20 March 2009

Libations Friday! 20 March 2009



Photo by once and future @ flickr

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It's TGIF again! Time for a new coffee recipe. And a poem - this one an original I finally finished revising this week.

This new coffee recipe site I found is delightful! Pay a visit! There is more going on than just coffee drinks. Robin has an interesting section of "brain food." What a good tie-in to drinking coffee.

With all that caffeine stimulating our brains might as well do some higher brain function with it, right? There are links to puzzles, informative sites, IQ sites, you name it. I will be checking them out and linking some of them here for your convenience. They should prove useful for research and writing.

This coffee recipe is new to me and sounded really good, especially since there is still cold weather around the nation this week.

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Mediterranean Hot Coffee Recipe

From:
Robins Coffee Recipes

Yield: 8 servings.


Ingredients:

8 cups strong coffee

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup chocolate syrup

Tie spices into cheesecloth to contain:

1/2 teaspoon aniseed

20 cloves

4 cinnamon sticks

***

whipped cream

orange and lemon twists


Directions:

Place coffee, sugar, chocolate syrup, aniseed, cloves and cinnamon into a sauce pan.

Heat to 200-degrees F. over medium heat.

Strain into mugs.

Top with whipped cream and twists.

***



Photo by Thelma1 Divient @ flickr


On to the poem. Let me set the scene for you.

Hurricane Katrina


Hurricane Katrina happened 29 August 2005. At that time half of New Orleans ran for cover and came in like locusts to the next largest and closest metro area in Louisiana: my town and capital city of Baton Rouge. Our population swelled fast and furious. With it came a host of problems.

Our grocery stores looked like bombs had gone off as the people came storming in so fast and so desperate that they raided the shelves without thought. They just grabbed at whatever was closest to them they were so traumatized. Fortunately, people like me anticipated that move and stored up our pantries for a month with dried and canned foods.

It was weeks getting properly supplied again for both food and gas. Every time we went to a gas station it was pumped dry. It was perplexing. Where were all these people living? They bought up every house in Baton Rouge and the real estate market bumped up for a while with their demand. (Then it went down again, hurting the market 3 years later when the New Orleans folks went back to their old home, unable to make the transition to living somewhere new. Old habits die hard.)

New Orleans drivers

For months after Hurricane Katrina they drove like maniacs on the roads causing hundreds of accidents daily. It was a real art of zigging and zagging in and out of bizarre traffic just to make it two miles down the road to the grocery store. It was like bumper cars without the fun.

Body shops were running at full capacity because these guys didn't know how to drive safely and their high stress levels didn't help the situation. They drove like that in New Orleans so they thought they could drive like that in orderly polite give gap and take gap Baton Rouge. The two cultures didn't mix well to say the least.

It was the norm of the day for me to avoid at least 8 accidents just going to the grocery store. One day I counted 18 near misses, all for a 10 minute ride. I knew sooner or later my number was going to be up as the percentages had to run against me eventually.

Four months later my car accident

When my time came, 2 Jan 2006, about four months after the hurricane, it didn't matter how much skill I had in defensive driving, I was boxed in with no where to go to get out of his way. An elderly man on medication passed out briefly and rammed into me as I was sitting still waiting to turn left into my neighborhood. I saw him in my rear view mirror.

It's amazing how fast your brain can calculate various scenarios and none of them were good. Every one of those scenarios dictated that someone was going to die or end up severely injured. I had my husband on the passenger's side and he would have been badly injured at best if I took a chance on that left turn.

We were on a curve, on a highway with no shoulders and the speed of people coming at us was 55 mph. There was oncoming traffic, a ditch next to my husband and a high brick wall if I took the chance of turning. It didn't help any that a young mother and her 7 year old in the front seat were that oncoming traffic.

So, the best thing to do was the thing I and no one else would want to do: take the hit. I told my husband to brace his head and then I prepared myself to keep the car on the road when I passed out. It's pretty cool how you can get your brain to program your kinetic memory to take over when you need it.

Make the best of a bad situation, minimize injuries

What did I do? Took my foot off the brake to lessen the impact with the idea that the impact would push the car ahead slowly so I could get to a small patch of shoulder to pull off the road. I moved my foot away from the gas pedal and poised it above the brake with the idea that as I passed out and fell forward from the jerking motion my foot would come back down on the brake to stop the momentum of the car's advance to keep us from drifting into oncoming traffic. In short, I did pass out for some time but all the preparations worked. My husband turned to me after it was over and told me what a good job I had done only to realize I was out.

The old man was going at least 50 mph when he hit. Fortunately, it was a German car and a uni-frame so the energy that felt like a freight train was circling around and around until the shuddering finally stopped. I thought for sure the car was going to split in two but it didn't.

Three year journey to full healing

Anyway, it was three years to heal completely of the nerve damage, something doctors always tell you can't be done. Well, I did heal completely. It did take 9 months just for my brain to wake up all the way. Then it took time for the bone fractures and nerves and muscle spasms to finish healing.

The stages the brain goes through are, well, just plain bizarre to experience. The short term memory loss is frustrating. Eventually, I retrained my brain and remembered most of what I had collected over decades since it was now stored in new places since the old pathways to my brain's info files were forever changed.

The reality is for the brain is it's a lot like a cyclone went into your house and threw all your books off their shelves. Some you can figure out where to put back, others are a mystery and others are lost forever. Sometimes you don't recognize familiar places or foods, all kinds of crazy things. In time the brain rights itself but the process is spooky.

Spiritual development integral to full recovery

The smartest thing I ever did was spiritual development years ago. With meditations and the like I was able to cooperate with my brain to help heal everything. I also could watch internally just what all the brain does when it has free rein. My brain went and did a complete diagnostic and methodically went through each body's system and re-calibrated everything.

It was an agonizing slow and long process yet I came out the better for it all. And no, I'm not angry at the guy who hit me. Forgiveness and jettisoning anger is the very reason I was successful in a complete healing.

Every day people experience brain injury whether from a car accident like I had, maybe something else. Our soldiers in Iraq experience worse brain trauma.

First attempt to describe what the brain experiences
The following poem was my first attempt at trying to describe to you what the experience is like when the brain is healing from injury. This is what goes on internally on the spiritual level of perception. Most of how I view the world is from the inside out anyway. I've always been a spiritual person, a mystic.

***



Photo by muha... @ flickr

***

The Art of Waiting


Opening the quiet inner dark
Deafening silence creeps onward
Surrounded, cradled by softened glowing light

Skimming Mind graces
Circling ever expanding horizon
Surrounded, vast ocean gently rocking the open boat

Lifted slowly on murmuring waves
Passed side to side by unseen hands
Rippling outward infinite horizon

Bright light not searing
Deep water not threatening
No shore from or to

Hours tiptoe
Months encircle
Years feel weepy yearning

Resting motionless body
Mind restless, fitfully unsettled
Awake but not quite

The Art of Waiting

Until one day Time defined
Nine months had passed
Exact to the day

My brain woke up to real Time
No longer half-asleep, not performing repairs
I awoke complete, renewed: healed

There is an Art to Waiting


Denny Lyon
Copyright 1 July 2008
All Rights Reserved

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