June 19, 2013

Hand Signals You May Not Be Aware You’re Giving

Ladies (and gentlemen), be aware that if someone wishes to kiss your hand, it may not just be a sign of reverence/love/regard/you’re the Pope/[enter whatever drives your fancy here], but that your kisser may instead be checking your health!

For the state of your organism (and whether or not you may or may not be a suitable reproductive partner) may be painted in quick strokes upon the surface of your nails!

Here are a few hints about what your nails may be telling about your behind your back:

1.  Beau’s Lines – (a line that crosses the middle of the nail) can be caused by uncontrolled diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, scarlet fever, measles, mumps and pneumonia.  Can also be a sign of zinc deficiency.
2.  Black Bands on Nails – low adrenal function, chemotherapy or radiation reaction.
3.  Bluish Nails – could mean the body’s not getting enough oxygen, which could indicate an infection in the lungs, or perhaps even some heart problems.
4.  Brown Nails – renal failure.
5.  Cracked or Split Nails – have been linked to thyroid disease, vitamin A and D deficiency, poor circulation, hydrochloric acid deficiency, iron deficiency, calcium deficiency, protein deficiency.
6.  Dark Lines Beneath the Nail – should be investigated immediately.  They are sometimes caused by melanoma (skin cancer).
7.  Dark Nail Tips:  Vitamin B-12 deficiency (or the person hasn’t cleaned under its nails).
8.  Discolored Nails – Vitamin B-12 deficiency, kidney or liver problems.
9.  Flat Nails – iron or protein deficiency, Vitamin B-12 deficiency, psoriasis, diabetes.
10.  Frequent Hangnails – Vitamin C deficiency.
11.  Gnawed Nails – sign of persistent anxiety, or OCD.
12.  Nail Clubbing – (when the tips of the fingers grow big and the nails enlarge around them) could be a sign of lack of oxygen which could be caused by various lung diseases.  It’s also associated with inflammatory bowel, cardiovascular, liver diseases, and AIDS.  Vitamin B-12 deficiency.
13.  No Half-Moons or Ridged Nails – Vitamin A deficiency, kidney disorder, protein deficiency.
14.  Pale Nails – could be a sign of serious illness such as anemia, congestive heart failure, liver disease, or malnutrition.  Could also mean a mineral deficiency, or excess copper.
15.  Pitted, Fraying, Split Nails – Vitamin C and protein deficiency.
16.  Poor Nail Growth – Zinc deficiency.
17.  Puffy Nail Fold – the inflammation may result from lupus or another connective tissue disorder.
18.  Rippled Nails – may be an early sign of psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis.
19.  Spoon Nails – (concave, soft nails) sign of iron deficiency and anemia, or a liver condition (hemochromatosis), heart disease, and hypothyroidism.  Iron or zinc deficiency.
20.  White Nails with Darker Rims – may indicate liver problems, such as hepatitis.
21.  White Spots – thyroid issues, or zinc and hydrochloric acid deficiency.
22.  Wide Square Nails – hormonal imbalance.
23.  Yellow Nails – (assuming you haven’t recently peeled an orange) could be a sign of fungal infection.  In some cases, it could mean you have severe thyroid disease, lung disease, diabetes, or psoriasis.  Vitamin E deficiency, poor circulation, lymph congestion… or too much polish.

So, ladies and gents, are you healthy or is it time to bring back the gloves into fashion?

PS:  Seriously, though, if you think you may be sick after reading this list, please, please go see a doctor!

Mayo Clinic

Safe Natural Tips

June 17, 2013

La Belle Dame Sans Merci

Here is a nice poem by John Keats regarding knights and faeries, a perfect accompaniment (and one much better expressed) to Blood of the Fey.

O WHAT can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms!
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel's granary is full,
And the harvest's done.

I see a lily on they brow
With anguish moist and fever dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful--a faery's child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She look'd at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.

I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery's song.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna dew,
And sure in language strange she said--
"I love thee true."

She took me to her elfin grot,
And there she wept, and sigh'd fill sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.

And there she lulled me asleep,
And there I dream'd--Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream'd
On the cold hill's side.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried--"La Belle Dame sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!"

I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill's side.

And this is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.

June 15, 2013

Reward: Goal Or Journey?

In this first post-publication period of my life, I'm now faced with what I've dreaded the most: open, honest criticism of my opus.  After cutting my project loose into the world, I have to watch it as it attempts to fly, like a maimed seagull among a flock of birds that range from pigeons to mighty eagles.  And I can't call it back to the safety of my arms.

It's hard to watch, and every negative comment (however well-intentioned) has my cheeks burning with shame. But they also allow me to appreciate even more all the positive reviews I've received thus far--truly!  I'm very grateful that my story has pleased some of you :)

Now, I must I garner the courage to learn from my mistakes and do my best so that the next product's better!

And on that note, I am reminded of John Ruskin's words:

"The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it."

June 12, 2013

The Golem And The Jinni

The Encounter:

And then, down one of the streets, a strange light appeared, seeming to float in midair.  She paused, alarmed.  The light was coming her way.  It grew closer, and she saw that it was not a light, but a face, and the face belonged to a man.  He was tall, taller than she, and bareheaded.  His dark hair was cropped close to his skull.  His face--and his hands as well, she saw now--shone with that warm light, like a lamp shaded with gauze.
     She watched him come nearer, unable to take her eyes away.  She saw him glance at her, and then look again.  Then he too stopped.  At that distance, she could not feel his curiosity, but his expression made it plain.  What, he was thinking, is she?
     The shock of it rooted her to the spot.  Only the Rabbi had ever been able to see her as something different.
     She knew she should turn and run.  Get away from this man, who by seeing her, truly seeing her, already knew too much.   But she couldn't.  The rest of the world had fallen away.  She had to know who he was.  What he was.
     And so, as the man started his cautions approach, the Golem stood her ground, and waited.

 The Golem and the Jinni is about two non-human entities trying to make a life for themselves amongst humans.  Beautifully written, it takes you down the streets of New York at the dawn of the 20th century and down the Bedouin desert roads a millennium before, showing how these two individuals' fates are interwoven and their struggles to become free from their destinies.

A definite recommend!

June 8, 2013

Ode From A Modern Writer

O mighty blank screen, whose brilliance shines upon me
Like some great god’s halo, beckoning me,
Poor mortal that I am, to fill thy great expanse
With tales of heroes, monsters, and mystical romance.

With dreams of wonders, adventures and lost paradises
You do your best to temp me, adding honeyed promises
Of an enthusiastic fan base and a prompt rise to greatness
Feeding my ever-growing desire of literary success.

Many a time I fall and stumble, before I even reach the chair before you
Succumbing to the terrible vice of laziness, or that of feeling blue.
But always you call me back to action, via threats or cajoleries
Until my fingers are typing away about knights, sorcerers and fairies.

The months course by, the seasons pass and finally my novel is finished.
‘At last!  My time of torment is over,’ I cry with pride undiminished.
Until my reviews come in, filled with criticism and acrimony—
Alas, my victory was short-lived, I realized with agony.

But, like a beacon of light in a tempestuous sea
You beckon me back, and without a protest I flee
To your expansive blankness, to start the ordeal over.
Because to a writer, there’s no better parent, friend or lover…

…Than you.

~Alessa Ellefson

June 4, 2013

A Nation’s Key To Power

While reading a history book, I came across a very interesting passage:

“History as we know it came of age in tandem with the European nation-states.  As the structure of the modern university coalesced—with knowledge categorized into disciplines, and scholars categorized into academic departments—Europe’s global dominance in technology and economic power was so great that it seemed reasonable to imagine that Europeans had advanced to a higher level than peoples in other parts of the world.”

This brings interesting points, such as the fact that nations cannot become great (and enjoy power, I suppose, if they get high off of that sort of thing) unless there is a structured way of learning that encourages not only the spread of knowledge, but also of reasoning and healthy debates.

Methinks, therefore, that should any of these traits vanish, is when we start to see a country’s downfall…