Good Surgery

*Warning: might be a little graphic.

In 2003, I destroyed my left shoulder in a fall.  It was December and there was ice.  I was getting into my Isuzu Rodeo when I lost my footing and began to slide under the SUV.

After two months of wearing an immobilizer and doing physical therapy it was decided I had to have surgery to fix it.  They said it would take an hour.  However, once they got inside they realized why my shoulder hadn’t been healing on it’s own.  My rotator tendon was fine, but it was the only thing.

I tore all the nerves, all the ligaments, all the tendons on the under side near my armpit.  One of my tendons had to be reconnected to the bone.  And I had damaged the ligaments and labrel tissue so much that my shoulder would slide in and out of socket on command.

My surgery took close to 3 hours and they had to use a ton of fluid to keep it all apart while they worked on it.  I learned 2 things from the experience; even with MRIs and CT Scans and X-Rays they can’t see everything on the inside of the body and that sometimes once they are inside they get a surprise.

Tuesday afternoon, my husband had shoulder surgery.  They thought he might have damaged his rotator tendon as well as some other problems.

The surgery went well for which I am grateful.  And it wasn’t as extensive as they thought.  The rotator tendon was fine.  But there were other problems that the doctor told me if they hadn’t have fixed them Tuesday, they would have had to fix them in the next year or so anyway.

My husband is a mechanic, lots of repetitive motion and the job is hard on the body.  His labrel tissue was not good.  It needed lots of shaving to remove the frayed bits.  He has pretty intense arthritis in that shoulder, it is his dominant shoulder after all.  The arthritis was causing calcium to build up on his collar bone.  Arthritis coupled with bursitis is incredibly hard on a joint… even on a macho man like my husband, who would never admit to having either arthritis or bursitis.

The collar bone was putting pressure on the back side of the shoulder joint it had elongated so much.  The excessive bone and calcium had to be ground off.

He also had a problem with his biceps tendon.  It was detaching from the bone on his arm.  They cut the tendon from the arm bone, drilled a hole in the bone and stuck a pin in it, reconnecting it to the arm… They then stuck sutures over it.

I’ve gotten to see the highlights of the surgery already and what I realized is that in just 14 years (my surgery didn’t happen until February 2014) the video capture has gotten incredibly better.  Watching the video of your surgery is pretty much mandatory unless you have a weak stomach or run the risk of fainting.  Since I’m fine with it, I have now gotten to watch mine and watch my husband’s.

His nerve block worked, which means that well into Tuesday night his hand and arm were numb, which I am grateful for.  Nerve blocks don’t work so great on me and when they did my shoulder surgery, it didn’t take effect.  I woke up in pain in the recovery room.  Lots of it.  I’m glad the first 20 hours or so, my husband didn’t have to suffer through that. It seems like a small thing but the first 12 hours or so after surgery are some of the worst.

I have no doubt that once the nerve block wears off, he will be miserable, but at least he is going to get one good night’s sleep before the pain really kicks in.  But as I write these words, he is sleeping fairly soundly on the mountain of pillows in our bed.  I managed to not have to sleep in a recliner after my surgery.  My cousin’s husband had the same surgery just a year or so before mine and as a result, they were able to give me tips on how to sleep.

My husband doesn’t sleep very well in a recliner, so if we can keep him in the bed, it’d be better for him.  I and the two dogs have moved into the spare room while he recovers.  I couldn’t have shared a bed with even Lola after my surgery.  Kelly is a little more aggressive in her quest for love and attention… right now she seems afraid of his sling (no immobilizer thankfully) and bandages.  It would be okay if she stayed afraid for a couple of days.

I’ll keep everyone posted on the recovery!




That Age

Sometimes the universe decides to remind me that I have reached the age of practicality.  It does this in sneaky ways as opposed to slapping me in the face with it…  Things I never thought would happen.

For instance, in May I bought clothes hampers with lids.  It may not sound like a big deal but I was terribly excited when they arrived.  And it has cut down some on the dirty sock smell that emanates from the hamper from time to time.

Several of my towels have gone missing.  Possibly sacrificed to the Dryer Monster because I don’t have a lot of towels that aren’t as old as my youngest nephew.  Towels are just something I don’t think to buy.  Towel sets were on my wedding registry, more as a filler than anything, but I got two sets and I love those towels.

This month, when I realized we actually did need towels, I broke down and bought 3 sets.  I’m not exactly a cheapskate, but there are limits on what I will spend on towels, even if it’s a matching set that includes washrags and hand towels.  I found the brand that we had received from our wedding registry and forked over the money for 3 sets.  It was less than $100 so it was okay… a few days later, 6 new towels, 6 new hand towels and 12 new wash rags showed up on my doorstep because I love online shopping… I was excited about their arrival.

I used to get excited about new books, new movies, concert tickets, those sorts of things and now I get excited when I get new hampers and new towels.  Like I said, it isn’t a huge slap in the face, but it is a reminder that I have either reached that age or am getting very close to it.  I mentioned this to a friend this month and she giggled and told me I used to make fun of her for that sort of stuff.  She’s right I did… but she had children young and I think children speeds along “that age”.

Even comparing today to five years ago, I see the difference.  I am more aware of my public appearance, which is why I’m annoyed that I am losing weight, because I’m no longer okay with wearing clothing out in public that looks like I borrowed it from my husband’s closet.  I still wear my ripped jeans, but now I usually put a pair of leggings under them, which takes them from grunge to grunge chic.   and instead of sporting a NIN T-shirt with them, I usually wear a blouse.  I rarely wear T-Shirts anymore which is good because I only have maybe 5 of them.

The change was gradual and I don’t know when it started, but here I am, excited about towels and clothes hampers…

Face Explosion

This allergy season is brutally torturing almost everyone I know… Including me.  My face often feels like it is going to explode.  I keep a small sinus headache all the time.  Yet allergy season continues because that’s the way the universe works.

I have never had symptoms like these.  Sometimes, it’s hard to breathe.  Sometimes, I wonder if I’m about to have a stroke because the pressure in my sinuses actually feels like blood is incapable of escaping from my head.

I’m not the only one.  I’ve talked to several people who are having similar problems.  I keep thinking I should move, but I haven’t a clue where I’d move to… It would have to be somewhere without an outdoors – which basically means Hell.  It’s the only place I could live without outdoor stuff, I think…

I don’t know why it has been worse this year than ever before.  But it is.  Pollen is always high.  Worse, even though most of my state is in a drought, mold is always high too.  And then it rained… A lot.  Making it worse.  I love summer but I am done with allergy season.  Although, even if we moved into winter right this second, I would still be having allergy problems because some of my worst allergies are evergreens and conifers.  Those lovely trees that drop sap all the time, but I recently learned that sap from those trees usually contain pollen which is why my allergies only sort of improve during the winter.

It has me thinking that if this continues into winter, we might all have to move somewhere without outdoor stuff.  Because as brutal as summer allergies are right now, they could be almost as bad during winter.  Yep, totally done.


Tuesday and Counting

My husband has shoulder surgery Tuesday.  He has some gnarly arthritis in his dominate shoulder that has caused calcium to build up on the end of his collar bone.  And he is like the rest of his, his tendons have slowly been popping away from bone for a long time.

They are going in to shave off the built up calcium, scrape the arthritis – maybe – and reattach tendons – maybe – and repair the rotator cuff tendon – possibly.  Everything but the scraping is one of those “we’ll have to see what needs to be repaired once we get in there” things.

I’ve had a similar surgery.  I had to have about a dozen tendons reconnected, my ligaments and nerves sewn back together after an incident with ice, my gracefulness, and an SUV door.  This means I have some idea of what to expect for the next handful of months and weeks of recovery.

I’m not sure which of us will go stir crazy first, him being off work, or me with him being off work.  I love him, but when he’s off, he expects me to be off too and sometimes I get annoyed by that.  The first couple of days he’ll do a lot of sleeping which means writing time for me.  After that we’ll see how it goes.

I have been busy setting out a plan of attack so to speak.  I’m moving my giant heated blanket into the spare room where I will be sleeping with the dogs for a while, because Kelly is not as in tune as Lola about pain.  He can move to a recliner to sleep if need be, but I managed to sleep fine on a mountain of pillows and he has the added advantage of having a memory foam wedge pillow that I bought for me and can’t use, that he can use to help him adjust his sleeping position as need be.

I do have some concerns about Kelly being a little too aggressive about wanting love, but I adjusted to my immobilizer quickly and I think my husband will as well.  I didn’t have Kelly to contend with, but I still think he’ll adjust fine to the immobilizer, different sleeping positions, and I’m hoping in a handful of months, he’ll have full use of his arm again.  He’d been struggling with it for a few years, so I’m glad it’s finally done…

Then it will be time to figure out his stomach issues.  I believe he has an ulcer.  He gets sick once in a while after meals and he complains of mild pain in a more torso-centered location along the same latitude as my gallbladder.  After numerous searches for anatomical drawings (I hate biology, just FYI) of the digestive system, I’m pretty sure the place he complains he has pain is pretty close to where his stomach should be located.

It’s taken me 10 years, but I think I have finally convinced him to get a primary care physician.  He’s nearly 40 and it’s time to start monitoring some things. I cracked a joke that if he didn’t get his calling in sick with a stomach bug under control people were going to start thinking I was poisoning him… because he went from never calling in to calling in once every couple of months because he was up all night with indigestion and vomiting and once it stops he still has a mild ache in an area below his diaphragm.  He says it feels like a bruise.

I thought at first he might be having gallbladder issues, but after the most recent bout a few weeks ago, I’ve changed my mind to ulcer.  Actually, it was my mother in law talking about his father’s ulcer that made me realize ulcers and gallbladder issues have a lot of the same symptoms. Wish us luck the next couple of weeks/months.  I’ve been hard at work on Ritual Dreams and it may actually come out this fall.



Losing Weight

I have lost a little over 30 pounds since March.  I have dropped a clothing size as a result.  Losing weight is inconvenient.  I don’t know if it affects men the same way as women, but there is a psychological aspect to losing weight…

At first, I didn’t notice it, not really.  My pants were a little loser and then my pants started requiring help staying up.  You know that dream where you are standing in front of a room full of people in your underwear that everyone talks about?  I don’t buy the whole “fear of public speaking” aspect of the dream, I think it was probably had by someone losing weight.

You shouldn’t lose more than 3 or 4 pounds a week or 12-16 pounds a month for health reasons.  The reason I think that dream is about losing weight is because as I lose weight, I have had some incidents of jerking up my pants out in public before they revealed the downstairs lady bits.

This month, I realized that my size 18 jeans have to go.  I have 2 pair left.  They are older pairs of jeans that have been washed a thousand times or so.  I have already bought 3 pairs of size 16 jeans when I realized in June that I couldn’t put it off any longer.  However, over the 4th of July weekend, I wore a pair of my 18s to the store.  As I was walking around I realized two things were happening: my underwear had mostly fallen down into my jeans and my jeans were falling off.

With my metal allergy, I have to be very careful about belts.  The backs of the rivets on my jeans can break me out in a rash, a belt buckle can do the same and they just don’t make belts with plastic buckles.  And I probably wouldn’t wear them if they did because I wouldn’t like the look of the plastic buckle.  (I just gave someone an idea to help them get rich… metal is a common allergy and people with metal allergies usually have to avoid metal in their clothing, plastic belt buckles would be a god send as long as they didn’t look cheap).

So hands firmly grasping my jeans, I rushed my husband through the store because once the jeans start to fall down, it’s hard to stop them.  The store we were at sold jeans and I considered buying a new pair, but I refuse to pay $50 for a pair of jeans.

I mentioned there was a psychological aspect.  I hate to clothes shop.  But clothes aren’t something I can just randomly buy.  My bits don’t measure out evenly.  Every year I buy a two piece bathing suit and new cover ups.  I buy the two piece even though I shouldn’t wear it in public with my poochy belly because one piece swim suits come in two sizes for me: fits my bottom half but the top half is struggling to stay covered or fits my top half, but under the right conditions I will be flashing everyone later because the bottom half is very saggy and ill fitting.

Anyway, because I hate to shop, I’m not a clothes horse.  I don’t have a closet full of clothing.  My shirts have become billowy and hang oddly because they are now the wrong size.  My jeans are falling off when I walk, and my underwear are falling down into my jeans as the day wears on.  This is psychological torture, just FYI.  Because it isn’t comfortable to have your underwear falling off into your jeans or pants as you walk and some clothing shows when that happens and sometimes you flash more butt than you expect with ill fitting underwear.

When you have this problem, you start to think about it, a lot.  Is my shirt long enough in case my underwear falls down since almost all jeans these days are hip huggers or low rider jeans?  Two of the pairs of 16s I bought in May and June are high waisted, but when I bought my 18s years ago, high waisted jeans had been made obsolete because mom jeans weren’t popular.  It usually comes across as an insecurity, but it’s hard to think of anything else when you are worried you are going to be flashing your butt crack to the world because your underwear fell down into your jeans.  And here’s the deal, large billowy shirts aren’t the answer.  They basically look like you don’t know how to buy shirts and since you didn’t get shorter, a billowy shirt isn’t necessarily long enough to cover your butt crack in the event you flash it because your underwear decided to try migrating down.

This means I have three pairs of jeans and one pair of shorts that I don’t have to worry about falling off while I walk.  I have about five shirts that are the correct size, two of them new because I got tired of people asking me why I was wearing a maternity shirt.  I have an upper abdomen paunch which is mostly air.  It’s round like a basketball and hard as a rock.  This seems to be a shape deformity that is genetic.  My father has the same problem although his is significantly worse than mine.  Shirts that are too big actually hang from that upper paunch and they do look like maternity clothing.  I see it in the mirror all the time.  Unfortunately, we haven’t perfected deflating people yet, although I did offer to be a guinea pig for any methods they could think of.

It also means that I need to buy new underwear because I only have three pairs or so that don’t fall off me.  For women, wearing ill fitting clothing is psychological.  We are very aware of it.  Several years ago, my mother lost a large amount of weight and she had the same problem, she didn’t feel comfortable going out in public in her clothing because it didn’t fit right.  I think this is worse for women than for men.  But I could be wrong.

Clothing is dreadfully expensive.  I hate shelling out the money for it.  My husband occasionally comments because I buy LuLaRoe.  But $35 for a blouse is about what I would pay anywhere.  T-shirts I can usually pick up a little cheaper, but not blouses.  Oh and undergarments can be more expensive than shirts.  Places like Walmart and Kmart and Target don’t carry my bra size.  Victoria’s Secret doesn’t either.  Even Lane Bryant doesn’t carry my cup size all the time.  I have had to have them special order them for me, but that gets time consuming (go to the store, get measured twice because the associate doesn’t believe you when you tell them the size, then stand there while they fiddle in their computer to pull up that size in something, then wait a week or two for it to come in, then go to the store to pick it up).  Just dreadful… I swear it’s a form of psychological warfare most of the time.

Weird Things Regarding King Tut’s Burial & The Missing Pharaoh

I’ve mentioned I almost got an archaeology degree before deciding archaeology and I weren’t a good match.  More specifically, I wanted to get a degree in Egyptology.

I’ve had people tell me I was born in the wrong century, which isn’t true.  I like modern toilets, modern showers, and I’m really glad computers and computer games exist as well as modern medicine.  I’m not hot on the idea of trepanning to solve migraines, although that was a cure for migraines in Ancient Egypt.  I don’t know how often they went wrong or how often they pulled it off.  Since Nadine has my luck, it would be a semi-successful.  I’d live, I’d probably retain my facilities, but having a whole in my skull would cause me more migraines not fewer.  That’s just how the universe treats me.

I’m not talking about the Curse of Tutankhamen.  I don’t believe in it.  The deaths connected with opening Tut’s tomb weren’t all that prolific, they were just noteworthy because of who they happened to.  Dozens of people have died from gangrene as a result of infected shaving wounds and etc.  I’m talking about the burial of King Tut himself.

We have always believed Tutankhamen died unexpectedly.  The strongest evidence is his age and the evidence on his mummy that indicates injury close to the time of his death.  Then there’s the burial itself.  The outer sarcophagus has a much different face than the inner sarcophagus.  Mismatched sarcophagi is a faux pas in Ancient Egypt. And for the burial as someone as important as the Pharaoh, it wasn’t an accident that just wasn’t caught… It was done like this for a reason and the most likely reason, his sarcophagus wasn’t ready.  Oh and neither sarcophagus matches the bone structure of King Tut.  This means that gold mask image everyone associates with Tut is probably not Tut.

Sadly for Tut, he wasn’t nearly so attractive as the person in the gold mask.  We are fairly sure that Tut had a cleft palate and was moderately deformed.  We also know he had an elongated skull of the type popular with Ancient Alien theorists.

Tut like a fair number of Ancient Egyptian royalty was probably fairly inbred. There is some debate on this since we aren’t entirely sure that Akhenaten was Tutankhamen’s father and we know that Nefertiti is not his mother.  Anyway, he was buried in sarcophagi that weren’t his.  Modern research on both sarcophagi have revealed that Tut’s name was put over a different name, which just adds more proof that they weren’t designed for him.

Parentage issues: Tut has been DNA tested and he is the son of the body found in KV55 (Valley of the Kings Tomb 55).  Only, the body in KV55 is almost definitely not Akhenaten.  I’ve mentioned before that history hates to change itself based on anything as inconvenient as evidence that doesn’t fit the accepted theories…  XRays of Tut show he has an elongated skull, most likely a genetic defect as opposed to head binding, which is the most common cause of it.  Reliefs of Akhenaten shows he also has an elongated skull.  So placing him as Tut’s father makes sense, except we can’t find Akhenaten’s body and the body in KV55 does not have an elongated skull like depicted on Akhenaten.

That means either Akhenaten was given the elongated skull in pictures after his death because people hated him and wanted him more closely associated with Tut or what?  There’s no reason to draw Akhenaten with a misshapen head unless he had a misshapen head.

Tut was buried in KV62.  Since the numbers are the order in which the tombs were discovered, not the order they were put into the ground, 62 and 55 may be connected.  Interestingly, a second tomb KV56 is thought to originally have been destined for Tut, but the death of Ay as a child necessitated Ay getting a tomb already in progress and a new one being built for Tut.  Ay was theoretically supposed to be Tut’s successor, which meant Ay dying first was most inconvenient for the necropolis keepers in the Valley of the Kings.  More confusing, occasionally tombs were reused.  Which makes the burial of Akhenaten more interesting.

Recently high resolution scans of Tutankhamen’s tomb has revealed a possible doorway in the main chamber that has yet to be opened.  Some suspect that Akhenaten was buried in their to keep his mummy safe after death.  It wouldn’t be the first time someone had dug up a Pharaoh’s mummy for the sole purpose of desecrating it.

Also, the tombs in the Valley of the Kings all share some features, like magical books pointed towards the cardinal directions that protect the pharaoh… four per tomb.  Makes sense really.  Except there was a fifth in Tut’s tomb that did not face any special direction.  It was just kind of sitting on the floor of the treasury when the door was opened, facing the door.  We haven’t found a single tomb that has a magic book facing the door of the treasury, except Tut’s and contrary to popular opinion, while Tut’s tomb was the most intact yet found, it was visited by grave robbers or possibly Roman vandals.  There was evidence that his tomb had been disturbed before Carter and his crew opened it, the door had been resealed at least once in the past when Carter opened it.

Chances are good, I’ll be in my 50s before they release any verified information on the Mummy inside the Black Sarcophagus.  This does assume that the sarcophagus does contain a mummy.  Some have been discovered that contained cat mummies, dog mummies, bird mummies, and gold.  Which means the black sarcophagus might not contain Alexander Helios or Akhenaten or anything human.  While we wait, it will become a talking point for Ancient Alien theorists.

The Black Sarcophagus

Ancient Egypt isn’t done divulging it’s secrets.   With as many excavations as have taken place there over the last two centuries, a large number of Egyptologists have speculated that we have found the majority of the interesting stuff in the ground of Egypt…

Until they uncovered a 6 feet long black sarcophagus buried in Alexandria.  When my friend sent me the article, two things immediately came to mind; Ahknaten the Heretic King whose body was lost to history, but as a Pharaoh, he still should have been mummified and put somewhere.  And the son of Cleopatra and one of the Roman leaders.  I forget if it was Cesar or Mark Antony, but she had a son with both of them.  Anyway, we don’t have a record of him living or dying.  He was literally lost to History.

Six feet doesn’t sound very big for a sarcophagus, but it’s the longest ever found in Egypt.  Egyptians were short in the days of the Pharaohs.  It’s only been in the 20th century that men routinely grew to 6 feet tall or taller.  Before then, men like Peter the Great who was well over 6 feet tall were a bit freakish.

Sarcophagi(?) are supposed to be rather form fitting.  You don’t put a mummy that’s only 4 feet tall in a 6 feet long sarcophagus.  Meaning the mummy has to be close to six feet tall.  He was probably around 5’8″ which would still have been tall for an Ancient Egyptian.

As I said, my first instinct was Ahknaten the Heretic Pharoah… We don’t know where he’s buried or if his mummy even exists.  Most Egyptian texts about Ahknaten were destroyed upon his death.  What we do know is that his son Tutankhamen had an elongated skull and reliefs of Ahknaten that survive show him with an elongated skull (enter the Ancient Alien conspirators here).  Along with the black sarcophagus, there is a bust of a head and shoulders in the grave.  If the mummy is Ahknaten, the bust isn’t his.  The bust does not have the elongated deformed skull we associate with Ahknaten and Tutankhamen.  (Side note: Spell Check would like me to change Aknaten to Alienate, which is rather fitting since Aknaten’s desion to make Ancient Egypt a monotheistic religion that worshiped Amen is the reason he is called Aknaten the Heretic King, his alienation of the Egyptian priesthood and the Egyptian people are the reason there aren’t a lot of things left related to Ahknaten and why we don’t know where he was buried or if he was given a proper burial).

So if the black sarcophagus belongs to Ahknaten, we don’t know who the bust is of, but it solves a mystery.  Recent study of Tutankhamen’s tomb reveals that there is a secret chamber that hasn’t been opened and we suspect it may be the final resting place of Ahknaten.  I think tomorrow’s post will be about Ahknaten and Tut, because there are some interesting things about these father/son pharaoh’s stories that most people don’t know.

But there is another Pharaoh option for the black sarcophagus.  Cleopatra was one of the last rulers of Egypt and despite being an Egyptian Pharaoh she was Greek or rather Macedonian to be exact.  Cleopatra returned to Egypt after the death of Caesar.  Where she hooked up with General Mark Antony.  Antony and Cleopatra had three children, possibly: Alexander Helios and Ptolemy Philadelphus.  Alexander Helios had a twin sister named Cleopatra Selene.  When the Roman general Octavius invaded Rome, he killed Caesarion (Cleopatra and Julius Caesar’s son) and imprisoned Alexander Helios, Cleopatra Selene, and Ptolemy Philadelphus.  Selene II married Juba II, some non-Roman ruler in a Roman controlled state and the lives of Ptolemy and Alexander Helios were spared as a wedding gift to Selene II and Juba II.  And that is the last history hears of Alexander Helios or Ptolemy Philadelphus.  Historians general speculate that both boys died before reaching maturity and thereby removing themselves from being able to do anything great in their lives.

This almost works, except it is probable that Alexander Helios was an adult by the time his sister marries Juba II.  Octavian gave the child captives to his sister Octavia (who was Antony’s wife) to raise and she raised them alongside her own children, even providing for a royal education in Rome.  But to some degree Helios and his sister Selene II had already received some education in Egypt before being sent to Rome as royal captives.

But Helios still never gets mentioned again.  This has lead to some wild guesses about what happened to him… people have gone so far as to put him in North America at the time of Christ’s birth.  Maybe he designed Oak Island or is responsible for some of the stuff found among Native American tribes (Totem Poles are basically just carved wooden obelisks after all).  I have always figured he found his way back to Egypt, realized his family had been dethroned and basically lived the rest of his life in relative obscurity.  It makes sense.  The death of Helios would have been important, even to Romans, so if he had died, it seems like someone would have noticed.  Same for Ptolemy Philadelphus.  Perhaps one of them is buried in the black Sarcophagus.  That would explain the Roman Style marble bust in the grave and the lack of an ornate tomb as well as it’s location in Alexandria, Egypt, not an area known for being a final resting place of Pharaohs.  Helios spent most of his life in Alexandria as a child, his family had made Alexandria the most important city in Egypt after all.

50 Shades Making Counter Culture Trendy

Romance novels are a multi-billion dollar industry.  Romance novels sell better than any other genre, which is part of the reason for the flood of romance novels that come out every year.  Last year’s figures haven’t been released, but for the second or third year in a row in 2016, romance novelists filled the top 5 writers who made the most money.  Number 1 has been James Patterson for a very long time and I’m not sure he will ever be dethroned simply because of the sheer volume of sorta Patterson novels he releases.  But that’s another post for another day.

And even though lots of readers love Stephen King as well as Nora Roberts, Roberts still out sells King.  Which is why it wasn’t that big of a shock when Fifty Shades of Grey became a bestseller.  Despite the fact that it deals with counter culture…

Every so often something comes along and makes counter culture trendy.  Which is ironic and absurd considering counter culture is not supposed to be trendy.  The Ramones did it in the 1980s.  Punk music never reached the heights that rock and roll did, but most people who lived through the 1980s, knew at least one song by the Ramones who are a punk rock band.  I was fond of I Wanna Be Sedated, but then who wasn’t?

The problem with it is we get a very narrow glimpse into life in a counter culture based on the bias of the person or people who made it trendy.  Like what happened with Fifty Shades.  Suddenly, the world was given a glimpse into a dom/sub relationship.  Only, it is a broken, toxic relationship.  I didn’t make it through the first book because I was annoyed by Christian Grey.  I haven’t watched the movies because I don’t believe it would alleviate my annoyance with Christian Grey.

I remember a couple of twenty-somethings saying things like they wished they could find a guy like Grey after the books came out.  Um, no, no you don’t.  My annoyance with Grey was that he wanted a bottom, but he didn’t want to be a good top. The dom-sub world works on mutual trust and a clear understanding of roles and expectations.  A good top or good Dom should respect his sub.  Grey doesn’t do that very well.  It makes me wonder… I know the author says she based it on her dom/sub relationship that she lives in.  If her Dom is like Grey, she needs to run away.

It’s been so long, I don’t remember any specific details on why Grey was a terrible top, except that he didn’t respect his partner.  I just remember thinking “Good lord, this guy has serious issues and should not be allowed power over anyone, ever”.  If you want a better understanding of Dom/Sub relationships, read The Story of O.  Even though it was published in the 1950s or 1960s, it is a much healthier dom/sub relationship.  It also does an excellent job of explaining the role of a top.  It was recommended to me by a lady who was a top.

Where was I going with this?  Oh yes, the glimpse into the dom/sub world we get from Fifty Shades is dysfunctional, yet it has made the lifestyle somewhat trendy and more acceptable in society.  It has also lead to an increase in fan fiction.  If a piece of fan fiction can make someone rich, then what’s to say fan fiction won’t make someone else rich.  Someone once gave me a short story in which Aislinn and Malachi were married.  It was interesting, but they had made Malachi far more caring than he really is.  Part of the reason I can’t write with Malachi very well is because I think a cod has more feeling than him.  He’s too dominate for my tastes as a writer.  Which might have been the problem with Christian Grey.  If the writer is a Sub, his dominate personality may not have been attainable for her as a writer because she is dominate enough to truly understand it.  He’s not a psychopath like Malachi, but he does have some strong personality traits that came across as abusive and uncaring.

The Dropa Stones

Archaeology is not a glamorous profession, and there is no amount of Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones films can change that.  It is basically a treasure hunt without a map and most of the time without treasure.  It’s dirty.  It’s often hot because areas that are hot and arid preserve things better than places that are wet and cool.  Or it’s fumbling around in dark caves and hoping not to break a leg on bat guano.

If you are into archaeology, the dirt and heat can be worth it, because every so often someone finds something amazing, like the city of Troy.  Or Gobekli Tepe.  Or that Stone Henge is surrounded by lots of little Henges that have fallen into ruin.

Or you find Dropa stones while trying not to slip on bat guano and break a leg in a cave.  The Dropa stones are a set of stones that were found in a cave in China.  Oddly, they have disappeared, which is possibly the most fascinating part of the Dropa stones.

The Dropa stones reportedly look like stone records, the kind you put on a turn table to play music.  There are a few pictures of them, proving they exist that were taken by the archaeological team that found them.  Since the stones were found in the People’s Republic of China, they were turned over to the government, because that’s the way it works especially in a country that has State controlled media and research.

We don’t know much about the Dropa stones.  Supposedly, a few of them were sent to Moscow in the 1980s for study by communist researchers and scientists.  However, while the Soviet Union claimed to have received 2 of them, their whereabouts are currently unknown.

The stones are said to be 1,200 years old and made with a similar technique as what was used to make the Terracotta Army.  Unfortunately, this information was released by the People’s Republic of China at the same time they admitted they had no clue what had happened to the 76 Dropa stones.

This is where the history of the Dropa stones goes from interesting to UFO Conspiracy Theory material.  Theoretically, the stones are covered in tiny hieroglyphs that have never been decoded.  And the stones have never been displayed to the public.  This could be because it’s the People’s Republic of China, but conspiracy theorists say it’s because world governments don’t want us regular folks to see the obvious alien origin of the Dropa Stones.

Although, I do agree that it seems hard to lose 76 stones, most of them measuring more than 30 centimeters in diameter and weighing a couple of pounds each.  These aren’t exactly easy to lose in say a drawer.  But having some museum experience, I can see where they could be misplaced in an archive full of stuff.  On the flip side, I see why there is a conspiracy around them.  It isn’t just that they were lost, it’s that they were never displayed.  Compare that to the Terracotta Army, which has continuously been on display since the 1970s.  The stones were an amazing find, even in the late 1940s when they were discovered, so it does seem strange that even in the People’s Republic of China they were never put on display.  And researchers have discovered that the original photographs of the Dropa stones have also gone missing, which just adds more fuel to the conspiracy surrounding the stones.

However, until the People’s Republic decides to release them for research and viewing, we will probably not have a better understanding of the Dropa stones, because if the USSR discovered anything about the 2 stones they once held, their research and findings are also missing.  Then again, as one historian said, is possible that the Soviet Union never received the stones and that the Stones were intentionally lost not because of their connection with aliens, but because The People’s Republic decided they were detrimental to the narrative of their superiority.

Birthdays with Zeros & Best Friends

I have mentioned before that I am very close to two of my first cousins on my mom’s side of the family – Beth and Melinda.

Interestingly, Mel has a July birthday, I have an August birthday, and Beth has a September Birthday.  I’m not entirely sure why it fascinates me that the three of us have consecutive birthdays, but it does.

For the record, Mel and I are the youngest on my mom’s side.  She is turning 40 this year.  She’s two years older than me.  Beth is turning 50. She’s 12 years older than me.  I am also fascinated by the fact that the three of us have more in common than just blood.

When we were growing up, Mel once pointed out to me that if we weren’t cousins, we wouldn’t be friends.  It sounds brutal, but it’s true.  With the age differences and differences in interests, we would not have run in the same circles.  Meaning, I would not be friends with these two women.  It wouldn’t make me sad, because I wouldn’t know what I was missing out on… However, the thought makes me sad now.  I would miss having them in my life.

I am close enough with both of them that we can go long periods of time without talking and then suddenly fall back in step with each other when we do make that phone call or plan that visit.  For this reason, I am fine with the zero birthdays they are having this year.  They are milestones.  They are an excuse to fall back in step.  I went to a craft show on July 4th in Hannibal.  My husband found one of those wooden plaque signs that says Crazy Cousin Crew so we bought it.  Beth and Mel were my maid and matron of Honor at my wedding.  I intend to put the picture that was taken of the three of us on the plaque and hang it in our bedroom.

It dawned on me recently that my favorite moments in life include one or both of these amazing women.  Each are accomplished.  Each is smart.  Each is funny.  And each makes me a better person and my life is better with them in it.

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