small bones, and twigs. Wear some type of appropriate hiking footwear. This is not an easy hike in regards to terrain variance and stability or elevation gain. Do not attempt this hike unless you are in good aerobic shape. 

Be prepared for a long, steady, fairly steep ascent most of the way, except for the switchbacks, which are a challenge all their own. They are flat, well defined, and an excellent alternative to what would otherwise be brutal inclines. However, turning around over and over to walk the other way after a short distance can be disorienting.

The trail is only as wide enough for a pair of feet and a pair of trekking poles most of the way up. The drop off is this and sheerer.

Be prepared to stay focused and alert. Keeping your footing is obviously crucial. Always plant your trekking pole before moving your foot forward.

Sounds dreadful, right? No! All of this just means the reward is so much more gratifying! You are going to work for it, and it will be worth it!

Knowing every step in reverse would be in the dark, we were ever diligent in our awareness of changes in the trail. There were a lot of them. I am not an experienced or seasoned hiker but I have hiked and the Meysan Lakes Trail is thus far the most diverse and challenging. That and it was so, so beautiful! The views were amazing and when we reached Grass Lake, the feeling of triumph was eclipsed only with awe of our surroundings.

Somewhere in this picture, there are bats skimming the water for . . . ?
This is Grass Lake.

Including a 20 minute-ish stop for an issue with previously untested equipment, it had taken us two and a half hours to reach grass lake and we arrived around a quarter of seven, just before dusk.

We were fortunate enough to see a group of bats swooping above and skimming the water, but were not able to get any good footage or images of them. Bats are tiny and the light was challenging, what can I say? We decided at this point that Grass Lake would be our destination, which we later learned was the wise decision as reaching the final destination – Meysan Lake, requires some bouldering and we did not want to do that in the dark! We loved the Whitney Portal campground and the trail is definitely worth coming back for a second time.

So we stayed; enjoying the sunset and the views, wolfing our energy chews and drinking water like it was a picnic. We practically ran back to the campground, the return trip was so much easier, and we figure it took us about an hour and a half to get back.

… and that is my Meysan Lakes Trail Tale!

United States Forest Service https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd530479.pdf

Another Meysan Lakes Trail Tale, Part One of Two: What Brought us to the Meysan Lakes Trail

This tale leads up to our Maysen Lakes adventure, if you are only interested in the latter, feel free to skip ahead to part two.

What Brought us to the Meysan Lakes Trail

We do not watch network or cable television, but this does not mean we do not partake of visual entertainment. Instead, we watch movies and shows on Netflix and videos along our interest lines on Youtube. One of our interests is traversing the great outdoors through running (me only), cycling, hiking, and driving mountain roads.

So we watch a lot of Youtube videos of trail-riding and hiking, particularly thru hikers on any one of the trails making up what is known as the ‘Triple Crown’; the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. While we have considered the possibility of thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, our positions as longshoremen do not allow for that amount of time off, plus I have reached the conclusion through some soul searching that a thru-hike is not a situation in which I want to put myself.

One of the spectacular views from the trail to Eagle Rock
My victory V in front of Eagle Rock

As it happens, we live a few miles from the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail and have the ability to drive to various points for day hikes or even camp for several days, to facilitate greater exploration. In 2017. we began a tradition for my birthday of going on a memorable hike. We hiked to Eagle Rock, which is a short section of the Pacific Crest Trail, about 6 miles, which leads to a feature of a grouping of granite rocks which appear to be in the shape of an eagle with his wings slightly expanded. 

We needed a new destination. We did some camping at Southern California mountain destinations, including Wrightwood, Kennedy Meadows, and a night on the side of the road at Whitney Portal because we rolled in late on a Saturday night to find no available camp sites. These locations exposed us to altitudes much greater than just above sea level where we live and we hiked around these areas to gain some experience at elevation. Still, we did not discuss it much and when we did, nothing came of it. September came around, so we began to think about our trip and look for the break in our work schedule. We talked about Devil’s Postpile and some other hikes in Yosemite. Ultimately, I decided I wanted to stay at the campground at Whitney Portal and find a day hike in that area.

Site 116 on the Zuni loop at Table Mountain campground.

We had a late start and pitched for the night in a favorite, familiar camping spot; Wrightwood, CA next to Sky High disc golf course. We have stayed there multiple times on disc golfing trips or to drive the Angeles Crest Highway. None of our usual favorite campsites were available and this one had no proper trees for hammock hanging, so we pitched the tent for the night, It was late, not to mention windy and chilly, so we were very ready to snuggle down for the night.

In the morning, we packed up all but the essentials, then took our time drinking coffee and having breakfast, after which we wandered around the campground taking pictures. We continued on to the Whitney Portal and beyond to the Whitney Portal campground, arriving about a quarter to five.

James near the bear box

It was nice to reach camp and set up relatively early, have a meal and be settled by a fire relatively early. We did all of that and still took the time to explore some of the campground, as there was plenty to see! Impossibly tall trees surrounded us and the tall mountain ridge surrounded those, plus a river ran through the campground, separating the sites that would be back to back. It was a beautiful feature, which added ambient noise and good separation from other campers, in a campground with sites that are more packed together.

A view of the small river under the foot bridge
The view entering Whitney Portal campground and from our site.

On the way in, I had noticed a sign reading “Meysan Lakes Trail” and exclaimed that I recognized the name as one that many PCT thru-hikers we watched talked about taking a side trip to day hike it. I suggested investigating it as a possibility for our own hike. I did not know anything about it other than the name. After morning rituals, we trekked down to some bulletin boards with information about the trail and hiking it. Upon reading it, we determined that permits were needed to move forward. We decided to hang around camp awhile longer and think about our next move.

To be continued…

A Primer on how to Drive a car with a Manual Transmission

Driving a car with a manual transmission has been slowly becoming a lost skill over the last few decades, with the percentage of cars with manual transmissions now representing just 3.9% of new car purchases, in 2018 (multiple soutces).

Nevertheless, I and a number of the population believe it is a good skill to have. For me, I found it necessary to learn when I became a longshoreman and encountered vehicles with manual transmissions that needed to be driven off or onto ships. I have found a surprising number of my colleagues who do not have this skill since I have learned it.

This post is meant to serve as a guide for anyone who has never driven a vehicle with a manual transmission to theoretically be able to get into one, start it up and get it moving. Below is a video illustrating the steps.

The first frame of the video shows the three pedals: (from left to right) the clutch, the break. and the accelerator.

Step one: Sit in the driver’s seat and get comfortable, ensuring the seat is positioned so you will be able to fully depress the clutch.

Step two: Place your right foot on the brake and fully depress the clutch with your left.

Step three: Turn the key in the ignition

Step four: Shift the knob into first gear

Step five: Release the handbrake

Step six: Look to your left, release your foot from the brake, and slowly begin to release the clutch. When the car begins to move forward you have found the “bite point”. This is where the clutch engages.

Step seven: Gently apply the throttle and fully release the clutch.

When the car reaches between 3000 and 4000 RPMs (indicated by a gauge on the dash), you will need to shift into second and shortly thereafter, third gear. This will enable you to drive the car on surface streets, with the proper downshifting techniques, which we will discuss in another post. Below is a video of my footwork, from starting the car to shifting into third gear. The camera is attached to the steering column and the viewing angle does turn a bit. My apologies.

Lastly, is a video of operating the gearshift for posterity.