Using Legal Cannabis / Medical Marijuana: 10 Week Experiment

IMG_08481This post is a diary of sorts.  A chronological compilation of my notes, Facebook status updates, links, and photos having to do with my first experiments in cannabis.  It represents a learning curve — and some surprising conclusions.

I was too young to be a hippie by a year or two, though my freshman college wardrobe was bell bottomed blue jeans and madras tops, maxi skirts and halter tops, wedgies and earth shoes.  That was a long time ago.  Now, I’m a semi-retired artist, corporate trainer, technical writer, school teacher, grad student, single-mom (done with that!).

I have several “medical conditions” — that have taken and continue to take a lot of time and energy to deal with.  (and a lot of drugs)

I’m dyslexic (sorry- – no drugs for that!)  Type-2 Diabetic (I control that with diet and exercise rather than drugs.)   High functioning autistic (Asperger’s — no drugs for that one either.)  I’ve had surgery on both legs many years ago — which now turns into sort of a steady-state and slow moving arthritis.  I have asthma so bad that for over 15 years I had a handicap license plate so I could get out of the West Texas dust and pollution.  I have a slight familial tremor (think early Katherine Hepburn, as opposed to late-life Hepburn) and the accompanying stammer.  And I’ve had chronic migraine headaches since I was 13.  Chronic as in, 4-6 of every 7 days on average for 35 years, (though in the last decade — research, experimentation and reading has reduced that by more than half.)  However, headache days are still all day and all night when they happen, and they can sometimes last for 2 or more weeks at a time.

Don’t get me wrong.  By the time you are my age, you’ll have a list like this, too.  Maybe shorter.  Maybe longer.  Maybe with more serious / severe / life threatening problems.  Maybe not.  But this is my list.  And if you know anything about any of these problems — then you know they come with a whole parade of secondary symptoms and issues.  Like the social anxiety and communication paralysis that goes with Aspergers.  Or the cough that can turn into a suffocating seizure with life-threatening asthma.  This is my list, without a lot of elaboration.  And I’m pretty clear that there’s no magic bullet (or magic brownie) that’s going to fix social awkwardness — so we’re looking for specific outcomes, not pie in the sky.

li8xjjubfrcp9dfqbtvoAnd since 2012, I live in Oregon, where Medical Marijuana has been legal for over a decade, and recreational marijuana has been legal for over a year.  There is a dispensary less than 4 blocks from my house — and over 15 more within a 25 minute drive — so it seems to me it’s time to broaden my research.

Before starting this — my arsenal of drugs to deal with the migraines includes opiates, anti-nausea drugs like phenergan, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, , steroids, anti-anxiety drugs, sedatives, caffeine, and off-lable uses for strange other drugs prescribed by headache specialists and other doctors.  (I have a bad reaction to some migraine specific drugs that have been prescribed — including unconsciousness.)

Trust me — I’ve tried more folk remedies, herbal teas, darkened rooms, meditation, hypnosis, sound therapy, aromatherapy, accupuncture, accupressure, chiropractic adjustments, happy thoughts, special diets, fasting, massage therapy, drugs and drug combinations than I can count.

I am not using “a little headache” to get out of work, church, school, family gatherings, personal responsibility, or social obligations.  I can’t even count the number of times or the number of people who think they can talk me out of migraines with their pitiful, uninformed, and condescending personal opinions.  Migraines are about fluid im/balance, blood flow, blood pressure, blood vessel dilation, muscle tension, chemical/hormone im/balance, emotional stress, and in some cases, allergic or auto-immune responses.

Adjustments to diet that improve fluid and chemical balances; discovery of the foods and other allergies that directly cause one or more of those physical changes, blood pressure medications, the hormone changes associated with menopause, and corrected sleep patterns have gotten rid of more than half my migraine days.  And unlike my first family physician who assured my mother that headaches were all in my 13-year-old imagination (like menstral cramps) (!) — current medicine is pretty clearly trying to help chronic migraine sufferers find a better quality of life.



May 14, 2016

Some interesting starting point reads I’ve found to satisfy my curiosity and feed the need for useful info:

61FEC9TQTGL._SX360_BO1,204,203,200_Jack Herer  wrote this — sort of anecdotal history and reference book for marijuana, written while it was still so illegal that you could lose your freedom for decades just for having it in your possession.  It has a kind of Cheech-and-Chong stoner’s charm to it — Jack Herer is now the name of one of the most widely sold medical-use strains available.  There are only a few strains named for specific people — kind of a tribute, and a way to make sure some of the “pioneers” of this Westward expansion are recognized for toughing it out, fighting the good fight, and being so focused on legalization for so many years.

And the humor and the artwork will make you smile if you’re over 50.


13322007_10206741744807641_6225528099064418361_n is one of several online resources — filling in the gaps of information for all types of users — legal, illegal, medical, life-long stoners, newbies, curious, angry, ecstatic, disabled, healthy, sick, chemo patients, retired, college students, veterans, politicians, middle class, blue collar, white collar, Gen-X, Baby-Boomers, Millennials, stoned, and sober.  Their “Cannabis 101” series of articles provides the vocabulary, and reflects some of the evolution of marijuana since it was first legalized for medical use, and later for recreational use in the US.

They offer snapshots of over 1000 different strains, a majority of the dispensaries across the country (including menus of what each dispensary has for sale– kept up by the shopkeepers.)  Dispensaries have to pay to be included, and as long as you’re online in your browser — you can also price-compare between dispensaries.  (Prices aren’t allowed on the app — but are allowed on the big website.)   While there are several informational sites online — so far, has been the most complete and helpful, and is kept up to date, religiously.

A lot of the information is purely anecdotal, but the science is also there (what there is of it so far….)

The best thing about is that they are staying current with information, scientific research, laws, and everything-WEED related.  The second best thing about is that it is entertaining.  Reading just the names of over 1000 strains is an adventure all by itself.



This book is only 2 years old, published in 2014 — but some of the info is already out of date, or explained better elsewhere.  However– the photography of hundreds of different “nugs” (nuggets) — the flowers of different “strains” of the plant — are beautifully detailed, with accompanying information on each strain. talks about strains in more detail, and it augments with new info and data constantly — but the photos and the book itself are just lovely.


The High Times Cookbook has several things about it to recommend.  First — they’ve been doing this for years.  So again, you get the long view.  Next, their recipes include more than sweets — which for me as a diabetic, is very important. Third — and probably most important — they provide a lot information and answers to basic questions that  only come up if you’re using your pot in the kitchen.  They also have all the basics about making infused oils, tinctures, and other media for ingesting pot.

There are cannabis cookbooks popping up every day as legalization becomes more pervasive — but this is the best starting point I found.  Some others show a lot of promise — and others show a lot of mis-steps.  As with all cookbooks, do some serious thumbing-through to make sure the author is using ingredients and ideas that sound like something you’d really enjoy.


May 19, 2016


Magical Butter pot — comes with everything you need to make infused butter, oil, tincture, glycerin concentrate….

I love learning new things…
(in case this isn’t obvious — this is a machine that makes infused butter, oils, tinctures, infused alcohols, infused vinegars, and topical oils/creams with marijuana [or other herb of your choice])

if you watch some of the youtube videos that either show how to use it, or are there to review the machine — there are some really cute ones where the cooks(!) keep tasting their wares and get progressively more and more stoned as they go….

This youtube video was the very first I found when I started reading/ researching how to start this project, so she is near and dear to my heart:

Below is the link to the Magical Butter machine people (if you buy it anywhere but from them directly, their warranty is invalidated — which is okay, since they give you a better discount on the phone than any secondary market seller, or even the individual “stores” merchants sell it for on Amazon.)

oh — AND — if you decide to order one of these from the company — use this link and it will give you a discount code to get $25 off the price, and I’ll get a discount on purchase too for the referral!


May 23, 2016

I’m going to do now what I never did in college — or anywhere along the path, for that matter. I’m going to learn about something that was touted as the most dangerous activity short of


Here’s a link to’s page that breaks down, state by state, what conditions are eligible for treatment with Medical Marijuana.

jumping out of a moving car.  In the 8th grade, we got shown very serious films featuring Sonny & Cher, the First Lady, and some really dour looking physicians and suits. They all said we would be setting ourselves on the road to failure, financial ruin, prison, disastrous health, hell, and/or Skid Row if we even smelled a little cannabis.

But that was Texas. (and still is.)

Fast forward, and here we are. Where I live now, there are “dispensaries” within blocks of my house. 16 within a 25-minute drive (this is a vacation spot and recreational destination, after all.) The average price is $10/g — with a 25% sales tax for recreational users. And after just 6 months of legal sales, they’ve already made enough in sales tax in the state to build 3 new elementary schools.

States are falling like a slow-motion domino train, finally admitting that maybe the fundamentalist sewn-shut-tight-asses may have over reacted. And possibly cut off their noses to keep from smelling the wrong flower in the garden.tumblr_o2rngxbDS81v8amego1_500

A good friend in college once told me that my imagination needed weights, and not wings — and that was why he (a serious smoker of the forbidden weed) thought I’d be better off without it. And I took him at his word.

I’m thinking he didn’t have all the facts. Imagination is not the only consideration. PAIN in a real thing. Social anxiety is a real thing. Asthma and arthritis and chronic migraine headaches complete with nausea, vomiting, light-sensitivity, and insomnia — are real things. And for those real things — I have a medicine cabinet full of pills which I’d like to lose.

It was a different weed back in those college days, and a different world. A lot has changed. Including me. 😀

I’ll let you know.


May 27, 2016


Here it is: the wicked, evil, destroy-your-life, addictive, gateway drug, brain-cell killing, fast-track-to-hell, civilization destroying, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it, throw-you-away-and-lose-the-key illegal flower.


This is a flower. A nug. A bud.

It even looks scary. Like a carnivorous coral or something. And it not only has its own chemical and genetic evolution, vocabulary and sub-culture — it’s a little ugly, as flowering plants go.

And it’s not any prettier in person.  Honestly, people.  It looks like a little plant turd.  And makes me wonder how bad life must have been for the people who first thought of smoking it.  (of course, I feel the same way about mushrooms…who thought of eating fungus on purpose?)

Maybe the first users came across it burning in a forest fire, or after a lightning strike — and were trying to duplicate the happy accident!


May 30, 2016 (rant)

So pleasure, fun, leisure and health — and even some freedoms — have been — for most of the existence of humanity, the purview of the few. The advantaged. The privileged. The elite. The upper class.

During Prohibition — how many of those groups of people were actually imprisoned for possession of liquor? Good God! Liquor during Prohibition is how the Kennedys made their fortune! Mayors, police officials — many had private cellars that stocked their parties and dinner tables.

Long before alcohol re-entered the common cabinet, movie stars, public figures — all avoided public scrutiny by virtue of their own elite status.

And while a lot of musicians, singers, actors, politicians and athletes may have had their hands spanked or been publicly shamed or fined for possession/use of weed — those are not the people filling prisons.

And for much of the last 200 years, those who lived openly homosexual lives who were artists of fame were surrounded by winks and nods of acceptance by their own community — while passing under the radar of most others. Politicians and public figures of note were as likely to be homosexual, or (like J. Edgar Hoover, some other variation on the sexual theme) as they were to be Republican, southern, brunette, or vegetarian!

Free choice of who to marry and where to live. Ownership of property. Decisions about having and raising children. Military service. Quality education. Accessibility to higher quality of life in any form… Available health care. Elder care. Child care. Medicines. High quality food.

The truth is — choice (all the choices) is something that has — at least in the past — belonged to the powerful. Only. Whether powerful by wealth, fame, inherited position, or talent and skill. And they guarded it with great greed. They chaired the committees to make it illegal and out of reach to the average person. They led the lynching parties to rid the world of those choices for the masses. They preached, campaigned, and instructed “the rest of us” on the evils, dangers, pitfalls, and temptations of the the flesh.

All the while — enjoying all the choices themselves.

And giving up any of those privileges is painful. It’s like pulling teeth. It comes with a great, loud tantrum and a lot of kicking and screaming.

But thanks to (Uncle) Ben Parker, “the rest of us” started figuring it out, so that now it’s inevitable:
With great power comes great responsibility.
And one of the things they’re responsible for is their own honesty.
For making the world better.
And for creating a fair world.

“Whoever said life was going to be fair” is the handy-dandy lie they told us for years. A glib slogan. It was a way to get out of having to actually create fairness — which is hard. Making the world a fair and just place means they have to give up some of the private-ness of choices they’ve been guarding as their own special stash. The secret cellar of choices and opportunities they held on to as proof of their special privileged position.

Life may not have been fair in the past — but unfairness is not the natural state of things. Creating fairness is an honorable — and possible — goal. It may be the only really honorable goal.


June 3, 2016sweet-purple-5

Okay people-who-may-know-more-about-this-than-me….
I’m getting the feeling that either I”m doing this wrong, or there’s been an awful lot of fuss about this plant with no good reason.


I got several responses from friends on FB about this.  They bacially confirmed that I was “doing it right”.

And one artist friend looked at the close-up photo of a cannabis flower I included and asked what it was a picture of — which makes sense since he lives in a country where you can be executed for growing the plant.



June 5, 2016

AH HA! Got it. (figured out the last question I asked about marijuana)

So the thing I was forgetting is that I (also) don’t get the same effects/results drinking alcohol that a lot of people do.

13336068_10206802246640149_6475033126694103966_nA lot of people drink to “let their hair down” — to set themselves free from their inhibitions and from the demands/expectations of living in a civil(ized) society. It’s a ticket to not having to think-first, or not having to consider what people will think before you act or speak. Alcohol — for a lot of people — is the grease that lets the door to their unconscious mind swing open. And the Big Bear escapes.

And I think that’s what makes drinking so attractive to a lot of people — and in some way explains the addiction, too. It’s not *just* the alcohol that creates a physical addiction for a lot of people –it’s the addiction to the emotional/mental freedom, as well.

When I drink — I get the physical result of muscles relaxing. I spend a lot of time tensed up, because of my tenuous relationship to other people. It’s part of the high-functioning-autism/Asperger’s profile. I have a lot of trouble talking and just being around people I don’t know. Crowds. Crowded / enclosed places (malls, grocery stores, parades, airplanes, subways, churches….) So I spend a lot of time tied up in knots, so to speak. It’s fear, anxiety, and dread — all balled up and living in my shoulders, back, neck, arms, legs — pretty much anywhere there’s a muscle –> I’m tense if there are people around.

What I don’t get from alcohol — is that “release” that sets my unconscious mind on a beeline toward speaking up in public. My unconscious already speaks up in public! And in private. I don’t have the same kind of inhibitions or social insulation that others have to discard (or fight their way through.) It’s the autism. When I drink — it’s a muscle relaxant that tastes good.

Enter cannabis.13344654_10206796279290969_168342809151578980_n

I’m thinking that much or most of what people describe as a “high” — is a lot like the common high from alcohol. It’s a way to get past the conscious mind and straight at the unconscious. That’s why artists of all flavors talk about being more creative and focused under the influence.

Except I already have the doors to my unconscious open most all the time. Maybe — all the time.

What I notice about using marijuana for medical reasons are the medical results and physical sensations. A low level muscle relaxation, equivalent to about 1/2 – 1 shot of vodka in a Bloody Mary. A slight fuzziness of thought — like really small amounts of nitrous oxide gas at the dentist’s office. Aches in my wrists, thumbs and knees where I have arthritis fade away. My handwriting becomes easier to read because my slight familial-tremor disappears. I’m drinking more iced water/iced tea. I can read for longer at a time because my eyes don’t get tired. I sleep through the night instead of waking up after every sleep cycle.

But after trying 6 different strains of cannabis? — with wildly differing chemical profiles? –> no giggles and silliness; no munchies; no giddy happiness, no extra talking or “free-associating”; no surges in creativity; no euphoria. None of the set-your-spirit-(unconscious)-free stuff associated with stoner-hood.

None. Nada. Zip bupkis goose-egg ZERO. Nothing.weed-jars
Because you can’t swing wide open a door that isn’t there.

So my earlier post wondering if I was “doing it wrong” — no.
Evidently I”m doing it right. I just needed to give some careful thought to expectations.

And I’m still pretty sure that all the fuss (arrests, imprisonments, lawsuits, debates, fines, just-say-no campaigns, ATF raids, three-strikes-you’re-out-s, family fights, and stern pulpit sermons and classroom filmstrips…) was / is waaay out of proportion with the plant itself.


June 7, 2016

well. this is interesting.


If it’s tasteless and odorless, you are making it wrong. This is frustrating news for me since I don’t actually like the taste….

Pot is fat soluble. I made “canna-butter” — infused butter — in the “Magical Butter” Cooker. All the resources / cookbooks say you can make it with a 1:32 ratio of cannabis to/ butter (or coconut oil); or, with a dilution as high as a 1:8 ratio.

That’s a very wide gap. As low as 1/4oz to 1c, or as high as 1oz/1c.

So I journeyed too the middle, and used 1/2oz of cannabis to 1c of butter.

All the youtube videos where people are demonstrating this recipe talk about how it’s the perfect way to use cannabis — because you can hardly taste it, and the effects last longer, and with the right cooking temperature and the right amount of time — it uses every trace of the relevant drugs, so — no waste. It also can take as much as 2 hrs to kick in after you eat it as opposed to the nearly instantaneous effect felt with smoking, vaping, or dabbing cannabis..
Lots of differences.

For my first test-taste, at my 1:16 ratio, I used 1/4t on a half english muffin. 2 hrs later, I was beginning to feel very relaxed. 3 hrs later I fell asleep. 5 hrs later I fell asleep again. It’s now 8 promo_box_2hrs later and I”m still a little sleepy. My speech has slowed down. The connection between thoughts and words takes longer. I had started to get a headache, but it has since faded. Really thirsty. It feels like mild inebriation.  Maybe equivalent to a couple of beers or a glass of wine

This is the most effect I’ve experienced.
I would not be safe behind the wheel of a car.

So — first thing to do is soften the Magic Butter, and cut it with fresh butter. Maybe 50/50. Maybe more diluted than that. This recipe needs to be diluted to be useful.

And — you can certainly taste the cannabis.
To the exclusion of everything else. Maybe the new dilution will help. [it didn’t]

this is an image of "decarboxilyzing" weed in advance of making infused butter or oil. Basically, the butter will just be bad-tasting green stuff to clog your sink and drain if you fail to do this. Remember: closed container; 220 degrees f; 1 hr.

this is an image of “decarboxilyzing” weed in advance of making infused butter or oil. Basically, the butter will just be bad-tasting green stuff to clog your sink and drain if you fail to do this. Remember: use a closed glass container; 220 degrees f; 1 hr.

And in the future, I’ll eat it late in the day.


June 9, 2016

holy cow that butter has a strong aroma.
Garlic butter has less.


I cut it —
2 1/2 c sweet cream butter : 1 c magic butter

did nothing to the scent — I used just a touch in 1/2c of cheesy mashed potatoes. I couldn’t taste it at all except for the aroma.

We’ll see in a few hours how the dosage works out.

3hrs later:
it’s not really glow-in-the-dark green. It’s more like key-lime pie pastel green — especially since I cut it with the regular butter.
— and I’m just a bit more relaxed than I would otherwise be.  No inebriation.  No slowed reaction time.  Just — chill.



June 13, 2016



Why is this chart important?  Because these are the temps you have to hit to “activate” each chemical.  Smoking always hits even the highest required temps which is why smoking has such a wide and deep list of physical effects.  It also destroys some chemicals before they can be felt.  Baking brownies at 425 for just 10 minutes before turning the heat down to 375 or 350 will activate all the chemicals without destroying others.  But most people do not vape higher than 170 or 180 c — which means they never trigger the CBN, Linalool, or THCv.  And if all you’re interested in the the THC, you don’t have to vape hotter than 160 c.

I did the math on the diluted batch of Magic Butter I made.
It works out to 21.53mg/t THC, and 7.6mg/t CBD per teaspoon, (+all the other micro amounts of the other chemicals like limonene, linalool, etc.)

By comparison, the max dose allowed in a retail edible in CO is 10mg THC. In OR, the max is 5mg/edible (like a single cookie.)   That means 1/2t of my butter is equal to 1 CO cookie, or 2-OR cookies.

So this morning I made a recipe of 6 apple-bran muffins with 1T of my butter, so each muffin has 1/2t of butter — Which should work out just about right.

It also means that batch of MButter I made has 434.7 total teaspoons of butter. That’s 869 1/2t doses. Which I can’t possibly eat before the butter goes bad.

It also means that it comes to about $0.55/dose. (including the cost of the machine!)
Compared to the $6-$12/dose shops sell brownies and jelly beans for. And mine don’t have a bunch of sugar


Terpene info-graphic from


June 13, 2016


the original question was: Is there another choice for dealing with my migraine headaches? I’ve tried everything else — with varying degrees of success, as well as varying degrees of side effect.

So I’m living where both medical and recreational cannabis are as easy to come by as vanilla ice cream — and pain management in general and migraine relief in particular are high on the list of pains and ailments for which medical marijuana is prescribed.

I did the research. I read A LOT. There are 2 ways to use pot for pain/migraine problems: as a prevention, or as a remedy.

For 12 days, I used it as preventative. Very small dose, 1x day.b7294835c59cd6d5afa9441a31eed991
Late yesterday, as the weather changed — simple sinus problems began transforming into a migraine. I used 1-dose’s worth of muffin — and the headache backed off.

But by the time I woke up this morning, it was coming back. Blasting through my head like an oncoming train.

So I figured this was a good test. I started with 2 little muffins.
Two hrs later, the headache was worse. I ate 2 more muffins.
Two and a half hours later, My head still hurt. Worse.
In for a penny –> in for a pound. I ate 2 more muffins.
Magic blueberry-pecan-cinnamon-applesauce bran muffins. With flax seed meal and chia seeds.
(This is all I’ve had to eat today. muffins that weigh-in at 7.5g fiber 7g protein each.)
An hour later —
wait —
wait —
no headache. NO HEADACHE.

14-SS-2012-02Too-EarlyTwo hrs later, no headache. Relaxed.
Two hrs later — still no headache. Still relaxed. Head completely clear. I ate half a muffin to celebrate.
Two hours later — no headache. I ate the last half-muffin. And it’s bedtime.

Ding ding ding ding! First trial: success.
12 days in a row with no headaches. Day 13: headache. How much as a remedy rather than as preventative? Turns out, 7 muffins, spread out over 10-12 hours.

—-next morning—-
no headache.

What did I learn? Make the muffins stronger so I don’t have to eat as many to get the same effect. 7 muffins turned out to be all I ate yesterday.

And yes. 1 time doesn’t prove anything. So now I go back to 1 muffin/day. Though I think next time I”m putting the butter in a nice pot of clam chowder.  I’m really sick of muffins.


June 14, 2016

lol.  Just one of the silliest bits of high-writing….—and-heres-what-we-think


June 15, 2016


Today’s diabetes-friendly Magic Muffins: Chocolate-Raspberry Cinnamon Pecan Bran Muffin (baked in a pan like brownies….)


June 18, 2016


Driving back from Tillamook yesterday, our favorite veggie/fruit stand had raspberries just brought in — so fat and electric red they almost didn’t look real.

Today, we have raspberry-chocolate chip (sugar free, of course) bran muffins.
(basic apple-bran muffin recipe [basic bran made with organic unsweetened applesauce instead of other liquids 1:1 substitution], +2c fresh raspberries +1c sugar free semi-sweet chocolate chips +1/2 c cocoa powder +1/2c wheat bran +dash of cinnamon +dash of salt +1/2 t apple cider vinegar

…and baked in a pan like brownies.


June 23, 201613315731_10206741745487658_8602537830592502701_n

can I just say,
WTF is wrong with all those decades’ worth of people who made the cannabis plant not only illegal, but made it illegal to do research on it!?!?!?!

I’m sorry, but I’ve been trying this out for over 3 weeks, and I still haven’t found a way to consume enough of the relevant chemical components to feel out of control in any way. It puts me to sleep before I start feeling anything remotely deserving of the word “high” — and every single effect/side-effect has been positive.
** It is relaxing like 1/2-1 shot of booze in a cocktail.
** It vanishes my hereditary tremor (hands etc)
** It vanishes my stammer
** It knocks out pain — from joint pain, to back pain, to migraine headache pain as well or better than opiates.
** It has a positive effect on my social anxiety (Asperger’s) — as in, I don’t feel anxious around people.
** I’m sleeping 6-8 hrs straight through the night for the first time in about 20 years.

HINT: you can add softened cannabuter to sour cream, cream cheese, or yogurt to make dips -- the spicier, the better.

HINT: you can add softened cannabutter to sour cream, cream cheese, or yogurt to make dips — the spicier, the better. Try it in a SW-Ranch dip, or a chipotle-green onion dip….

** For whatever reason — no nightmares.

And it’s not addictive.
And at least so far, it isn’t in the domain of BigPharm.
And insurance doesn’t cover it because it’s still federally illegal.
And it doesn’t taste good enough to over-use.
And it’s expensive as hell.
And I’d rather the taxes go into the state coffers than the high-tab profits into the hands of illicit drug operations.
And if even half the research being done now pans out –not to mention the potential and unknown future research — this could be something really useful to more people than they’ve even guessed at.

WTF were these stick-up-the-butt, “Just Say No”, my-rules-for-you / no-rules-for-me elitist lawmakers and zealots doing messing with medicine and chemistry and research!?!?!
and let scientists do science.


[After I posted this to FaceBook, I received this helpful link from daughter-in-law, Dannie:]

It’s a must-read for first-timers like me.


June 25, 2016


Today’s Magic Muffins:
Whole Wheat & Oat Bran Muffins w/ fresh Oregon marionberries, chopped hazelnuts, nutmeg & coconut flour. And cannabis, of course.


June 26, 2016 (rant)

Why is it that government and politicians think that questions of intimacy, reproduction, and gender are their business? Did they just assume it by divine right? and if so, which divinity? the divinity of the founding fathers? which founding fathers? they were not only NOT fundamentalist (or Baptist, catholic or Methodist…) they weren’t even all card carrying christian.

and do we as a nation really believe men have the right to decide anything for women regarding their bodies? and if so, does that mean women have the right to decide similar questions for men? If so, I would consider vasectomy (and/or chemical castration?) to be a good imposed choice for all men over 40. Certainly for all men who have reproduced more than 2 times. For all men convicted of violent crimes — especially spousal or child abuse of any kind.

How about a 3-strikes-you’re-out government mandated sterilization for child abusers, sexual abusers, spousal abusers, and all those convicted of hate crimes of any kind? That’s right — you get 2 chances to change your ways, then snip-chop-take-this-pill-and-go-to-therapy.

That would be a good use of this divine right. Let’s make it illegal to reproduce if you have ever been convicted of a violent crime.

Maybe that’s why a woman president is a little scary. Women might actually expect that turnabout-is-fair-play thing.

Better still — how about if we just take matters of reproduction, gender, intimacy, and marriage off the table all together. That would be the real fair play.


June 27, 2016


So here’s the problem with Magic Butter (cannabutter) — okay, there’s more than one problem:
1. If you use butter on veggies, you leave much of the butter on the dish or in the pan. veggies don’t actually absorb butter, they just wear it.
2. the kinds of things that DO absorb and hold butter are things like rice, pasta, potatoes, bread, oatmeal, etc. ALL of which are mostly carbohydrates — which do not play well with diabetes. OR, baked goods like brownies, muffins, cakes, pies, cookies etc — which are more than mostly carbohydrates — they’re mostly sugar carbs!
3. if it’s made with olive oil or coconut oil instead of butter —
colorful-little-mmj-nugs-thcfinderyou escape all the saturated fat, but you’re left with the same problems — dressing stays on the plate, rather than the lettuce — and unless you plan on licking the plate/bowl, makes measurement/dosage practically impossible.

The muffins I’ve been making are really good. And they work really well. After a month, STILL NO HEADACHES. But my average blood sugar is up by about 25-30 pts. So we’ve got the ingredient — I just need to figure out how to get the benefit without losing a kidney or some toes. I can’t smoke it — ASTHMA. I coughed for days when I tried it. I can’t muffin it — DIABETES just won’t take muffins every day.  There are Medical Marijuana sodas, lemonades, and even tea-bags and k-cups — but the commercial edible dosage is low, for a seriously high price-per-dose.

You know that amazingly satisfying mixer you get on airplanes or trains? This is it. By itself, it will mix with vodka and make a passable Bloody Mary -- but see recipes below for a bit of variety and tweaking.

You know that amazingly satisfying mixer you get on airplanes or trains? This is it. By itself, it will mix with vodka and make a passable Bloody Mary !

So I’ve been looking into tinctures. Like the butter, the base liquid (high-proof alcohol, vegetable glycerin, or vinegar) gets infused with all the chemical components and flavors of the cannabis. Glycerin makes a low-glycemic sweet tincture (has little effect on blood sugar;) vinegar makes a much weaker tincture — you’d have to take 4-6 times as much to get the same effect; high-proof alcohol burns like the devil if you put it under your tongue as sources recommend.

So somehow, I’ve ended up back at my favorite drink: the Bloody Mary. In an ice filled coffee cup: 5.5oz mixer + 26 drops of Magic Hooch + lime juice + olive juice/brine
T61HcSPu9XdL._SL1500_omorrow: we add shrimp, cilantro, onions, and avocado!!!!z


!!!!!  Recipe !!!!!!

– – – – – – – – –

BASIC Bloody Mary-Jane recipe:

-5.5oz can Mr. & Mrs. T’s Bloody Mary Mixer
-1 oz spicy cocktail olives
-1/2t olive juice
-1/2 t lime juice
-1 dose (about 1/2t for me, but your dose may be different) cannabis tincture made w/ alcohol
-smile 😀

*for the record, that’s just about 95 calories — mostly from the olives — so if there’s a garnish, inclusion, or condiment you like better than olives (like steamed shrimp, oyster, a thick slice of beefsteak tomato, avocado chunks, jalapeno slices, pickle spear, shredded cabbage pom-pon, pickled onion slices, lime/lemon wedge, a blackened grilled shrimp, a spring onion, a McDonalds hash brown patty, a rasher of crisp bacon, a spear of grilled bell pepper, a string cheese stick, lightly steamed sugar peas pods, pickled green beans, carrot sticks, a handful of grape tomatoes, celery stalk, asparagus spear, pepperoncini, a crisp sweet potato fry, those tiny baby ears of corn, half a hard boiled egg, or even pepperoni sticks/slice or a nice single baby back rib?  GO FOR IT!!!  I just happen to love olives!  But this Bloody Mary Jane is just a gazpacho waiting to happen!!!


June 27, 2016

Here’s a link to the basic recipe for making Cannabis Tincture using a Magical Butter pot:


June 30, 2016

Cannabinoids info-graphic from

Cannabinoids info-graphic from

Here’s a link to the “Cannabis 101” series of articles and videos available through

vsog-cannabis-very-special-og-weed-frosty-buds-thcfinder-0029111Here’s the real bottom line on legalizing marijuana at the federal level. This is a chemically complex bit of nature, which, like real aspirin (found in various forms in nature, like the bark of the white willow tree and other plants) has many effects. None of them are “side effects” unless you try and pretend it has only 1 actual reason for existence. All the effects are potential reasons for using this plant.

It is amazing, frightening, galling, horrifying to me that lawmakers and others have managed not only to keep cannabis illegal, but that they have completely suppressed the knowledge that it is a pain killer, anti-inflamatory, anti-depressant, anti-spasmodic, ….(there are about 20 of these descriptors which are all medical applications….)

Let’s just think about how many people are dying from accidental overdoses of pain killers. How many people are using the highly addictive opiates? Too many to count. But here we have cannabis, which is not addictive — and as far as I can tell is just as effective.

It’s subtle, rather than the deflating of the pain balloon that happens when you take opiates. Instead of “BAM the pain is gone,” it’s more like “hey — my head was hurting before, but — not any more.” It’s also, “hey — I just woke up and my knees (feet, back, elbows, hands, hips) don’t hurt. At all.”

Add to that, it’s almost impossible to take “too much”. At the very least it will just put you to sleep. At most — it will just put you to sleep. It won’t tear up your internal organs like Tylenol. It won’t cause edema or raise your blood pressure (or any of the gazillian other bad effects of taking steroidal anti-inflamitories.) Kidneys, liver, stomach — all safe with cannabis.

So why are lawmakers, doctors, BigPharm, religious folks, tight-ass old goats and busybodies etc so intent on keeping the stigma (and laws)??? Who knows what further research will reveal?! Who knows how many people would be able to leave the opiates behind?

saved18And if it fixes the nausea at the same time it fixes the pain? Or, if it fixes the social anxiety at the same time it elevates mood? Or, if relieves stress at the same time that it prevents/calms seizures and tremors? If it eases the pain at the same time it relaxes muscle spasms? If it prevents panic attacks and nightmares at the same time it increases your appetite? If it makes you feel better emotionally at the same time it makes you feel better physically? (OH GOD, NOooooooo!!!)

The real shame is that it doesn’t seem to be able to open-up a closed mind, or erase 100 years of misinformation.


Just a little FYI….


July 7, 2016

okay. so — 6 weeks: 0 migraines.images-6
I’m coming surprisingly close to calling this experiment a success.

To be clear — I’ve had 6 different days where I started getting a migraine — but in every case, I took a dose of cannabis (either in a muffin or in a tincture-bloody Mary as soon as it began, and the headache backed off before becoming severe, and before reaching “full-blown blinding, throwing-up, sound-and-light sensitive migraine” status.

I made a 40oz batch of tincture on Sunday — so I’m in Bloody Marys through at least November. 😀 (And I’ve still got lots of butter on hand for baking.)


July 7, 2016


Met this company (okay — it was a guy, not a company) when I went to get my medical card for cannabis — he sells 13 of the pure terpenes found in marijuana. Because of legalities, they are drawn from other botanicals where they naturally occur (Linalool in lavender, humulene in hops, limonene in citrus peels, pinenes in pine, caryophyllene in black pepper and clove etc.)

True Terpenes

The chemical components of cannabis that produce the benefits/effects are about 100 different cannabinoids and terpenes. (probably more) But fewer than 20 responsible for *most* of the effects, aromas, and flavors have been identified so far.


What has in the past been solely about pleasure, is entering a critical period of scientific access, methodology, and — capitalism.

Remember — being in cannabis prohibition and being on the Schedule 1 drug list has prevented research for the last 100 years. We know the effects of that baseline of 20+/- components because of their presence in other herbs, flowers, roots, leaves etc.

This one – nerolidol – is present in lion’s share in Neroli (bitter orange blossom — and is what I spritz on in hydro-distillate form (from the online site to ease the social anxiety-type reaction I have to being in crowds, or meeting people. Only a handful of the 1200-or-so cannabis strains that have been analyzed so far show significant amounts of nerolidol — but manymanymany more show trace amounts.'s analysis of a single strain (Trainwreck -- often used for medical purposes -- showing cannabinoids and terpenes present. This kind of information is the future of real medical use....’s analysis of a single strain (Trainwreck — often used for medical purposes — showing cannabinoids and terpenes present. This kind of information is the future of real medical use….  The real problem is that the same strain VARIES from grower to grower, eco-system to eco-system, and even season to season.  In other words — this footprint will be completely different for Trainwreck grown in a different state, or a different climate.  Thus the need for every harvest to be tested separately — and that’s a lot of testing.

The combination of terpenes and cannabinoids is what makes up the chemical fingerprint of each strain — and carries the information that allows growers/breeders to predict the effects of the strain. More than average linalool produces a flower that is more relaxing/sedating. (as in the lavender sprays you spritz on pillows, or rub as lotion on a baby to help relaxation) More limonene makes a flower that has more mood-elevating or anti-depressant characteristics — like the citrus oils you wear/spray around the house to be uplifting and to cheer the place up)

But it is the wildly varied composition where the magic happens. They’ve already discovered that one (and probably more) of these chemicals is what makes it easier for the body to absorb and use many of the others. Still another acts as a sort of glue that lets 2 of the other terpenes work together in a different way than either works in isolation. It’s the combination of caryophyllenen and alpha-pinene (a known bronchodilator) which is most likely responsible for the positive effects on asthma — which is always of interest to me.

This is where the next wave of discovery is going to happen — people have been smoking this stuff all this time without knowing the why, what, how, and what-if of it. The point (are you listening, Big Pharm?) is not to isolate each component and patent it in a pill and market it as a single drug for a single purpose. Especially when we really have so few answers about how these 100+ chemicals interact. Probably the biggest pharmaceutical error of the last 150 years was when they isolated aspirin and left the rest of the white willow fingerprint on the vine. But once they isolate it and synthesize it — all the interactions are lost.


This is what the chemical analysis of marijuana looks like.  (At least from this specific laboratory, for this specific strain — “Scooby Snacks” — grown by this specific grower, in this specific year/season.  The same strain grown by a different grower in a different geographical location will have a different chemical profile.  Grown in another weather year,   even by the same grower, it will have a different profile.  No part of this analysis is absolute and Permanent.  Not even the ratio of one chemical to another.

nyc-diesel-weed-nyc-diesel-cannabis-nug-thcfinder-006The magic is in the complete profile. Nature is complex for a really good reason.

Cannabis is worth the trouble BECAUSE it doesn’t JUST relieve pain, but also relaxes muscles, vanishes depression, relieves muscle cramps and spasms, counters sleeplessness, vanishes nightmares, relieves social anxiety, dilates blood vessels, relieves asthma, quiets panic, reduces the number and severity of seizures, relieves nausea and dizziness, — etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. That they think a couple of these terpenes and cannabinoids may also help the immune system fight bacteria, viruses, fungus etc., and defend the body/brain against heavy-hitters like cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s is just more reason to let the researchers do their thing.

And yes. I’m going to try adding a single extra drop of pure nerolidol to my Bloody Mary, and see if jiggling the fingerprint/profile of my tincture will give me more anti-anxiety effect.
Let the experiments begin!

home-mobile1B*There are now a couple of companies marketing a personal chemical analysis instrument — this one, My DX, offers several software options that will let you analyze your food, your water, the air you’re breathing, or the cannabis in your stash.


We haven’t seen a lot about how the results of this hand-held hardware/software compares to the big mass spec equipment results, but it’s an intriguing idea.  If the current price (several hundred) falls to a workable price-tag, and if its results turn out to be comparable, then this is how my own tinctures and butter/oil can be tested for potency and to set dosage more accurately.




July 16, 2016


“nobody ever said life was fair” is the quippy response created by conservatives so they could blow off doing the hard work of making the world a fair and just place.

Yes, it’s hard.


Unfairness is not the natural state of existence.


July 22, 2016

Bubbler2__77894.1394764451.1280.1280okay, fine. I finally stumbled upon a strain of cannabis that explains the difference between *high* and *stoned*. Very first time I’ve gotten this kind of physical effect — it was very interesting. I am assuming it was a result of the combination of the specific strain (Black & Blueberry Kush) and the new experiment of attaching the vaporizer to a water-pipe type cooling process.
–Pulled all the irritating particulates out of the vapor, and cooled all the irritating heat. No irritation –> no cough, and pretty much instantaneous results. (What started off as the beginnings of a bad migraine just evaporated.) That was 8 hours ago, and the migraine did not return.


July 25, 2016

Jim says that maybe the reason some people want so badly to keep cannabis illegal is because it offers reduction/relief from physical pain and emotional stress to the average person.


Just a little FYI….


July 26, 2016

Okay. Cannabis report.
After 10 weeks.

after reading a pile of reviews (and watching videos demonstrating how to use and clean) this is the vaporizer I bought....

after reading a pile of reviews (and watching videos demonstrating how to use and clean) this is the vaporizer I bought.  You can control temp to the degree — which matters since we know the “activation” temp of each of the major cannabinoids and terpenes (and we’re learning about heat and dozens of the chemicals present….)

I’ve had 2 days where I started to get a migraine headache last week (I blame the Republicans) — but both times, I did the Bloody Mary-Jane, followed by vaping (through a water pipe cooling bowl) a dose of Black & Blue-berry Kush grown by Green Dragon Farms here in Oregon (I only say that because it is one of their newly hybred strains and is only available from them at this time) —
both times, the headache vanished within minutes, before it had time to develop into a blinding, sick, throwing-up sleep-in-a-dark-room migraine.


this little piece of wood + silicone tubing turns any cup or glass into a water-pipe like filtration/cooling system. (Made by Magic Flight)

this little piece of wood + silicone tubing turns any cup or glass into a water-pipe like filtration/cooling system. (Made by Magic Flight)

TODAY, I woke up with a full blown migraine. Sick. Nauseated. Eyes sensitive to light. Curl-up-and-die headache.

I could barely see to put the dropper of tinc into the glass.

And the vaporizer thing was a real challenge since my hands were shaking.


But — within 10 minutes — no headache. My eyes were still light-sensitive, so I laid back in my recliner and closed my eyes. That was about 9am.
6 hours later, I woke up so thirsty I was gagging —
but no headache.

This is called a "bottle rocket" -- also made by Magic flight -- that turns any bottle (evenwater bottles) into a waterpipe-like cooling/filtering set up.

This is called a “bottle rocket” — also made by Magic flight — that turns any bottle (even water bottles) into a waterpipe-like cooling/filtering set up.  The picture is a link.

6 more hours later, still no headache.
And I’m thinking that about settles the question.
I lived 45 years having a migraine headache 4-6 of every 7 days. sometimes they lasted in excess of 2 weeks and I had to basically flood my system with opiate pain killers to get out of the spiral.

This makes 10 weeks — with no headache that has lasted more than 10 minutes when treated with cannabis (longer when using just edibles without vaping.) –And not even very much cannabis. By my calcs, a vaporizer dose is about 20% of 1g. Each tincture dose is less than 10-15% of 1g. So 1/3g of cannabis is doing in 10 minutes what I’ve previously treated with consecutive doses of hydrocodone over periods of days.

F&c% just say no.







Still working on this.

But —

  1.   If you are new to medical cannabis, start by READING first.  That’s me, anyway.  If you’re a good extrovert, go to your local dispensary and TALK to somebody.  Either way, LEARN the basic vocabulary, and what the available delivery methods are like.tumbleweed-joint-roller-1-1
  2. The reputation, anecdotal evidence, and traditional benefits of any strain — including Maui Waui/Wowee, Purple Haze, Afghani Kush, and all the others are pretty much meaningless.  The hybridization of the species has turned any facts about pot from previous decades into history.  Pot in 1960 had less than 10% of the THC or other chemical components that pot in 2016 has.  Which means you would have had to smoke/ingest 10 hits of 1960 weed to get the same effect as 1 hit now.  Jumbo-Joint-RollerEven if the strain has the same name.
  3.  Figure out how you are going to deal with dosage.  If you are using pot strictly for fun and recreation, then which and how much of the cannabinoids and terpenes are present is just a matter of taste.  But if you are a medical user — the decades of “buy-it, smoke-it, and chill” how-to are irrelevant.  As clever and interesting as strain names are — the only thing that matters in the commerce of medical cannabis is the numbers.twaxjointinsidebudder
    –>An ounce (28g) of cannabis that is 10%THC and no CBD = 2.8g of THC.
    –>An ounce of the strain “Critical Mass” cannabis (28g) that is 15% THC and 15% CBD = 4.2g THC, and 4.2g CBD — which is 8.4g total medicine, that’s 50/50 THC and CBD.G_joint-roller-hemp-fibers-raw-110mm_1-1
    –>An ounce (28g) of the strain “Pineapple Express” cannabis that is 30% THC with only traces of CBD will also yield 8.4g total medicine, but it will be near-0g of CBD but a big whopping 8.4g of THC.
    **Why is this important?  Because if you know you need a minimum of 10mg of THC and 10mg CBD twice a day, the ounce of Critical Mass described above made into butter or tincture is going to yield 420 doses — that’s 210 days worth.  If, however you need 4 doses a day, that ounce will only last half as long (105 days.)  If you are heavier (like me) it will take a larger dose to get the same effect.
    AND YOU THOUGHT ALL THAT MATH IN SCHOOL WAS A WASTE OF TIME….images-5-1It’s also important to mention here that without actual testing — any dosage numbers an individual user/cook comes up with for their own brewed/created tincture, butter, oil, vinegar, glycerin concentrate, brownie, cookie, or clam chowder is just a rough calculation.53cfd7800e7578290ddd801920338f40-1You can’t get exact verified numbers without exacting, scientific analysis. You have no way of knowing exactly how much of the chemical is left in the pot, or the dregs/pomace of the plant matter  (Though a lot of people keep the butter pomace and add it to recipes for dense foods like brownies and cookies.)  Your percentages and ratio of THC:CBD  will be very close — but the exact number of mg/dose will always be approximate.  If it doesn’t seem to be doing enough — add a few drops.  If you fall asleep too easily — you might decrease the dose by a bit.
  4. You have to stay up-to-date regarding research.  Most analyses of cannabis on the shelf in a dispensary today (2016) will tell you only the THC and CBD numbers. tumblr_lmwj90hhk11qhfg8bo1_500-1 As we learn more about the other cannabinoids and the terpenes, the available information will/should multiply.  In the same way we now know which of the Big-2 (THC/CBD) are most important in treating specific symptoms/complaints — we are on the verge of knowing much much more.  So that will mean parsing between strains with specific outcomes in mind.  And chances are very good that the growers and those experimenting with the genetics of the plant will create strains that laser-target specific outcomes like sleep, mood elevation, or relief from social anxiety.
  5. magic-flight-bottle-rocket-2A lot of people will tell you that the only part of the cannabis that has medical applications is the CBD — and that if you are a medical user, that is all you need to buy/use.  At least until a significant amount of research can be done, don’t rush to use isolated componants of cannabis.  All these chemicals come packaged together for a reason — there is something very successful about the mix within the plant that we don’t want to break apart without a good reason.
    Pay attention to the terpenes and cannabinoids — be part of the learning process we are going through now.  These are the best first steps after almost 100 years of research interruptus.  We already know that the efficacy of some of the components is dependent on interactions with other components — and this is probably just the beginning of understanding “whole plant” and “entourage effects.”
  6. The most pervasive (and least talked about) effect of this plant for me has been increased b429_zoom_1412698610lood circulation.  I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal, so let me explaine:  Circulation is one of the big monsters of Type-2 Diabetes.  Decreased circulation is why wounds don’t heal as fast for diabetics — and why blindness and amputation of extremities are part of the long-term prognosis for un-managed –and even well-managed diabetes.  Without good circulation — you get cold a lot. Shisha-Parts Without good circulation, you don’t get over minor bacterial or viral infections as fast, so you spend more time out of circulation.  Without good circulation, you are more likely to have problems with kidney infections, liver function, sexual unresponsiveness, neuropathy, and a host of other scary complications.
    –So, while increased blood circulation is not given a lot of attention, and Diabetes is not generally thought of as one of the conditions Medical Marijuana can help (though there is some early indication that a few of the cannabinoids/terpenes can help stabilize blood sugar) — the truth is, this may be my second most significant result of using cannabis, right up there with managing life-long chronic migraine headaches.




marijuana-bongIf you have MS, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, PTSD, epilepsy or other seizure problems, anxiety, stress, depression, arthritis, or if you’re in chemo —

If you have lost your appetite, can’t sleep, can’t relax, can’t eat because of nausea or another medical condition —

If you live with a tremor whether it’s heriditary or from Parkinson’s, ALS, or one of the other tremor-symptom diseases —

If you have bone-breaking or painful chronic muscle spasms or cramps —Metal-Acrylic-upscale-classic-retro-smoking-water-pipe-Multifunction-hose-Hookah-Ben-Type-pipes-for-smoking

If you have insomnia, night terrors or just troubling nightmares —

Do the research.


The only real evidence of intelligence is to learn.





Figuring Out my Type-2 Diabetes — Post 2: The Honeymoon Phase

So -- what does a hedgehog eat?

So — what does a hedgehog eat?

Two weeks ago, I was diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes.  Here’s a post about that….

This is not particularly surprising.  While the disease does not run in my family — my mother was diabetic.  But she was the first on both sides of my family tree.  It was not surprising that she was diabetic, since she ate sweets like they were heroin and she’d been addicted since birth.

I, on the other hand, have never had a sweet tooth — probably out of disrespect for my dear, unsainted mother.  Instead, I have a savory tooth, if there is such a thing.  As equivalencies go — it turns out to be not that much different, since savories are so often carb based — and non-sugar carbs are just sugars in slow motion.

So here I am.  And I think I’m going to write down my journey into this new phase of life.

Here are my starting point particulars:

  • 59 years old.
  • Waaaay overweight.  Morbidly screwed.  This is not a new condition.
  • Asthmatic. (not new news here, either.  This is lifelong and severe.  In fact, I’ve had dreams all my life of dying by asphyxiation, and being smothered by what I, as a child, called “The Winter Cough.”)
  • Dyslexic.
  • High-functioning autistic/Asperger’s.  Something I’ve only had a name for for the last 2 years.
  • High blood pressure, well controlled by the simplest meds — beta-blockers and diuretics.
  • Arthritis, but only painful in very cold weather.  Knees had surgery in 1977.  Hands lost some function in 2009.

71tDVR7F81L._SL1500_So that’s where I am.   And now I’m in a steep learning curve trying to learn a new way of calculating, shopping, cooking, record-keeping, and thinking about my metabolism and food.

And so far — that complex of new information is not only a bottomless pit of numbers, facts, and calculations — but also demands that I basically forget everything I know about cooking.91pf9Kw1Y8L._SL1500_

And that’s a hard thing.  I’m a really good cook — and I find myself picking up a can of Progresso soup and putting it in the microwave instead of cooking — because I’m too hungry to stop and recalculate a recipe because I’m soooo hungry I can’t wait.  !

The only 2 people I’ve ever known who were diabetic had convinced me that it was giving up favorite foods that was the terrible horrible god-awful part of being diabetic.  But — so far, that hasn’t been true for me.  My breakfast this morning was identical to breakfasts I’ve eaten at least 1 day a week for the last umpteen years of my life.

91HByawHCwL._SL1500_The only things I’ve consciously given up so far are liquor, sodas (except flavored soda water and carbonated juices) and desserts.  I’ve switched from carb-y snacks to mixed nuts.  I’ve switched from 16oz glasses of juice to 5oz glasses — and mostly V-8 and tomato juice.  I’ve pretty much stopped eating in restaurants for the time being until I get this portion-control accountancy loaded in as the default software of eating.  I’ve made a couple of purchases — 3 microwave safe bowls for heating Progresso soup, some left-over containers that hold 1/2 c and 3/4 c — so I don’t have to weigh and measure every time I get hungry, and a little table-top oven thingy to make pizza.  I don’t foresee any time when I could eat restaurant pizza, since I’d have no idea of what/how much was actually in it.  By making my own dough — I know exactly what I’m getting, and I can put whatever the hell I want on it, including extra fiber in the crust, extra pizza sauce on top, and green olives (which restaurants NEVER have!)! ! !



Fiber by the gram!!

Which actually sounds like a life-improvement, to me.

So that’s where I am.  Living each day with a computer open to My Fitness Pal and it’s database of details, re-arranging my kitchen, donating a lot of pre-accountant foods to the food bank, making space on the table for a food scale, and learning to think things through — ahead of when I need to eat.

I would like very much to learn to control this with diet and exercise — and barring a lot of physical deterioration (pancreas, liver, etc) — that should be possible.  That’s the goal.

Because exercise burns off excess sugars in the bloodstream, basically lessening the strain on insulin producing cells — I’m now walking on the treadmill before both lunch and supper.  That seems like the most positive change besides diet I can make.  Upping my metabolism can only help.

I’m not sure how long it will take to see if this will be possible — but I’m in this full-throttle.  If it can be done, I intend to do it.  Or at least do as much as is physically possible!

61lIlLXyi0L._SL1500_ 71+07ctcxmL._SL1500_ 61sGaF9DGhL._SL1500_ 41U54y4X+jL 41MyG8WNq4L

😀  So far, so good!!!

Stars and Seas

There are many things I’ve never studied that I regret not learning.  Had I known it was an option — I’ve always thought I’d have been good at dealing with animals in a zoo environment.  I would have loved to care for birds and been part of their world.  I would have liked tending to small mammals, and studying their way of life.  Maybe working in genetics and animal husbandry.  Or with bigger picture species-wide questions of research and long-term viability or health issues.

Now that I live so close to the ocean and mountains, I see how much basic knowledge I am missing about sea life.  Tides.  Weather patterns and geology.  Astronomy.


I stepped outside tonight and the roar of the ocean is constant — like a train yard full of freight being moved slowly into place for transport.  I look up, and while most of the country is blanketed by snow, socked in by fog, and shivering in mid-winter winds; here at the shore of the northern Pacific ocean, the crisp air is acting like a crystallizing lens — showing thousands of bright, sparkling stars that range from pinpoints in clusters and wandering alone — to the boldest and brightest galaxies, planets (and probably airplanes and satellites) that decorate the velvet blackness with familiar and unfamiliar constellations that have been wished upon, dreamed on, and mythologized for millenia.

And  while I know the myths — I don’t know the stars.  I know the mechanisms of why some tides are wild and full of froth, and othera are calm and mirror-like.  I don’t know why the surf is noisy on some days, and so quiet it barely whispers on others.  I don’t know what it is that makes the difference between a dark night  with a few stars — and these nights of velvet blackness where you can see the whole Milky Way laid out across the sky in vivid colors and sparkling gems.

If I had it all to do over again, I think I’d have taken as many science classes — in as many sciences — as possible.  It seems to me now that almost everything else is just froth and filler.  But if I had the background knowledge of astronomy, geology, chemistry, biology, the sciences of weather and flight and currents — anatomy, neurology, physics, astrophysics, cosmology, genetics, natural history, particle physics — all the basics of the natural world — then I would be able to walk outside and know what I am seeing.  I might know what makes this night what it is.

I searched online for images that actually look like what I see outside my door tonight — I found this page of beautiful photographs by Ben Coffman, all taken just a few miles to the North, at Cannon Beach.Cannon-Beach-houses-1-of-11

Adults with Asperger’s Syndrom / High Functioning Autism

When we first figured out that “Asperger’s Syndrom” (what used to be called High Functioning Autism) was the name for the set of behaviors, symptoms, and inconveniences that has been such a big part of my life — my reaction was a deep, long, sigh of relief that started under my feet, and shuddered through me like a reversal in direction of the flow of the Mississippi River.

All at once, I had an explanation for so many questions and strange-nesses in my life, that it seems as though my entire personal history was rewritten and adjusted and footnoted.  It took a couple of weeks for this adjusting to shake loose all the misconceptions and misunderstandings I’d had.  And another few months to really see the scope of how much is changed just by learning a single truth.

In the last 6 weeks, I’ve met 4 other people — all adults, and who all recently learned the same thing about themselves.

— And every one described the same feeling.   That absolute relief.   The sudden and overwhelming knowledge of all the mistaken ideas and advice and circumstances that has tripped us up.  All the people we wish we could go back to now and say — “Wait — there’s an explanation!  I know what’s happening!

It’s not stupidity.  Or lack of intelligence.  I’m not just socially clumsy or awkward — okay, I am those things, but the awkwarness is not a problem — it’s a symptom!  It isn’t that I’m unreasonable or that I don’t care.  It isn’t coldness or outrage that needs to be counseled or over-taught.  All those are things that need to be addressed and understood in context.  And in some cases, those are issues where people need to meet me — and those like me — halfway.

You don’t have to ignore my inabilities — you just have to understand what it is that we’re all working around.  I can pretend — for long periods of time — to be like everybody else.  Some attempts are more successful than others.  But sometimes the illusion doesn’t work.  And sometimes I just can’t keep it up.

There’s a whole list of things I didn’t understand during my life.  Couldn’t understand.  Things I’ve spent a lot of hours/years trying to understand.  Trying to make sense of.  And I still don’t understand it all.  But now I know there are things I just don’t get.  And I know why.  And I know I need to over-over-over-compensate for those things.  And sometimes, I just need to set them aside and accept that they are not part of my world.

But my world is very big.  Complex.  Brilliant.  Beautiful.  Fun.  Wonderful.

And it’s a relief to live in this world with the streets named and the maps drawn (or being drawn.)  It’s nice to know where I am.  And that there are so many like me.

And I met another person  — a father — a small business owner.  I had to call him to get a repair made on my house, and I would bet money on his being Asperger’s, too.  There was this moment of recognition in a brief conversation where we both said — not much — but just the important bits — and never made eye contact.  And I suddenly realized he was following the high notes of the sentences — just like I tend to do.  And he clipped back and forth between 4 different topics.  Just like I tend to do.  And he was impatient with the extra words — and had a hard time keeping on topic if it strayed too far from what I needed him to do, or wanted him to address.

I wonder how many of us there are?

They talk on news shows about there being a rise in autism and Asperger’s and all the related “syndroms” of the autism spectrum — and it may be true.  Maybe.  But I’m not so sure.  I think in many of these diagnoses, we just didn’t recognize until now what we were looking at.  Maybe, that a certain percentage of the population is just wired differently.

In another century or another country — I’d have been institutionalized when I was a child because I was so far from the “norm.”  Or I’d have been locked in an attic, or just killed outright.  I’d have been drugged or exposed to the elements.  Or if I was really precocious or odd (and I was,) I’d have been traded like livestock, and put to work either as a savant, or in some workhouse.

What does it sound like when this many people sigh with relief?


Discovering My Life

I spent a great deal of my life being told by other people what I should do and not do.  What I should want and not want.  And what I should be and not be.

Which is pretty rich considering that none of those people was ever actually talking about me.  They may have been talking about themselves.  Or people they knew.  I have no idea.

But I know they weren’t talking about me because they didn’t know me.  None of them ever put the pieces together that I was autistic (Asperger’s Syndrome) or dyslexic.  Or even asthmatic.  I spent my whole childhood on antibiotics that wrecked my immune system and damaged by teeth and bones irreparably — with no effect on the asthma, because no one thought to take me to an ENT, or even a competent general physician.

And since nobody in the 60s knew about dyslexia — nobody noticed.  They just chalked my grades up to being lazy or distracted.

Certainly nobody knew about autism.   If I hadn’t been mostly neglected as a child, they might have figured out something was really going on and had me drugged and institutionalized.  Lucky for me, nobody was paying attention.

Odd, now, that at mid-life, I am just now discovering what my life actually is — and what it is in life that matters to me.  My son and his wife, and my husband matter — that’s a given.  Without them, I probably wouldn’t have survived long enough to get to this point.  And I am outrageously lucky that after having been a single mom for over 18 years — after working back-breaking hours and creativity-killing jobs for nearly 2 decades — after living in cities I hated near all those people who were so catastrophically negligent and abusive for most of my life…

I now find myself in a place I chose.  A house I love.  A marriage I treasure with a man I adore.  — I even have a dog!

And I am discovering what I like.  What I choose.  What I want.  What I care about.  What I am afraid of and what I am fearless about.

What I am.  It’s an ongoing process.

so here’s the start of a list.

I like coffee strong, dark roasted, and very hot.  I like it with a lot of half & half, and real sugar or stevia — but very little of either sweetener.  I like “Italian Roast” best (as they all seem to be trying to taste like Illy Caffe) but I also like dark Sumatran blends.  I don’t care for black espresso.  And the only flavor I really like added to coffee is real cinnamon.  I like iced espresso drinks, but not ice-weakened regular coffee.

calder_mobileI love art.  I love looking at it.  I love making it.  I love artists and all their quirkyness and novelty.  I love museums, but not galleries; online art supply stores, but not brick and mortar stores.  I love pastels and watercolor and collage and line drawings and art assemblies and miniatures –and sculpture!  I love abstract art, and impressionism and post impressionism, and cleverly thought-provoking political art.  I love almost every painting I’ve ever seen by van Gogh, and almost none that I love by Pollack.  I am fascinated by Calder and Bourgois and Rauschenberg — and bored to tears by all but a few of Picasso’s.

I like my breakfast eggs over medium or poached.  But I love fried egg sandwiches late at night, and scrambled eggs with ketchup and Tabasco anytime.

I don’t want to go to crowded places.  Not crowded restaurants at the noon hour.  Or even a place where I have to have a reservation because every table is sold out.  Not shopping malls at Christmas or on weekends.  Not airports in the crush of loading and unloading.  I don’t want to stand in line in a crowded movie theater for a first run blockbuster, or sit on a full bench of strangers in a church — even for a wedding or a funeral.  I don’t want to wait in a crowded doctor’s waiting room or even go to the ER on the night of a full moon when all the loons are out.  I’d rather sit outside in my car alone until the crowd dissipates — or just stay home.

I like a small cocktail after dinner.  Not much — just enough to relax and enjoy a little reading before I go to sleep.  I like a salty and spicy Bloody Mary — and I also like a sweet cordial like Bailey’s or Frangelica or Kahlua & Cream.  I love the flavor of Southern Comfort — especially with lemonade.

I like tarot cards — especially the art.  But I don’t much like reading them for people as they seem to encourage people to accept the world as “happening to them” rather than as something they make happen.  I like that I do not see and experience time and causality the way most people do, but I sometimes regret not having such a basic thing in common with most people.  This is also true of the way I see and experience deaths.

I love stories.  All kinds of stories — but especially fantastical stories.  From fairy tales and science fiction to alternate realities and mythical heroes — I love a well-told tale, whether it’s a book, a story told by friends, a great play or musical theater piece, a movie or television story — even a ballet or opera.  As long as it’s a story with a beginning, middle and end — I’ll be there.

I love sitting on the porch and watching the dog do dog things like sniffing each blade of grass and licking the dew off every last one until his face is soaked.

I like wearing socks.  And soft shoes with laces.

I don’t like brown rice of any kind in any recipe.  Period.  I do like white Basmati rice, Texamati, Jasmati, Jasmin, and Arborio.  And I like whole barley, either pearled (hull-less) or hulled or made into rolled flakes like oats.  I like steel-cut oats, Irish Oats, and just about any thing else you can do to oats including oat flour, oat cakes, oat meal, oatmeal hot cereal, oat bran, oat bread — even sweet oat soups.

I’m not too crazy about babies and children.  I liked mine okay — but I knew him really well and he was interesting and intelligent and funny.   Most others — I should probably wait until they’re grown-up to talk to.

I don’t like “skinny” lattes or non-fat cheese.  I’d rather eat or drink half as much and have real food.  I like butter but not margarine or “spread.”  I like cream and half&half and buttermilk and whole milk — even 2% milk — but not fat-free or 1% except for Organic Valley’s 1% chocolate milk.

I like to sleep on the sofa or in a recliner chair.  I like reading until I fall asleep.  I like cotton blankets.  And I like sleeping in the room with a dog that lets me know if there is something I should be paying attention to.

I don’t like chewing gum, but I like hard candies and mints.  I don’t like any commercial candy bars except for a Mr. Goodbar or a KitKat — but I do like organic extra dark chocolate in small amounts.  And I really don’t like milk chocolate or any of the cheap chocolate flavored candy that’s made with paraffin or other wax, or that’s had all the cocoa butter stripped out and sold off — then replaced with cheap tropical oils and hydrogenated fats.  I don’t like any of the artificial sweeteners, and I’d rather drink alka-seltzer than a soda made with high-fructose corn syrup or sugar-free substitutes.

I like orange.  And green and purple.  In fact — I like just about every color there is.  And I like the all at once.  All over the place.  I like colors that vibrate and others that are subdued and grayed or silvered.  I don’t much like animal prints on anything but the original animal.  And I don’t care for sequins and rhinestones.  Or real stones, for that matter.  I like representational jewelry — silver and gold that has been cast or carved or etched to look like real things.

I like to visit other places, but I’m not crazy about traveling.  I hate airplane travel and everything associated with it.  But I love wandering around in new cities and driving through beautiful and unusual territory.  I love the ocean, though I’ve never been on an ocean worthy boat.  I’m not crazy about lake-boating, and could go the rest of my life without it.  But I do like ferry boats and riverboats.

I love to play games and cards — but I don’t like casinos.

I love live shows, theater, the circus, and baseball.  I love amusement parks, aquariums, zoos, picnics, and outdoor cafes.  I like factory tours and seasonal festivals and state fairs and carousels — but not roller coasters or ferris wheels.

I like having a large breakfast/brunch, and then a bowl of soup or a salad for dinner.  Three meals a day turns out to be 1 too many for me.  Though I kind of like a cookie. or a piece of cheese and a cracker late in the evening.  And I like a cup of milk in the middle of the night when I wake up and can’t get back to sleep.

I like to keep the house at about 64 degrees F.

I like ice in just about any drink except hot coffee or tea or chai or cocoa.  And even those I like iced as well as hot.  And I like a lot of ice.

I like Mac computers.  And smartphones — but especially the iPhone.  I like being paperless and not owning a printer.  I like having the world of information at my fingertips all the time — and I like what a different way of experiencing the world that is from every generation that’s ever come before.

I like sitting in a quite room and reading or listening to an actor read a book aloud in and interesting way.  I like driving while listening to stories and books.  I like listening to some books read aloud on CD or iTunes — and listening to them again and again like bedtime stories that are full of familiar and friendly characters.  I like knowing what happens next.  And I like the surprise of a writer telling me a story I’ve never heard before — and that I can’t imagine the ending until it’s all told.  I love genius and exploration and invention.

I like whole days to go by without having to know what people want or are thinking.  And without having to guess at the things I’m probably missing.  I like not having to be something I’m not.

I like my life.  I’ve always liked parts of my life.  But now — the parts I didn’t like or couldn’t understand seem to have faded away.   And it’s a very different existence without all those things.

Choosing a Place: The Difference Between Simple and Easy

I think it is probably a function of the Asperger’s Syndrome — I assume this because this is one of those things I know to be different in me from all the people I know and have been close to in my life — but moving to a new place, a new part of the world, a new ecosystem has been a very low-stress thing for me.   A simple thing.

Lubbock_County_Texas_wind_turbines_2011The decision to move was simple.  Not easy, but simple.  For the last 13 years, I have lived in a place I did not choose, for reasons that were beyond my control.  At least the reason I ended up there was beyond my control.  I was broke and bankrupt; I’d lost the only home I’d ever owned.  At a time when I had no health insurance, my son became ill and I used all our savings and all our credit to pay medical costs, and to stay with him while the doctors worked to fix what was wrong.   After that, depression left me unable to find a way out of my life.  So I ended up doing what so many of us do — I went to family for help.  Unfortunately, I went to the wrong family.  I went to the family that had already neglected quincy-park-street-developmentor abused me for much of my life — expecting — I don’t know what — but it happened again.

Fortunately, that wasn’t the only thing that happened.  I also found someone who found me.  We found each other.  It took more than half a lifetime, but Jim and I found each other.  And for 13 years, I continued to live and chose to live where he works and lives and fulfills his life’s lubbock14-1purpose — even though the place itself made me physically ill because of asthma.  At any and all levels, I was suffocating there in the dust and the pesticides and coton gins and stockyards, and the desert-dry blowing dirt.  I’d resigned myself to living there and dying there, because living a short life with Jim, is preferable to living forever without my best friend.  I started a small retail business.  I learned to paint.  I learned to mix and create my own paints — in an ugly landscape full of bad memories and ghosts of people who never knew what Asperger’s or autism was, much less how to deal with it.  For me, the flat, dry, over-baked landscape of the Texas Panhandle with its black and white world views and overwrought  fundamentalist religion is the nightmare landscape where I wandered for most of my youth, and then again as an adult.  It is a place where I was forever a stranger.  Always an outsider.  And — except for Jim and my son, always alone.  The Asperger’s thing makes being alone not so much an issue, but the rest never ceased to be a problem.

As Jim and I traveled from time to time, there were always moments where we would look around at where we were and evaluate the place.  The town.  The state.  The country.  The landscape.  The environment.  The weather.  “I could live here.”  “I’d be miserable here.”  “It’s a great place to go — but I wouldn’t want to stay.”  “It’s beautiful — but nobody looks happy.”  “Crowded.”  “Hot.”  “Ugly.”  “Bad roads.”  “Dangerous drivers.”  “Not enough art.”

heat_haze_route_66_west-2Then, this past summer, we went west.   In my dreams, all my life, I’d been going down a road.  It always started at my grandmother’s house — and I would head west out of town.  For a while the roads were familiar ones that I actually drove on as a teenager.  West across the Panhandle of 1348697641_9071_route66West Texas towards Plainview (an accurate name) and then on farther past Amarillo and onto roads that weren’t familiar at all.  But I had the dream so many times that they eventually became familiar.  Part of it was Route 66.  Part was backroads through farmland.  It was a road that, in my dream at least, came up over the last mountain, and was a steep decent toward an arch-covered peer surrounded by whitewashed buildings, and then — ocean.  And until last summer, I didn’t know the road really existed — but there it was.

So for over 2 weeks, we drove the Pacific Coast Highway.  We got as far as the border to Oregon, where we went inland to Ashland, and we spent 5 oregon-shakespeare-festivaldays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  Our plans were to head back home by crossing up to Yellowstone; then down to Denver to visit our friend, Rebecca; then finally home again to the Panhandle.

But as the last day of theater approached, we decided that we’d seen so many beautiful parks — maybe we’d just not do Yellowstone — even though we’d probably never go this way again.  We chose instead to go north to Portland where one of our favorite virtual places existed in the real world — Powell’s City of Books: the largest used bookstore in the US.  Maybe in the world — but we’d been to Hay on Wye in the UK — so we needed to see this place we’d bought so many books from in the past.  We left our planned vacation behind, and went north on a lark.

One of the other theater-goers we met listened to our tale of driving up Highway 1 across California and had asked if we were going to see the Oregon coast.  And of course the answer had been no.  But when our plans changed, we looked at the map and decided that if we were going all the way to Portland, a day off the main highway to see this place — the Pacific Northwest’s seashore, spoken of with such smiles and glowing descriptions — was probably worth the time.

And from Ashland, north to Eugene — we evaluated every town and hillside — and over and over it was the same: we could live here.  What a beautiful place.  We could live anywhere here.  Any burg or farm or village or town.  It was all breathtakingly beautiful.  But not breath-taking.  The whole time we’d been in Oregon — I did not need my inhaler.  No Albuterol.  No Advair Discus.  No Accolate.  No Duo-neb.  Nothing.  No inhaled steroids.  No nasal steroids.   Not even so  much as a Benedryl or Sudafed for allergies and pollution.

We turned toward the Oregon Central Coast and every mile we drove was more beautiful than the last.  Orchards and vineyards and tree farms.  Mountains and valleys  and rivers full of salmon and streams full of fish.  Fresh fruit and vegetable markets and gardens.  Forests — everywhere.  Rain and then sunshine and then rain again.   Narrow, twisting roads through the coastal mountain ranges and ancient forests.

We turned north at Newport without even stopping to see the town.  Like much of northern California, the Coastal Highway is 2 lane and wanders between hugging the shore — to dramatic mountain switchbacks.  We passed a dozen state parks and beaches — then found the rocky basalt shore of Depoe Bay — “The Worlds Smallest Harbor” it boasts as you drive in.

I wanted to keep going.  It was a horrible and terrible place — waves  2-34crashing loud and people stopping on the main highway to take photographs.  I tried to talk Jim into going on and finding another town farther up the coast.  But he said it felt good to him.  The hotel was cheap and the view — I didn’t even notice really — because I didn’t want to stay.

But I did, anyway.  I was tired and my knees hurt from driving.  We got a room that faced the ocean from the top of a hill and I opened the window for some fresh air, sat on the sofa, and fell asleep for nearly 10 hours.

When I woke up, it was to thunder and lightning — and the sound of waves crashing against rock.  I’d slept all night, sitting up on a sofa with my legs propped up on pillows — with the window open.

And unless you have asthma or allergies — that probably doesn’t sound like an important thing.  Sleeping with an open window is something a lot of people do all the time.

cropped-imagejpeg_8-copy.jpgBelieve me when I say, I don’t remember ever sleeping with an open window, ever in my life until that night.  And the only times I was ever in a place where I’d spent part of the day with open windows — it was only ever for a few minutes.  But there in that little hotel — I woke up breathing freely.  Listening to the sound of the thunder and breathing in the smell of rain.

I remember looking out and seeing 5 boys walking down the highway.  They were talking and laughing and fooling around.  There was no traffic because it was early — so they had the road to themselves.  I wondered what it must be like to grow up in a place like that.  A tiny port village.  Tourists and fishing boats, and marine biologists studying whales and sea life.  Eating fish so fresh it didn’t have to be frozen and flown in, across 1500 miles of the country.  What did those boys grow up to be?  Where did they go to college?  Did they even care about college?  Were they in a hurry to get out of high school and leave this place and its small town-ness behind?


I stopped to take some pictures of the rocky shore.  We loaded the car.  We drove a few miles up the coast and I couldn’t find the breakfast cafe recommended by so many on YELP!, so we stopped at a Burger King and sat in the car to eat — parked in their parking lot, facing a plain, uninteresting building.   When we finished, we headed north to Portland — never even bothering to find the beach, or stop at another ocean-side state park.


And we didn’t talk much more about it.  It was in the rearview mirror.

The 1800+ mile drive back to Texas was a bit of an anti-climax.  We visited friends in Denver.  Drove through the horrible forest fire that swallowed the Colorado Rockies in 2012.  The smoke brought back my asthma, and the last 250 miles across the panhandle, I took pill after pill; used all the inhalers in my bag; and by the time we got home, I was drugged, exhausted, sore, and glad to be out of the car.

It took about 2 weeks for the conversation to turn back to Oregon.  A weeks later, the choice was made.  I could stay there in Texas, drugged for the rest of my life, looking at another winter of pneumonia and coughing and wheezing and gasping for air.  Or — we could use what money I’d inherited from my grandparent’s life’s work and what my own parents hadn’t managed to spend before they died, and buy a new life.

We spent 4 months looking at houses for sale up and down Oregon.  From Ashland to Portland on I-5; and from Gold Beach to Astoria, off Highway 101 — the Pacific Coast Highway.  We eliminated places where the cost of living was at or above the national average.  We eliminated cities (city — Portland) large enough to have air pollution problems, or traffic congestion.  We eliminated places known for acres of livestock or  farming pollution.  Then we took our price range and found every house in a 45 mile stretch of the coast that we could afford and that had approximately the right size.  We read about each town and it’s demographics and personality.  We read history and public records about earthquakes and floods.

At first we eliminated houses with a second floor because of my knees — but eventually decided that a few stairs were do-able.

We eliminated houses with wood-burning fireplaces or stoves because the smoke could create asthma problems.  But kept the houses with gas fireplaces.

We eliminated houses with more than a token lawn to mow, but kept houses with interesting gardens.

We looked for the ocean.  I mean, if you’re going to move 1800 miles to the West Coast — why wouldn’t you look for an ocean view?

We looked for something high enough above sea-level to be sane in a time of tsunamis and global climate change.  We even considered the Cascadia Subduction Zone — then opted for taking our chances with everybody else.  Tornado Alley and the Cascadia SD are “kissing cousins,” anyway.

And we chose.

We chose and we started packing.   And before the cotton gins could crank up to full tilt, I was on the road driving north again with the little dog.  And I left Jim there in Texas, to finish out his life as a college professor.  I left my son and his new bride there, to make their life.  I left my friends.  Everyone I’ve come to care about in my life.

picture-uh=ec4e4b694d3274f783f7991f97da1d2-ps=2335c7799ab197d16681d5f4fef4a6 copy

The new place — the place we chose — is beautiful.  High up on a hill about 1/4 mile from the ocean, looking NNW  up the coast, the beach, and Cascade Head, just a few miles from that little hotel we left quickly without looking back, numb from realizing this was a place we were only passing through, and — that we’d probably never be coming this way again.

In 4 days, Jim will be here for the Christmas break — a month together.  -33Then he’ll go teach again for 14 weeks.  For a few more years, until he retires, we will live by phone, by Skype, by email, and by airplane and Amtrak visits.  Sometime soon, the kids will come visit and we’ll go to the theaters in Ashland, to Whale Cove to watch the whales play in the ocean; or the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, or the breweries and vineyards, and the amazing markets and restaurants in Portland.  Or not.  We might just talk a walk to the beach.

I’ve been here over 4 weeks, now.  And more than the asthma has improved.  I have a drawer full of inhalers, -20nebulizer ampules, pills — and except for once when I panicked because the car wouldn’t start, they’ve gone idle.  But I’ve also been able to start decreasing the medication I took for migraines — which we long suspected were related to some of the asthma drugs.  I’m down to half the amount of medication from 4 weeks ago, and I’m about to reduce the dosage again.   Additionally, my blood pressure is normal  in the morning before I take the pills I’ve been taking for 20 years — and so once the other medications are all out of my system, hopefully I’ll be able to cut back on those as well.  All in all, the place seems to agree with me.

The place agrees with me.

People keep talking about the smell of the salt air — but I haven’t noticed anything spectacular.  Or maybe it’s that everything is spectacular.   When I sit on the back steps while the dog plays in his new little yard, I can smell flowers from the big, as yet unidentified, bushes.  I can smell the evergreens when I am near the mountains.  When I’m out on the porch, I can smell fireplaces nearby burning wood on chilly nights.  I can smell the harbor when I’m in Depoe Bay, and the fish market in Newport.  I can smell the moss and the lichen as I drive down the forested road toward images-5Salem with the car windows down.  I can smell the smoked salmon when I pull into the parking lot beside Barnacle Bill’s.  I can smell rain — the ozone peaked and ready — nearly every day.

I chose this place.  Jim and I chose this place.  And because he loves me, he encouraged me — he sent me — he chose for me and with me — to come here and leave that horrible place where I couldn’t breathe and couldn’t live.  It was a simple choice for both of us.  -3And moving is simple.  You just pay somebody and they load your stuff and move it.  Choosing the right house was simple, really.  We had parameters — and we looked until we found a place that met them.  Making the drive alone with the dog — even that was simple.   You just do it.

But it was not easy.