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Wonder of Wonders

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Lately I’ve found that I’m writing more…and more frequently…primarily Facebook discussions and blog posts here, but my resolve’s been firming and I’m finally composing a new essay for the opinion column maintained at the American Daily Herald as well, one long overdue by any standard.

That’s a very good bit of news; I’ve succumbed too frequently to the lethargy and lack of ambition I feared woud arise from my prolonged confinement here. When the days are as grim, gray and cold as they have been recently compounding the problem, my output’s been woefully low. It’s really gratifying to want to write, and to have fun doing so, when that good feeling’s felt as if it were ebbing away from me as the months passed.

Perhaps I’m finally reaching an equilibrium in my life that balances my regular personality and habits against the limitations brought on by multiple sclerosis and the subtle but very real effects of the prolonged confinement I mentioned. I hope so, even though much is still missing from my life owing to my inability to get out and about, I mean to live my life with as much satisfaction as I can attain. Complementing that is my yearning to be as productive as I’m capable of being; I’ve remarked many a time that one of the most frustrating and annoying aspects of my affliction is how drastically it’s reduced my reserves of resources that let me be productive. I firmly believe being able to make useful contributions to the world in one’s own unique way is one of the very best paths to happiness for anyone, and it’s especially critical after radical life altering experiences, including the onset of disability as in my case. Besides, I’ve recognized all along that disability is almost devilishly clever in sowing unhappiness and despair in peoples’ lives and my native mile-wide stubborn streak balks loudly in rebellion to that sort of negativity.

Look for a new piece soon in the Herald, with another in my to-do list to follow it. My publishers at the journal, Dennis and Denise Behreandt, have seemed to enjoy my book reviews there, but this time I believe I’ll tackle a music review for a change. When liberty activist and friend Dan Hagen suggested I review his recently released album The Journey I resisted at first, reminding Dan that apart from having  just about zero musical talent myself, that subject is not one in my area of expertise and I don’t have the knowledge base to discuss musical details competently, he replied that my lack of expertise could actually be an asset here. Since everything I have to say in a review will be by default in layman’s terms, I might be able to communicate my thoughts to a wider range of readers. We shall see soon enough!

Also, my thanks to good friend Jason L. whose thoughtful response to my last post about my reawakened interest in food and my getting some needed implements to accommodate my disability was to send me a duplicate of the cool Vic Firth pushbutton grinding mill I talked about along with a pound of coarse pink Hawaiian sea salt to stoke it with. This is some seriously tasty stuff, and I really appreciate your generous act!

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Since spring’s still a ways off, I won’t wait for it to celebrate life as well and usefully as I can to defeat those winter blahs. I’m grateful for the thoughts and support from my friends and hope to meet even more new ones with time, hopefully including readers of and contributors to this blog. This is the beginning of my fourth year of housebound confinement, and I ask that you take a moment to donate whatever amount you can comfortably spare to my fund to help make it the last!

Bitcoin Donation Address: 1N9FWbFhTQrmTTQwMYYMBoc4ymdXBKSg5L

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The Meat of the Matter

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While mobility is my primary goal at this point, I’m always happy to find ways to recover other things in my life taken from me by MS. I’ve mentioned how liberating the acquisition of my Asus tablet PC’s been (I haven’t even begun talking about the restoration of my ability to play FPS combat games again using the Android paradigm!), but occasionally I’ll find something that will add another piece to the puzzle.

This week saw one of those somethings. Among other cognitive issues the flavor of multiple sclerosis I have brings, a particularly annoying one was the loss of almost all hunger signals telling me I’m hungry for the past several years. Yep, that means never having an appetite, a sore blow to my normally sensualist/hedonist appreciation of life; I’ve had to recognize I needed to eat by the logy, vague thinking and gloomy attitude that accompanies it.

Well, for whatever reason I’ve been hungry again for the past few weeks, actually enjoying eating foods I like and experiencing those missing hunger signals again. When my mom got a wild hair recently and ordered some steaks from Omaha Steaks, I decided I’d like one…it’s been years since I’ve indulged. Part of the reason for this is the lack of hunger signals I’ve mentioned but there was another reason, a dealbreaker until it was addressed: I’m left handed and my left hand’s lost about 90% of its function. Cutting up a piece of food is an exercise in futility. Try it sometime and you’ll see…there’s no reliable way to do this using one hand (especially with your non dominant, or weak hand!)…it was obvious I’d need a new adaptive aid to be able to do it.

A quick search introduced me to rocker knives, and it was soon clear that one of the better ones is available from good old Amazon inexpensively: the Alaskan Ulu Knife. It’s made in Alaska, looks attractive with its laminated wood handle and base and appeared likely to fill my need, so I jumped on it at just twelve bucks.

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This thing’s a marvel of low tech! I found I could almost effortlessly cut a piece of steak with precision. The mass of the blade pins the meat down and won’t allow it to move, while the curved blade doeas the cutting as you rock it forward or back.

While shopping, I looked at pepper mills I could use one handed. While Peugeot makes a lovely electric mill, the cost at above $90 wasn’t suitable. I soon found that for table use, I could do a lot worse than the Vic Firth stainless steel mill:

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I’m pretty sure it’s American made, and solves the problem. I must have caught a sale, it only cost me $11.75, but as you see that’s more than doubled since I ordered it. If the price comes down again I’ll probably grab another for grinding sea salt, I like it so well. If you have a relative or friend who’s been limited by age, affliction or injury,
I highly recommend both of these items to make a real difference in their ability to enjoy life.

Now, I’ve read any number of accounts of disabled people like myself who simply resigned themselves to eating food they could manage with conventional utensils. I can’t understand why that should happen in this day and age when a few minutes’ researching will solve their problem as it did for me. Yet again we see how the market is always there to fill a niche created by consumers’ need or desire…a postulate the Keynesians never have understood and probably never will!

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