Sunday, February 28, 2010

I survived the Celebration of Life 1971... mostly

All of this is to the best of my recollection. Your recollection (and even some so-called official facts) may vary wildly, because this one was truly not well-documented into history.

Celebration of Life festival in the swamps of rural Louisiana, 1971. A tale of teenage carelessness, fearlessness, stupidity, irresponsibility, sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. It was pitched as 8 days in the country at summer solstice, and had a lineup advertised that was as good as any I'd seen.
Allman Brothers, Alex Taylor, Amboy Dukes, B.B. King, Ballin jack, the Beach Boys, Bloodrock, Boz Scaggs, Buddy Miles, Butterfield Blues Band, Canned Heat, Chambers Brothers, Chuck Berry, Country Joe McDonald, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, Dixieland Jazz Bands, Edgar Winter's White Trash, Eric Burdon, Flying Burrito Brothers, Ike and Time Turner Review, It's a Beautiful Day, James Gang, John Hartford, John B. Sebastian, John Lee Hooker, Johnny Winter, Leon Russell, Melanie, Quicksilver Messanger Service, Ravi Shankar, Richie Havens, Roland Kirk, Seatrain, Sly and the Family Stone, Symphony Orchestra, Voices of Harlem, War, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, rumors of Pink Floyd

There's actually some video of this on YouTube. The added soundtrack used was not from a band who played there (actually, very few bands ended up playing there), but the lyrics "I just want to celebrate another day of living" are a bit appropriate for this thing, as it was an ordeal getting through it in one piece.

I had been to several rock festivals before this. December 1968 there was Miami Pop Festival, 1969 there was Atlanta Pop Festival, West Palm Beach Festival, and another Miami Pop Festival, 1970 there was another Atlanta Pop Festival, so 5 major rock festivals under my belt.

I attended all of them with my mother. It's not what you think... my mother was no different from all the kids of the counter-culture of the day except for being about 30 years older. Read about her late-sixties persona and ours lives at that time here, and a little bit more here.

The reason I attended it without my mother was because she had just broken her leg and was on crutches. I didn't want to leave her alone like that, but I was absolutely full of wild & crazy, just got my driver's license 2 weeks ago, absolutely gotta go to this thing and nothin' on earth is going to stop me. She assured me that she would be OK. I had spent every dime I had saved ($200) getting an 11-yr old car so I'd have transport. I put an ad on a college cork message board (in Carbondale IL) for someone to help drive, and found a guy. On the way down, we picked up a couple of guys hitchhiking, they were going to the same place, so that was cool. They had dropped acid, so we didn't let them drive. We got as far as Grenada, Mississippi before getting pulled over by the cops. That's when I discovered that my driver-helper didn't actually have a driver's license. As the owner of the car, and the one with a license, I had to go and sit in the police car while he ran a check on me. He was an absolute stereotype of a southern cop, really fat, country music playing on the radio, and smelling strong of English Leather (a smell I can't tolerate for unrelated personal reasons). He told me to get back in the car and follow him to the station. With only a couple of weeks of driving experience, I was extremely nervous and terrified of screwing that part up in some way. At the station I got a lecture: I was to be the ONLY driver of the vehicle, the name of the town is pronounced "gren-AY-da," not "gren-AH-da," and was charged a fine of $14, which was exactly all the money I had, and we were sent on our way. We got off soooo lucky - it's impossible to say just how lucky that was.

That night we were to reach our destination. The roads were winding and very dark - no lights anywhere. There was an old-timey mystery show playing on a scratchy radio station, there was a ferry-boat ride for us alone that was conducted by a couple of cajuns (I could barely understand what they were saying), and after being lost for who-knows-how-long on that very spooky night, we found the area, with the help of some directions from someone in a gas station which also sold live chickens. We were as far out into the sticks of rural Louisiana as you could get.



Turned out, the locals and the law were doing everything possible to keep this thing from happening, so even though we had tickets, we had to essentially break into the site, along with a few hundred others - hiking through swamp and sawgrass and busting through some kind of a fence (sorry, the memory of that part is a little fuzzy). Inside was nothing. No food, no fresh water, it was officially closed so we were kind of stuck without facilities and basic needs. I could not have been more unprepared... I had brought no food, no tent, no water, no sleeping bag, and thanks to Grenada I had zero money... but... being a 17 year old girl I did not worry about stuff like that. I was invincible.

I got separated from my traveling companions and got hooked up with my first-ever lover (starting many years of a very dysfunctional relationship, but as The Eagles said, we had one thing in common), a good-for-nothing 16 year old with dark hair and a mustache who looked like Jesus Christ, only a lot cuter. He became my personal savior and my worst demon. He was pretty much a druggie, a thief, and a wanna-be biker (and I found out later: an insanely jealous white-power type who verbally and physically abused me and then stalked me. His name was Pete, but he now goes by a different first and last name). I was headed for hell... he talked me into shooting up MDA (the love drug). I had never injected any drugs before (mother prohibited that, and all under her umbrella respected it in her presence. All drugs were fine, but needles were not allowed.) It was an incredible experience like nothing I'd felt previously. I never did anything like that before and never have since. I had dropped acid a few times, and generally dabbled in hallucinogens but had tapered off to pretty much just pot during this time, so this was way out there for me. I got off the ride and didn't get back in line. (These days, I generally have one or two beers or glasses of wine and I'm done. Pretty lightweight.)

Someone finally brought in some water to the festival, it was in a big barrel and we were drinking it, although I doubt it was very clean it was cleaner than the nearby river. I did not get in the nasty river for various reasons, and now glad, as it was being used not only for bathing but as a toilet - also, I don't swim and a few people died from drowning that week. Some people were setting up makeshift food stands, like one that sold watermelon, but I think that one got looted by the masses (including Pete). I remember eating this and that out of some cans, and using a spoon that was found on the ground. My car was outside the site, so we slept in a blanket on the ground. The insects were deafeningly loud through the midsummer night in the swamp. There were bands that finally did play, although my memories of the music at this festival are a lot fuzzier than of others. There was Bloodrock, Sly and the Family Stone, Melanie, the Amboy Dukes, and Stephen Stills (who I remember lecturing us on how crazy we were to be there).

I told Pete I had no gas money to get home, and he reached in his pocket and produced some stolen credit cards. He also stole a license plate and put it on my car. These criminal minds... they think of everything. Yes, I know I became an accomplice at that point, but I was desperate. That's my only excuse. And, no, I couldn't call for money from my mother. We lived on $400 a month, which had to buy her cigarettes as well as everything else, we did not have credit cards or cash on hand. I mentally did a Pontius Pilate washing of hands concerning what he'd done to save our necks. The old clunker was also hemorrhaging transmission fluid, and he poured brake fluid in there to swell up the seals or something, and when the car finally rolled into home in Illinois, it had a failing U-joint - so it was officially a goner, ready for the junkyard.

When I opened up the door, my mother was not home. Turns out, she had been trying to retrieve one of our cats from a tree or the roof or something, had called the police (which brought a policeman who was terrified of cats and was not any help and left), then she had fallen off the porch on her crutches (remember the broken leg?) and broken her arm so she was now off the crutches and in a wheelchair. She had been staying at her mother's house, our cats were outdoors and missing for a few days, and there was a massive flea infestation in the house, which was devoid of cats at the moment. I walked in the door, and what was probably thousands of fleas added themselves to my legs. I still bear the scars from some of those bites. Also, I came down with typhoid fever, followed by arthritis. Yeah... all the luck... so if you were wishing me ill following my teenaged debauchery, you got your wish, and worse than that, I ended up linked with Pete for several years, an ill-chosen god. But - I did not end up dead from O.D. or poisoning, stuck in a small-town Mississippi jail, married, or pregnant. That was my good luck.

Celebration of Life Festival near Innis, LA. June 1971There's a good thread on this festival over on the "Hip Forums" (a place for the old hippies). Lots of other people's crazy stories there. Click on the pic at right for a few images. (sorry, I have to rely on someone else's photos)

More on the Celebration of Life 1971

This article was originally found here, but is gone now (or at least, I can't find it)
Roll...Festivals! (or the 1971 "great festive debacle" in the Louisiana swamp!)

Fourth in a series of articles
By Steven Fromholz

The Dictionary defines “festival” as a feast or celebration or a series of programmed cultural events.

My first festival experience was in June, 1971 at “The Festival of Life,” deep in the swamps of Louisiana – near Baton Rouge. At that time I was employed by Stephen Stills as a guitarist and vocalist in the rock and roll band he had put together – with which to tour nationwide – his second solo album for Atlantic records. The band consisted of myself, the great bassist, Fuzzy Samuels, Paul Harris on keyboards, and Dallas Taylor on drums...and Stills.

We were in Memphis that June, in rehearsals with the Memphis Horns, when Stephen’s management folks received a request from the promoters of the “Festival of Life” which had turned into a disastrous Festival of Death – huge amounts of rain and several people dying there in the mud and the blood and the beer and the drugs of that swampy event. The promoters wanted us to come down on the final evening to close the show and encourage the fans to get the hell out of there in some sort of orderly fashion.

Stills accepted the invitation and that afternoon we were in a Lear Jet winging our way, without the horn section, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At the airport we were met by a pair of two passenger, bubble-top, Bell Helicopters, which would – with any kind of luck – fly us to the festival site. Stephen went out in one and the rest of the band was overloaded with our instruments – no piano – into the other and off we flew into the deep, dark night that is the Louisiana swamp lands. The rest of the band and I all thought we would probably crash into the swamp, there to be eaten by alligators, and go down in history as a great rock and roll tragedy. We did not crash – as fate would have it, and fate will have it!

We arrived and were escorted to the star’s dressing room where Stills was ensconced, Pasha-like, awaiting our arrival or news of our untimely deaths. We remained in the dressing room for an hour or so, getting high enough to hunt ducks with rakes, until it came time for us to hit the stage and try to close what had become a disastrous event.

I have no idea what time we took the stage but I do remember beginning our set with a jumpin’ version of Stephen’s hit song “Rock and Roll Woman.” The remainder of the set is kind of a blur in my memory but I do recall that because of the lights on stage, not being able to see any of the thousands of people out front – but, I could smell their swampyness with more than just a hint of pot wafting onto the stage. We played five of the six songs we knew as a band and then Stills took to the piano and began his peace and love, brother and sister medley, at which point a loud, male voice at the left front of the stage was heard to exclaim, “Shut-up and play your f----in’ rock ‘n roll.” – which we did!

We then beat a speedy retreat back to the relative safety of the dressing room. I do not know if we were successful in our attempt to end this festive debacle but the boys and I were ready to get the hell out of the swamp and back to our fine hotel rooms and excellent room service of the Commodore Perry Hotel in downtown Memphis. As you can guess, we did not die in a helicopter crash in the swamp on the trip back to Baton Rouge – arriving just in time to see our Lear Jet leave for Memphis without us. We sat in the airport for hours and hours waiting for the first commercial flight to Memphis. I certainly wouldn’t call that experience “a series of programmed cultural events,” but...that is how festivals and I began.

Mud, Sweat & Tears, Time Magazine, Monday, Jul 12, 1971.
It was billed as a "celebration of life," but the Louisiana rock festival near the town of McCrea may have marked the end of what began at Woodstock as a beatific American experience and deteriorated into something violent at Altamont and vapid at Powder Ridge. Last week's festival, which lasted only four days instead of the announced eight, was an American nightmare. To begin with, the festival was postponed for three days while the promoters wallowed in legal mire. The kids amused themselves by making human mudpies and bathing in the nude. Two youths drowned in the fast-rushing Atchafalaya River. State undercover narcotics agents circulated in the crowd and made more than 100 busts. One youth died in a hospital tent from a drug overdose. Meanwhile, dazed with blistering heat, and stultifying humidity, the estimated 50,000 youths who gathered to see Country Joe McDonald and John Sebastian were also choked by dust. For the Woodstock Nation, McCrea was a bleak experience of mud, sweat and tears.

Chet Flippo, July 22, 1971 Rolling Stone
The festival began Thursday night--three and one-half days late--with Yogi Bahjan taking the stage, chanting and saying, 'God bless you. Let us meditate for one minute for peace and brotherhood.' 'Fuck you. Let's boogie,' responded a member of the crowd.

A tractor pulling two flatbed trailers would come around, and six hired hands would jump off to collect endless piles of rotting watermelon rinds, empty wine bottles, discarded clothing and other assorted garbage.

A festival worker ODed backstage and crumpled to the floor as 'Sister Morphine' was being played over the P.A. system to an impatient audience.

Finally, there was dope, and it was plentiful. You had only to walk to the intersection of Cocaine Row and Smack Street (as the makeshift signs proclaimed) to find dealers hawking an estimated 30 varieties of mindbender, only two of which could be smoked. Plastic syringes, at $1 apiece, were selling briskly.

[addendum added Jan 7, 2012: Post from Houston Chronicle]

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

You need some Cash

Still image with music only. Enjoy Tennessee Flattop Box, ode to the geetar picker.

Monday, February 22, 2010

15 minutes of fame, retroactive

There is soon to be an Awkward Family Photos book. These are the grandparents of one of the people putting it together, and they did a hilarious webcam promo for it. Grandma doesn't understand that it's a camera, and I think grandpa understands about the interwebs and is about to break into a vaudeville act.

I submitted a photo for this, and they got my signoffs and so forth, so I'm thinking it might be included. I might have to pick up a copy of it. Here's my submission:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday in Austin

Busy day on Saturday... first of all, went to the Petco to pick up some food for Henry, and nearly had my heart stolen by this brown pom (one of 3 available, including the puppy), he looked sweet and mellow, and maybe old, not sure - but NOT getting a dog no matter how cute. The shopping trip into north Austin was mostly an excuse for me to get a firsthand look at the kamikazi plane attack site (MrB passes it on the way to work, and it's very close to my work but not convenient to drive by, especially on a weekday).
Still attracting a lot of driveby lookers, but I think for the most part, the whole affair is in the past now. People are still talking about the event, but the city is moving on. We feel sure that we had seen Joe Stack somewhere... he looked familiar. I've read in more than one place about the terrible marital/family troubles he'd been having in the days right before he did this thing. A person can be at wits end, and something like that can definitely shove them right over the edge, especially if they are teetering on the edge of the cliff anyway.
For lunch we tried a new place (for us) called Food Heads. We had some really excellent veggie sandwiches on the patio of this very cool place on 34th street, while reading in the Chronicle the continuing bad news about the inevitable upcoming loss of the Cactus Cafe. I see Carrie Rodriguez will be there in April. She is excellent live. The loss of the Cactus is another area where I, for one, am resigned to... it's coming, just move on. It's out of our hands.
We noticed that Dustin Welch was going to be playing an early evening show at Central Market (north), a free show where you buy your provisions in the grocery store or restaurant inside, and take them out on the patio for the music. It was a really good show, and as always, the kids steal the spotlight. It was a beautiful night out, light jacket weather at most. Spring is almost here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What a day...


The big story that was all over the news today - the nut who burned down his house, left a note in his car saying he'd planted a bomb at the airport, and then flew his plane into an office building - happened just about a mile from where I work, and a much shorter distance from where MrB used to work. I disagree with those who say this wasn't an act of terrorism.

Some choice quotes from this kamikaze "patriot" and how he intended to shake up the system by martyring himself and taking the Feds (and some collaterals, he had to know) with him to Hell. These are from his suicide note/manifesto:
But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change.
...
...
I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer.

I was working in my windowless office at the time it happened, and didn't hear a thing. It's very insulated in there, can't even tell if it's raining.

I left work for a doctor's appointment for a case of tennis elbow that has been paining me for a month now. The doctor's office was just as close to the crash site as my office! The doctor gave me a cortisone shot *right* in the elbow. It hurt. But it starting hurting a lot worse when I got in the car to drive home. ow!! I had actually considered driving by the site to get a look, or maybe running an errand or two, but it was not to be. I've been one-armed and crabby all evening - waiting for the tylenol to kick in - and obsessing over this helluva day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gorgeous guitar: Jeff Beck


Have been loving some Jeff Beck this week. We got the DVD "Jeff Beck: Performing this week... live at Ronnie Scott's" from the library. It's a must-see, with great sound in an intimate jazz club. Stunning. He doesn't sing (as you probably know) but he's got a few guest vocalists at the show, like Joss Stone, Imogen Heap, and Eric Clapton (guest vocalist AND guitar player, duh). Crowd shots reveal Robert Plant and Jimmy Page (although not sitting together).

JB just won a Grammy for a track off the CD version of this album, and performed at the Grammys (which I didn't see), also just got featured in an article in the NYT.

Finally, a dog that helps keep the floor clean!


There is a dog under that mop somewhere.

OK, all these fancy dog and cat breeds are super special and cute, but really - I wish everyone would concentrate on taking care of the too many animals already here in shelters or in the streets.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

DIY fashion


More like "Overmosts"

via Dave Barry

2 fiddles, 3 mandolins, and a guitar

Here's some video of a fiery bluegrass jam from a show at the Saxon Pub last week: Kym Warner Acoustic Sessions. Kym is a monster of a mandolin player and for this show he called in a lot of Austin musician friends to jam with him onstage. There are several more of these vids posted on my YouTube channel. This is just great stuff! 2 Fiddles, 1 guitar, and 3 mandos.


Left to right: Tyler Andal (fiddle), Ross Holmes (fiddle), Jake Stargel (guitar), Kym Warner (mandolin), Dennis Ludiker (mandolin), Paul Glasse (mandolin). Also playing during the evening were Cody Braun (Reckless Kelly), Hayes Carll, and James Hyland.

Artist links:
KymWarner and Jake Stargel (The Greencards)
Dennis Ludiker (MilkDrive)
Ross Holmes (Cadillac Sky)
Tyler Andal
Paul Glasse
Cody Braun (Reckless Kelly)
James Hyland
Hayes Carll

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Farouk's racist remarks cut two ways.

Farouk Shami (one of the Democrats running for governor of Texas) manages to insult pretty much everybody with his responses to a question about doing checks for immigration legality of employees.

[source] “I find 80 percent of my employees at the factory are Hispanics. I don't find, you know, many white people really willing to work, you know, unfortunately.”

While still declining to answer the question, Shami said that at his Houston hair care products factory, Hispanics are vital to his business and the economy.

Asked to explain what he meant about not hiring many whites, he said they want special treatment. “A majority of the people are going to be Hispanic and African-American. You don't find white people who are willing to work in factories. And our history proves, you know, lots of time when they, you know, the white people come to work in a factory they either want to be supervisors or they want to be, you know, paid more than the average person. And unfortunately they exit.”

Friday, February 12, 2010

I *heart* this

Found on twitter:
tonymillionaire My 1st grade daughter made this for her christian friend who told her she was going to hell http://tweetphoto.com/10921664

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Stewart/Colbert

The Comedy Central Power Hour nails it again. John Oliver goes into the Belly of Beast while it rationalizes its trip to Hawaii:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
RNC Meeting in Hawaii
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis


And this one just made me laugh out loud (which happens to frequently while watching Colbert), male prostitute has interesting view of his job and what it means.
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Alpha Dog of the Week - Markus Bestin
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

Monday, February 08, 2010

Fat lips

First of all, why do women keep getting their lips plumped up like fish? Angelina Jolie has beautiful lips. Even if she's had them enhanced at some point, I saw a childhood photo of her at 9 that proves they are naturally large. Without getting into plastic surgery gone wrong, I just want to say the lip-enhancement craze just make me cringe. I think it ruins a person’s looks. Obviously, I’m in the minority.

If you don't want to mess up your face permanently, there are other crazy things you can do in order to have unnaturally swelled lips. This product is a plumper pump that actually has the name Jolie on it. Melissa Dahl at MSNBC tested this on herself to see if it worked. She said it did work, but the next day her lips were blue and bruised. I guess that's why they used to call a punch in the mouth a "fat-lip."

She mentioned the lip-gloss type plumpers too, and how painful they are. This ad graphic is something I downloaded because it was so crazy-looking. It displays this URL, which goes to a page that appears to be a page of lip-plumper reviews conducted by a neutral party, but I seriously doubt that's the case. The ad goes to this "review page" where there are reviews of all them, but only one glowing review of one product for super-plumping ability and no pain or discomfort was mentioned for it it. Apparently, the way these things work is that you when you smear the caustic chemicals or substances on your lips, they swell (because they are hurting or believing themselves to be injured). This page (part of a site that does sell different brands of products) goes over the types of ingredients used in these things, with links onsite reviewing those products, not all of them glowing (although I would not assume that they are un-biased... I mean, they are selling stuff, after all).

Or you could just subject your lips to a few bee stings. That might work for a lot less the $70 per month that some of the plumper glosses cost (edit: and feel the same way).

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Herding cats - Favorite. Super Bowl ad. Ever.


Reported in honor of the Super Bowl, the annual TV event where a lot of people prefer the commercials to the actual show.

I'm off to Central Market to see MilkDrive, one of my favorite bands, and I'm sure will be catching some of the game at least out of the corner of my eye later. Wake me up for the commercials (unless they have Tebow in them).

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Serve Well Your Cat Overlord

How to put the spark back into your relationship with your cat.


yes.... it's The Onion.

Dan Quayle: Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.

Dan Quayle's birthday is today.
Dumber than a bag of hammers, but a whole hell of a lot funnier.
I pulled this list of quotes straight from here.

"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."

"Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child."

"What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is."

"One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared.'"

"Welcome to President Bush, Mrs. Bush, and my fellow astronauts."

"Mars is essentially in the same orbit . . . Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe."

"The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history. I mean in this century's history. But we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this century."

"I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy -- but that could change."

"I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future."

"The future will be better tomorrow."

"We're going to have the best-educated American people in the world."

"People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history."

"We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe."

"I am not part of the problem. I am a Republican."

"I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix."

"A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls."

"When I have been asked during these last weeks who caused the riots and the killing in L.A., my answer has been direct and simple: Who is to blame for the riots? The rioters are to blame. Who is to blame for the killings? The killers are to blame."

"Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it."

"We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur."

"For NASA, space is still a high priority."

"Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children."

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."

"[It's] time for the human race to enter the solar system."

"Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things."

"I stand by all the misstatements that I've made."

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

That makes me blush

I have finally decided that it might be a good idea to try and take care of my health… a little bit anyway. These cats get better health care than I do. That’s because I keep charts recording every burp, itch, and vomit, and take them to the vet at the slightest whatever (charts in hand). They are given meds and there is plenty of communication with the doc on how things are progressing and what should happen next. Not so with my own health. I skimp, put it off, hope *whatever it is* will go away on its own…

Sometimes it doesn’t, and I finally had to admit that I have rosacea, which affects people of all genders, ages and complexion types, but if you are a fair-skinned adult woman who blushes easily, you really need to be on the lookout for this. I’ve always had the rosy cheeks, and even in my 20s (soooo long ago) I had people tell me I was wearing too much blusher (and was wearing none). I have a really mild case of it, very early stages, I guess... in fact, I look like the "after" version of several of the "before and after" comparisons that treatments use to promote their stuff. Still, even the "after" version could be in the future and I could very easily get a "before" look if I'm not really careful. There is no cure for this.

Here are some image search results, and they just scare the bejeezus out of me.

What I've got is a face that gets very red and hot when the condition is triggered, the redness lasts longer and longer all the time after the onset, and I'm starting to see spidery blood vessels and occasionally little tiny bumps or larger welts during reactions. My biggest triggers are the most common ones: heat, cold, wind, sun, stress, and spicy food.

Dammit.

I have loved spicy food my whole adult life. I am already fairly food-restricted for many reasons, and adding spicy to the list of discouraged choices just breaks my heart. Peppers are just about my favorite food (along with olives), and also very healthy.

It’s pretty hard to avoid heat, cold AND wind. Cold and wind are somewhat possible, but avoiding heat is not, not where I live and plan on staying. I’ve got a yo-yo relationship with the sun. A few years ago, I developed osteopenia because of an off-balance mix in the bloodstream (complicated) but adding a prescription vitamin D and getting more sunlight has brought me back in the normal range. Sunscreen blocks not only UV but vitamins. The dermatologist says “you only need 10 minutes of sun per day to get your vitamin D” --but -- if I put on the sunscreen in the morning as directed, then my face will get zero minutes of sun, and my arms are already sun-damaged and don’t need to be sunned on purpose (to soak in vitamins). So I need to choose between brittle bones and a hideous skin condition. Looks like I’m screwed no matter what.

OK, say I prefer skin-defense over stronger bones, and after looking at the rosacea images I am leaning that way. The dermatologist recommended a sunscreen that costs $30 for 3 oz. $$$$$ ummm… yeahhh… Sunscreens and makeup are recommended to be mineral-based (not chemical), fragrance-free, and for me personally they need to be non-animal-tested, and the mineral compounds should not contain nano-particles. cripes! Can't they quit using those in everything? I have found one that fits the bill, an SPF 18, 4 oz. for about $10. That's better, but of course the dermatologist will probably poo-poo it for not being SPF 40.

Since there's no cure for this, it opens the door for a long list of recommendations and suggestions that are floating around out there (like the ones here), and they would have a person living like the Bubble Boy. Some are actually helpful, some are snake oil, which are which? I have to figure that out.

Avoid:
caffeine, alcohol, sugar, soft drinks, artificial sweeteners, all stimulants, exercising except in moderate temperatures, scrubbing your face, facial products with fragrance, witch hazel or oatmeal, cold weather, hot weather, sunshine, cold water, hot water (baths should be lower than 98.6° - which might as well be a bath in spit -- I hate warm baths, they *must* be hot), wind, stress... even good stress, thermally hot food and drinks (chill your coffee in the fridge awhile... ugh), embarrassment, wearing dark pink or red clothing.

Do:
get some green makeup (yes… and the color of it is exactly the same color green that Clinique uses on many of their containers), wash your pillowcase EVERY DAY with chlorine bleach (WHUT?), try the alkaline diet or some other diet, and forget about activities. Period. That is all. Just follow these simple guidelines plus a dozen or so more, and your life can be normal and happy. Oh yes, and keep charts and diaries of all your activities and reactions... just like for the cats.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Armadillo Day at the West Pole

First Annual Armadillo Day

The Benevolent Knights of the Raccoon have selected an armadillo (named "Bee Cave Bob") to predict the beginning of Spring. The ceremony will take place on Tuesday at 11:30 at the West Pole, which is just down the road in Bee Cave. Someone figured if there's a North Pole and a South Pole, then there oughta be a West Pole and an East Pole. It was kind of a joke, but was certified by the Texas Legislature in 2007.

I am not making any of this up. The event has an info phone number: (512) 263-5286.

Groundhog substitution is not unheard-of. Due to lack of groundhogs, Alaska is having Marmot Day. (Here's a brilliant prediction: Alaska will have 6 more weeks of winter no matter what the marmot sees.) In Galveston they are having their 2nd Annual Penguin Day.

All I really want for Armadillo Day is for them to stay off the road.