The Pure Love of a Familiar

A familiar is a companion. Whether it’s a positive good thing is up for debate, historically speaking.

According to Wikipedia: In European folklore of the medieval and early modern periods, familiars (sometimes referred to as familiar spirits) were believed to be supernatural entities that would assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic.

A.K.A. Women who expressed intellectual ideas and both men and women who were free thinkers.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, it’s a demon supposedly attending and obeying a witch, often said to assume the form of an animal.”her familiars were her two little griffons that nested in her skirts”, a close friend or associate, or, (in the Roman Catholic Church) a person rendering certain services in a pope’s or bishop’s household

A.K.A…. See above.

I think of a familiar as one that loves and takes care of you but not like a parent, spouse or friend.

I think of it like my Cats.

Always happy to see me, even if I’ve been a bad human and was gone for a feeding time or two. In my defense, if I know I’m working a 12-15 hour day, I always make sure to leave something for them like a couple bowls of dry food, I’m not a monster.

Always there to comfort me when I need it, cats are incredibly empathetic.

And most of all, they allow me to pet them even when they don’t necessarily want to be.

Petting an animal is scientifically proven to lower blood pressure and I can personally attest to that.

Here’s a video my cat Harry is patiently allowing me to make, he even faked liking it for my benefit. I know because I made a few from different angles and he put up with it every time.

Enjoy and feel the love!

Operation Use What’s in the Fridge and Pantry to Make a Delicious Meal….

Basmati Rice with Marinated Chickpeas and Pepperoni

I’m just coming off a brutal and busy couple of weeks and really need to relax and remember not everything’s about work and money.

For me, that means creating something, anything. A story, a blog post, a yoga routine or in this case a meal that I don’t have to spend money on.

I woke up today not wanting to see the outside world and not feeling confident enough for the outside world to see me.

Should really be doing the mountains of laundry I have piled up but can’t even entertain the idea of going to the laundromat.

Am I wearing a bathing suit as underwear? Sure am!

Don’t want to spend money on take out I may or may not even like, so it’s time to trust my pantry staple stocking skills I may or may not have. Here we go…

The pantry

Okay, I see chickpeas, not my favorite so that’s probably why they’ve been there for at least a year.

Smoked paprika I bought for one recipe and never touched again…. Mmmm…. Paprika….

Now on to my incredibly disorganized fridge…

Don’t judge!

Basmati rice.

I can always do something with rice if only I didn’t suck so bad at making it.

Today will be the day I don’t suck at rice! It’s decided!

Some sliced pepperoni. Always delicious.

The freezer….

I hate the way this looks. You’d think I’d do something about it.

Frozen broccoli is never a bad idea but meh.

JUST plant based egg substitute! I’m allergic to eggs but JUST, works well as a…. a binding agent!

And breadcrumbs!

I’ll have to move those ones aside to find my gluten-free seasoned panko flakes, allergic to wheat but not an asshole about it when visiting friends or at a restaurant.

And there it is!

Rice cakes!

Back to those chickpeas….. they might be tolerable if marinated. Smoked paprika! Fresh garlic! Dried onion flakes!

A perfect meal

That red onion you see had unfortunately died in my fridge, pretend it’s not there.

Thinking of seasoning.

I have the smoked paprika, fresh garlic and dried onion flakes to marinate the chickpeas, my healthy protein to go along with my not healthy protein (pepperoni), but what about the rice?

I have Sazon and Adobo. Anyone with a Puerto Rican grandmother (me) has these things on hand and buys them automatically.

Perfect!

That’s one packet of Sazon and a sprinkle of Adobo, enough to cover the top of the rice. 2 tblsp of butter optional.

Will not fuck up the rice! Will not fuck up the rice!

The marinade

The sliced pepperoni is photo bombing. They don’t go in the marinade.

I rinse the chickpeas, transfer to a Tupperware container that I’m going to shake and cover the top with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

Smoked paprika is strong, you don’t want to add too much.

I do the same with the dried onion flakes, cover the top, and I add 3 cloves of chopped garlic.

Shake it up and let it sit while NOT fucking up the rice for about an hour.

Put it all together!

I just eyeball the egg substitute slowly pouring it in as well as panko flakes while mixing waiting for it to become more paste like.

As I’m mixing I realize it’s not becoming the texture I want like a meatloaf would, chickpeas keep popping out, so I make the decision to….

Change the way I’m going to cook them!

From this….
To this….

Instead of individual cakes, I put two pats of butter, some olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of the pot, and two more cloves of chopped garlic, underneath my rice/chickpea/sliced pepperoni mixture and flatten it like hamburger.

After 7 minutes of cooking this way…..

Ba Bam!!! See that crust? Delicious!! Fresh celery is the perfect side.

Recipe

1 15 oz can of chickpeas

Sliced pepperoni, approximately 20 slices, julienned like this….

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

Smoked Paprika, approximately one teaspoon, go easy, you can always add it to the mixture later.

Dried Onions, same as Paprika

– Rinse chickpeas in a strainer. Place rinsed chickpeas in a small, preferably round Tupperware bowl you can cover. Cover the top of the chickpeas with smoked paprika and dried onion flakes.

– Cover the bowl and shake. Leave for however long it takes to cook rice.

Basmati rice, 2 servings, prepare as directed on the package. Butter is optional and avoid using broth. Only water. These seasonings are enough.

Adobo, approximately 1.5 teaspoons or enough to cover the top of the rice.

1 packet of Sazon, 1/2 a packet if you don’t like things too salty, you can always add more later if you want.

2 more cloves of garlic, chopped for cooking the rice cake.

Two pats of butter for cooking the rice cake.

Olive Oil, approximately 1.5 tablespoons, enough to cover the bottom of your pan.

P.S., I fucked up the rice.

Had to make another batch. Seriously delicious though!

Hit me up for any advice or any suggestions on what you would have done!

If you made this, let me know what you thought in the comments!!

Post pandemic anxiety

There’s something called “floating anxiety”. I’ve experienced it before as a teen in the throws of PTSD.

I had recovered memories, age 14, that threw me for a loop.

I dealt with it in my 20’s and beyond. These recovered memories. Was triggered by a touch, or the idea of a touch.

I grew to be able to avoid those situations. I kept to myself, physically.

I had it down. I was comfortable in shielding myself in that regard. I had built an insurmountable wall.

I had a sense of calm. Calm that was contagious. It helped me as a manager.

Early on in this pandemic, I relied on this. It was the calming force that told me, “you’re okay, if you’re not, we’ll deal with it then. Calmly.”

Now, we’re back.

I’m in the business of large events. It’s unclear what is safe. That makes me anxious.

Recently I was on the subway in NYC. I didn’t realize we were back to shoulder to shoulder seating regardless of whether or not you’re wearing a mask.

It was terrifying! I sat down, and put my bags next to me in an attempt to discourage anyone to sit right next to me.

People were glaring at me as if I was un necessarily taking up seating.

I didn’t know we were there yet. I guess we are.

I felt that floating anxiety, as I kept my bags next to me.

I feel that floating anxiety in my every day, again.

There was a time early on in the pandemic when I tried to sign up for a zoom yoga class with a friend and I couldn’t navigate the website.

My whole body shut down and I started to shake. It was as if I had been punched in the gut then grabbed by the neck.

It was devastating.

I haven’t experienced anything that debilitating since then, but I can feel this anxiety bubbling under the surface in all instances of stress.

The question is, do I ignore it and act like it’s not there? (Very effective BTW), or, Do I address it and deal with it.

Do I have the time? Do I invest in my mental health at the expense of my financial future?

I don’t know.

This floating anxiety extends to my friends.

Do they even like me anymore? Am I ever saying the right thing? Are they involved with each other and I’m not?

It’s like all the social confidence I ever had has disappeared.

Did I ever have social confidence?

I feel so insecure at the moment. Normally I would just shake that off, but now…..All bets are off.

What is normal? I’ve forgotten. I don’t know how to act anymore.

I guess I’ll figure it out?

How Do You Deal With A Customer Now?

Remember about two years ago when the customer was always right and no matter what you had to swallow your anger and apologize to them or risk losing your job?

Is that still true? Was it ever really?

In quarantine, I for one have become brutally honest with myself and as a result, with others in my life. I find them to be brutally honest in return. I like it! It’s a fresh take on life!

However, anyone who’s job depends on pleasing people knows you can’t ever really be honest.

In my job, we have this idea that you can’t use the word “No”.

Example: “I’ll take a half caff cappuccino with a chocolate drizzle.”

We’re at an event in the middle of a fucking open field in butt fuck county, you preordered your entire meal and have an itinerary that clearly says coffee or tea right there in front of you, you’ve been coming to this same event for years now, when have we ever had any kind of machine that will make anything other than shit coffee or hot water!?’

That’s what I would like to say but it ends up being, “We don’t have an espresso machine but I’d be happy to bring you some fresh brewed coffee or a wide assortment of teas?”

I can’t stomach the thought of doing this now that I know what actually matters to me. I will have to though if I want to be gainfully employed.

Anyone else in this boat? How are you even coping with the thought?

Pandemic, Then and Now

California 1918. Notice that one asshole with the mask under her nose?

I often wonder if we ever really learn anything as a global society. Or even a local one for that matter. I’d like to think we do but researching past pandemics it seems like we don’t or it takes hundreds even thousands of years.

Of all the things capable of killing massive amounts of people, wars, regular old age, human negligence nothing is as scary as a worldwide pandemic. It can’t be stopped without everyone working together for a common goal before it gets overwhelmingly devastating. History and basic human nature leads me to believe that just won’t happen (I still have the tiniest sliver of hope that it actually can).

I found a list of pandemics, because I’ve unfortunately had the time. I expected Covid 19 to be at the top. Maybe that’s my very human shortsightedness showing. It’s actually number nine. NINE!

I won’t bore you or myself with my assessment of how this got to be so out of control here in the U.S. Like, not disclosing how bad this thing was so people wouldn’t go and do something crazy like cancel expensive travel plans, sell stocks or anything else that would harm the economy.

February 2020

Let’s look at two other pandemics higher on the most morbid list of all time and you can draw conclusions on any similarities you find. I found a lot.

The “Spanish” Flu 1918 – 1920 #2

Should we call it that? Killed 17-100 million people worldwide. Most have settled on 50 million deaths.

The Mayor of Farmington Charles Henry Giessing made this decision but recinded it a month later asking people to be cautious but make their own decisions as to whether or not they should gather.

Wikipedia says: The Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 influenzapandemic, was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza A virus. Lasting from February 1918 to April 1920, it infected 500 million people – about a third of the world’s population at the time – in four successive waves.

Four waves? Which one are we on now? This gives COVID 19 hope of climbing the death toll ladder. COVID 19 would like to thank a lack of hindsight!

You might think this virus began in Spain. There’s actually no evidence of that. It’s called that because the US censored news publications from reporting on the gravity of the illness in a misguided attempt to maintain national morale in a post World War I America. They did not however, prohibit news publications from reporting on a deadly virus running rampant in neutral Spain.

There were cases there as well as Germany, France and the U.K. all of which had cases, a month after the U.S. Not surprisingly, the Spanish press dubbed this virus as the “French” flu. It’s easier to bury your head in the sand when you can blame someone else. We can live safely there.

Well, not for long.

Many believe the virus came from soldiers returning from the war and the virus effected mostly young thought to be healthy people and the elderly. The first wave was similar to the seasonal flu and infected people more than killed them. Fever, chills, nausea, diarrhea….

The second wave was often coupled with bacterial pneumonia which proved to be quick and deadly. Symptoms such as skin discoloration. It’s described as two mahogany patches above the cheek bones which makes me wonder if medical journals at the time bothered to record symptoms in black people. It ends with bleeding from the mouth, nose and ears. If that happened, you were dead within a matter of days.

This pandemic lasted two years. As you can see from the picture at the top of this post, there were anti maskers, people who just refused to believe this was a reality which I’m sure prolonged this thing longer than it should’ve. Not to mention wishy washy public policy and a particularly cold and wet climate that year.

The Justinian Plague #3 541AD – 549AD

The Justinian plague, or as the locals called it plague of Justinian, was named after Byzantine ruler Justinian I. It killed somewhere in the ballpark of 15-100 million. It’s not given the prestigious world wide pandemic title, it’s thought to have devastated only Europe and Asia. It wiped out 25-60% of that population. Nothing to sneeze at.

St. Sebastian begs Jesus for the life of a gravedigger dying from Justinian plague in this painting by Jose Lieferinxe 1497-1499

Wikipedia says: The Plague of Justinian or Justinianic Plague was the beginning of the first plague pandemic, the first Old World pandemic of plague, the contagious disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis.

This was the OG bubonic.

A characteristic is Yersinia pestis. Necrosis of the hand.

Well, you have to start somewhere and what better place than the Byzantine empire. King Justinian dealt with the staggering amount of deaths by raising taxes. Why? Because the workers that were building his many buildings and statues kept dying. He was like, fuck if I’m not building that monument in my honor! Nero played the violin while Rome burned, Justinian threw a financial temper tantrum and made everything worse. He even held family members accountable for any debt left behind by plague victims. Then those people died, other family members owed both debts, then those people died, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Justinian couldn’t catch a break!

This fuckin’ guy! Justinian I

There isn’t much recorded about this plague but there are some writings from historian Procopius. He wrote that as many as 10,000 people a day were dying in Constantinople. Funeral rites couldn’t be kept up with and there was no room to store the dead. According to him, bodies were just piled in the streets giving the city a deathly stench.

All the while, Justinian sat in his castle, shaking his fist.

Procopius described neurological symptoms of the disease. Delirium, hallucinations as well as the death of limbs.

Procopius was so dissolutions with Justinian that in his writing, Secret History, he claimed that someone had seen Justinian in demon form late at night.

He wrote:

And some of those who have been with Justinian at the palace late at night, men who were pure of spirit, have thought they saw a strange demoniac form taking his place.

Contemporary scholars have decided that the disease came from Egyptian rats that stowed away on trade ships and feasted in granaries, which Constantinople had plenty of. It’s Egypt’s fault.

Number one is given to The Black Death, 1346 – 1353 AD. Bubonic plague the sequel. The one everyone talks about. The one with the horrifying masks?

I won’t get into that here because I don’t have the stomach for it.

There’s a strange comfort in looking into these past tragedies if for nothing more than getting myself out of the “this is the worst thing that’s ever happened” mindset I’ve sat alone with since March 2020.

Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear your assessment of this situation as it relates to history!

Real Life with a Debilitating Mental illness. Link to video.

I discovered this you tube channel, Special books by special kids, completely by accident.

I wasn’t searching to be informed, but I was anyway.

So glad I kept up with this series.

This guy goes around and interviews people with psychiatric disorders and neurological conditions in an attempt to humanize them.

So often they’re not. Their experiences are glazed over and watered down in TV and films because as you’ll hear the man in this interview say, no one really wants to know.

I know this for a fact. I used to see a therapist with my glasses off so I wouldn’t see the flinching on their faces when describing particularly horrible experiences. Admittedly, this was more so I could distance myself from those things.

This particular interview is of Daniel. A schizoaffective US army veteran with CPTSD.

Here is a description of schizoaffective disorder:

A mental health condition including schizophrenia and mood disorder symptoms.

Schizoaffective disorder is a combination of symptoms of schizophrenia and mood disorder, such as depression or bipolar disorder. Symptoms may occur at the same time or at different times.

CPTSD stands for Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a mental health condition in which a person might experience intense PTSD symptoms that coincide with other mental issues. CPTSD occurs in people who have been subjected to ongoing traumatizing experiences.

He describes his experience of forced hospitalization and experience in general. There’s a previous video, the initial interview, which you can find easily and many more on this excellent channel.

Enjoy?

https://youtu.r/xc1tbETJpX4

Cat Zoom Call: Sammy & Bell have an argument about something

Belle allows herself to be touched while she waits for Sammy to join.

Belle is rethinking her decision to allow the touching.

Sammy

Hi! I might have to keep this short!

Belle

Are you ok? Sorry, I’m purring. I allowed a back of neck scratch.

Sammy

That’s fine. I’m waiting for an escort.

Belle

I don’t know what that is.

Sammy

An escort? I’m gonna be moving around. I reeaally have to go to the box!

Belle

Oh yeah, you like a human to go with you. I keep forgetting that because it scares me a little.

Sammy

Okay, well, it’s what I need! Alright? Your highness!?

Belle

Whoa, whoa whoa! No need for name calling!

Sammy

Pretty judgey for a cat that randomly allows humans to touch her for no reason!

Belle

What!? No I don’t! Human! You there!! Do I allow you to touch me anytime you want!? Human!! Answer me!!!!

Sammy

Hi Belle! It’s Harry! Sammy went to the box with a human. How come you’re yelling?

Belle

Sammy accused me of allowing humans to touch me whenever!

Sammy

Try doing this. It means, don’t touch me. This is Harry.

Belle

Okay, but I don’t do that so….. you know what? This blanket is very very soft. It reminds me of something…….

Sammy

A soft something? Can I have it!?

Belle

No, never, it’s actually all mine. Hey, Harry? Can you tell Sammy I’ll call her back?

Sammy

I’m back. Sorry that took so long. I got my escort but she didn’t scoop the pee right away. Had to go and lead her back in.

Belle

Sammy

Belle

Sammy

Belle

I forgive you.

Sammy

For what?

Belle

I forgot.

Sammy

Okay, I’m really tired. Been awake for minutes!

Belle

I get it. I just moved back to this carpet so I’m going to sleep too. Talk soo…….

Sammy

Sammy accidentally ends the conversation with one of her feet while circling her nap spot

You Rock…

You rock the boat. Everything was fine until you got here.

Everyone accepted what was given to them. They might’ve asked a question or two but didn’t follow up.

But you! You asked questions from the moment you got here and you wouldn’t shut up! You wanted “answers”, you wanted what’s “right”.

Just be grateful to be here! You get what you get and you don’t get to complain!!

Fine! Be that way! You can take all the heat for everything that goes wrong! You want to speak up? You better be ready to handle whatever comes your way!

We’ll make you feel like the problem you are! You might’ve thought you had allies, watch and see how they scatter when voices are raised and tempers are flared! We’ve trained these people to fall in line, to accept what’s been given.

Let’s see how loud you are when we bring the hammer down. On you and you alone! We’ll make shit up!

We’ll interrogate and imply, never accuse, that would be too easy! You’ll want to cry! Hopefully you do so we can point at you, prove how “unstable” and “difficult” you really are!

What have you got to say now!?

Me? Just this…. YOU MESSED WITH THE WRONG FUCKING ONE!!!!!!

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