You should see the other guy

I don’t wear makeup so I don’t often look at myself in a mirror without my eyeglasses on. The glasses makes my eyes look large and mask the look of black circles. Today for the first time in months I actually looked at myself in a mirror in good light without my glasses on. I look like I’ve been in a terrible fight or am about to expire from some gothic wasting disease. Huge black circles, almost craters, under my eyes. Looks a little scary, like death warmed over. Yummy.

Allergic shinersSo I did what any good Interneter would do: I Googled for information. Did you know there’s a name for these dark circles? No, neither did I. They’re called “Allergic shiners” and are a result of longtime allergies and/or sinus infections. iVillage has a good explanation, which says (in part):

In people with chronic nasal or sinus inflammation, venous blood circulating through tiny vessels in facial skin may have a hard time reaching the larger veins. If you can imagine the swollen tissues of the nasal cavity/sinuses acting as millions of separate tourniquets on these tiny venous channels, you will have a fairly accurate idea of what’s going on.

Thus, due to sinus/nasal inflammation, venous blood in the facial vessels is impeded in its return to the heart. This is venous congestion — “congestion” in the same sense as “traffic congestion.” When the small vessels in skin become congested with venous blood, the skin takes on a dusky or bluish hue … thus producing allergic shiners.

There’s no known treatment for allergic shiners. Aggressive treatment of the underlying condition is clearly helpful, but successful treatment does not always cause the shiners to vanish. Unfortunately, the only sure-fire solution to the problem is the artful use of cosmetics.

I suspect it’s tied to the same aspects of my allergies that are causing my eyes to be constantly watering or gummed up. Lovely.

(As a completely off-topic aside, I’m watching the best of Comic Relief 2007 special. David Tennant (Doctor Who) is wearing a dress kilt and he looks hot. No, I mean REALLY hot. I absolutely love a man in a kilt, especially a Scotsman in dress kit. I don’t know why. Genetics?)

(As another aside, what is with the horse riding pantomiming that people do to “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”? It’s funny to watch but it must be a British thing.)

(As a last aside, the special also featured Take That singing Patience, which I first heard and blogged about here almost exactly a year ago. The circle spins around again…)


Big, Fun, Scary Adventure Challenge

NaNoWriMo has started up a “Big, Fun, Scary Adventure Challenge” in which members of the board are invited to make and share their goals for the coming year. I’m tempted — but afraid — so I was just reading the Big, Fun, Scary Goal Central thread to see what other people are aiming for. The first page of that thread led me to the Flylady.

“Are YOU living in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) like Franny in the pink sweats? Do you feel overwhelmed, overextended, and overdrawn? Hopeless and you don’t know where to start? “

Hmm, sounds familiar. My place looks like a tornado hit — and left no survivors. My environment reflects and affects my state of mind — the more chaotic my head gets, the messier my home gets; the messier my home gets, the more chaotic my head gets. It’s an endless, vicious circle. You know the saying “Garbage In, Garbage Out”? Yeah. That’s me.

Wasn’t I just talking about synchronicity?


It’s funny how things start to fall into place once you open yourself up to the possibilities and to meaningful coincidences.

I’ve been on a spiritual quest for most of my post-pubescent life. Interestingly enough, the start of the quest coincided with the start of my lifelong battle with clinical depression, back in about 1981 or so. My beliefs are somewhat fluid with one big exception: I have issues with organized religions of any kind. I had initally thought I was just rebelling against the Christianity I grew up with, I’ve since discovered that I have trouble supporting any religion as The One Truth. Mostly because I don’t believe there is just one truth — I think we’re all trying to understand and connect with the same thing. Religions, even the most tolerant ones, at their cores serve to bring groups of people together in a common bond while at the same time separating the groups more and more from each other.  But I digress.

My spiritual exploration has been fitful, consisting of periods of intense study and frantic purpose interspersed with longer periods of essentially being asleep, absent from all but the basics of life: eat, sleep, work… lather, rinse, repeat… The periods of wakefulness are usually sudden and are triggered by something external to me. And during all of them, I’ve experienced meaningful coincidences, instances where the hand of the universe is discernable. Before I moved here, I was endlessly slogging through contract job after contract job, with ample unemployment between. Depression was heavy. I’d been stubbornly refusing to give in and move somewhere with better job prospects for so long and the state of my life reflected the struggle. When I finally made the decision to move here, everything seemed to fall into place, quickly. Another time, I was unsure about where to go next, spiritually. At the time I was working in customer service and our phones were never silent, especially at the end of the day when I was usually manning the phones alone. One evening, another department manager stopped by my desk and we began to chat. We ended up chatting about spiritual exploration for about an hour, an hour during which the phone never rang. She gave me information about the meditation class that I mentioned previously (the one that led me to Caroline Myss’s works) and essentially provided me with the push I needed to keep travelling down the path. It came at the exact right time, and it underscored for me that you need to be open to what the universe has to offer or you’ll miss it.

I’ve felt the same thing happening over the last couple of years, more intensely in the past year leading up to now, though I don’t always pay attention as I should.

Today’s little meaningful coincidence: I visited songdeva‘s blog as a result of the comment she posted in one of yesterday’s posts. She hasn’t posted much recently (I hope she’ll keep posting now that she’s started again)  but her older posts are a treasure trove of spiritual guidance. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of them. Skipping past the crochet posts (I can’t crochet to save my life, though I can macramé), I ended up at Guideposts for your Spiritual Path (Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening, Part II), which in turn led me to Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening: A List. It’s an interesting list, some of which I recognize in me and some of which I haven’t yet experienced. The original author of the list, Ellen L. Montgomery, appears to have dropped off the face of the planet (or at least the surface of the Internet). Her old home page no longer exists and there doesn’t seem to be an alternative. The phone number that was on her site is now registered to someone else. And the only references to her that I can find are other people reproducing the Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening: A List article that she wrote. Thank God for the Wayback Machine. There, you can browse the other articles she’d written for her newsletter (her original version of the Symtoms article is also available and an updated version is in the archive of her other — and also defunct — site). I found myself at Things Fall Into Place, a 1998 article about synchronicity. 1998, incidentally, was around the time of that chat I mentioned earlier.